The Full Monty Season 1 Review – A faithful sequel with a ton of heart

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 14, 2023 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
Previous ArticleView all
The Full Monty Season 1 Review - A faithful sequel with a ton of heart


While it’s hard to argue that The Full Monty needed a sequel of any kind, this decades-later catch-up does right by its characters and setting.

This review of the Hulu series The Full Monty Season 1 does not contain spoilers.

The Full Monty didn’t need a sequel. The 1997 original is one of the best British films ever, if you ask me, and part of its appeal was that it existed in a world you could imagine proceeding independently of it. It was a great deal of fun to watch six of Sheffield’s unemployed working-class put together an impromptu striptease act, but you never felt compelled to check in on any of them after it.

The secret sauce of the same-titled follow-up series, written, like the original film, by Simon Beaufoy (with Alice Nutter) for Hulu and Disney+, is that while it can’t shake the feeling of being unnecessary and somewhat inferior, it also exists in that same world.

The Full Monty review and plot summary

It starts with Sheffield itself, a withering post-industrial landscape gutted by, as the opening captions inform us, “seven Prime Ministers and eight northern regeneration policies.” The characters might be doing marginally better than they were when we left them, but only just, and the most flourishing social climber only owns a local business.

Gaz (Robert Carlyle), for instance, is living in a caravan and eking out a living as a porter in a mental health facility. He’s estranged from his musically gifted but rebellious daughter Destiny (Talitha Wing), has a decent if not entirely trusting relationship with his now grown-up policeman son, Nathan (Wim Snape), and is still prone to a get-rich-quick scheme, especially if it’ll allow him to buy his disabled grandson a new electric wheelchair.

Dave (Mark Addy) and Jean (Lesley Sharp) are doing a little better, both working at the local comprehensive where the former is a caretaker, and the latter is a headteacher. Likewise, Lomper (Steve Huison), now married to Dennis (Paul Clayton), owns a café which has become the meeting spot of the old gang, including an ailing Horse (Paul Barber), whose struggles with his disability benefits form a scathing indictment of austerity.

Some familiar characters are admittedly underserved. Guy (Hugo Speer) disappears halfway through thanks to being fired mid-production after inappropriate conduct allegations that Speer vehemently denies, and Gerald (Tom Wilkinson) remains in the background almost entirely, only occasionally popping up in the café for a one-liner but otherwise remaining out of the plot entirely.

Newcomers like Darren (Miles Jupp) and a troubled kid named Twiglet (Aiden Cook) whom Dave befriends help to fill in those gaps, but the eight episodes, each of which runs close to an hour, do admittedly feel a little too wavering. There are too many characters and subplots for them all to be fairly explored, and the ending, while very satisfying and powerful in some respects, can’t help but leave some characters and their plights feeling slightly short-changed.

Is The Full Monty good or bad?

It doesn’t help that there’s no central focus or clear end goal. At first, the show seems like it’s going to be about the accidental kidnapping of a reality-competition-winning dog, then it abandons that in favor of a plot about racing pigeons and Korean billionaires. Two deeply troubled characters – the aforementioned Twiglet, and a schizophrenic street artist Gaz befriends – are forgotten about completely. Several other ideas are undercooked and underwritten.

And yet I found myself loving the show all the same. The characters are immediately recognizable as the ones we fell in love with in the original film, and the newcomers fit right in. There’s genuine well-meaning sentiment behind the show and an earnest anger at the north’s continuing managed decline. The performances are great, the writing mostly snappy and authentic. The jokes are funny, and there are at least a couple of moments of profound sentiment.

Is The Full Monty worth watching?

It’s a mixed bag, then, and mileage may vary. It may be too English for the Hulu crowd, but those who enjoyed the original film will feel right at home. No, The Full Monty didn’t need a sequel. But it got one anyway, and at the very least it’s better than most of us thought it would be.

What did you think of The Full Monty Season 1? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Hulu.

Additional reading:

Disney+, Hulu, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
Previous ArticleView all