Clare is a buttoned-up American girl from Cincinnati who moves to Glasgow. To meet new people, she decides to form a book group. But the people who answer her advert are not exactly what she expected.
There’s Kenny, a wheelchair-bound ex-mountain climber, who turns out to be a super nice bloke who’s writing a book of his own. Janice is a footballer’s wife, homemaker and mother, who wants to be a television presenter. There’s Dirka, also a footballer’s wife, originally from Sweden. Fist is a model from Holland. She is involved with another footballer, but not married to him. She and Dirka are obsessed with their weight and looks. Rab is secretly gay (or bi) and hides that fact with his fanaticism about football (soccer). Finally there’s egotistical Barney. Clare takes an instant fancy to him, but he’s got some serious issues.
In each episode, the group gets together to discuss a different book, but somehow their discussions veer off course and they end up talking about anything BUT the book.
Clare is played by Anne Dudek, long before she portrayed Amber opposite Hugh Laurie on House. I never did like her character on House. In The Book Group, she’s a lonely, sometimes sad, struggling writer. She often escapes into the fantasy world of her book’s storyline. Or gets lost dreaming about the storylines of the books the group is reading, like Don Quixote.
I always like character-driven shows. And as I’ve said before, British shows tend to be like that, with characters that are so colorful and interesting you just can’t help but continue to watch the series.
I was especially interested in seeing Michelle Gomez in this show. I had seen her as the outrageous Staff Liaison, Sue White, on Green Wing. That character was hilarious. As Janice, she’s also very fun to watch, but the character is a bit more subdued.
And lastly, I can’t get enough of the Scottish brogue. I love listening to English accents, but Scottish…give me more.
Anne Dudek – Clare Pettengill
Bonnie Engstrom – Dirka Nilssen
Michelle Gomez – Janice McCann
James Lance – Barney Glendenning
Rory McCann – Kenny McLeod
Saskia Mulder – Fist de Grooke
Derek Riddell – Rab
Total Seasons: 2
Seasons Available on US Formatted DVD: 1
In Production: 2002-2003
Viewer Discretion: Adult situations and language