Storyboard / What's The Trouble with Maggie Cole? We're spilling the TPTea

Back to Storyboard Posts

What's The Trouble with Maggie Cole? We're spilling the TPTea

Find out what these TPT Staffers have to say about the latest show on TPT Passport

October 23, 2020

Maggie Cole

By Kelsey Derby

If you’re not familiar with the term “spill the tea,” let us fill you in. The original Urban Dictionary definition breaks it down to another way of saying “the scoop” or “the news” in today’s terms.

Some folks here at TPT wanted to start something a little fun inspired by the great shows available on TPT Passport. We love the variety of shows on TPT Passport just as much as you do, and we thought it’d be exciting to come together – book club style – to talk about them, or perhaps you might say spill the TPTea.

We’ll be putting out a few of these posts per month in response to some of the most popular shows on TPT Passport, and we’d love for you to join the conversation. Comment below, share and comment on Facebook, or share your recommendations. We’d love to hear from you!

Let’s get started with our latest hit, The Trouble with Maggie Cole.

The Trouble with Maggie Cole premiered on our airwaves on Sunday, October 18 on TPT 2, AND all six episodes of the season are currently available to binge on TPT Passport. The show centers around Maggie Cole (Dawn French), the self-appointed oracle of a small fishing village in the UK. When asked to be interviewed for a local radio station she shares a little too much. Watch as hilarity unfolds!

TPT Passport Ad
Stream Your Favorite Shows Now
TPT Passport is a member benefit that gives you extended access to an on-demand streaming library of PBS and TPT shows, including full seasons of many favorites like World on Fire, Poldark, The Great British Baking Show, and many, many more. Make a qualifying donation so you can start enjoying TPT Passport on your computer or with the PBS Video App on your favorite streaming device, mobile device or Samsung smart TV!

three people on a zoom call


Myself (KD), Michael Brafford (MB) and Brandon Wells (BW), from TPT sat down to talk about episode one. We rated the episode 4 TPTea cups/5.
Tea CupTea CupTea CupTea Cup

Let’s jump right in.


Overall impressions

cast of the trouble with maggie cole

All three of us were certainly entertained by episode one. Of course, there were some slightly obvious plot holes, but what else would you expect from a British comedy?

KD: I love British shows because I like the clothes and thought the visuals were super fun in the seaside town. It was interesting to see the dynamics between the characters and it seems like a lot of that is gonna shift over time.

BW: I like the show very much. Mainly because I am a big fan of Dawn French’s comedy, and her facial expressions kind of harken back to times I’ve laughed at other series of hers. So, I might think it’s maybe funnier for folks who are fans of her just because she has specific comedic tics that to me are hilarious.

MB: So, what makes it funny is the combination of the individual characters within an unfortunate situation. This situation is just cringeworthy. The characters are quirky, and some of the one-liners are really funny. How the show opens makes it seem like it’s kind of a mystery, and the way they reveal things throughout the entire show – going back and forth – makes you want to hang in to watch more, which is fun. I was like, “okay well this is kind of like a British mystery comedy. That’s a fun idea.”

British people, amiright?

british kids at at historic monument on a field trip

Half the fun of some of these British shows are noticing the slight cultural differences between us. There were many to be found in episode one.

One being the field trip to the Norman Fort.

BW: You know these kids were bored on their field trip, which like American kids are also bored on field trips, but they’re showing Americans things that are, I don’t know, 50 years old, not like 1000 years old. They were at a Norman Fort. That’s infinitely cooler than a butter churn in Michigan, that’s 75 years old. I just thought that was weird. I don’t know but that seems like kind of a cool field trip guys, act like it!

Another, the extremely British choice of a gin and tonic.

BW: The reporter guy was like, “You seem like a G&T kind of lady.” My reaction was, “good guess, that’s like the most common drink that British people drink (??)

KD: Do you think the American equivalent is, you seem like a Budweiser kind of gal?

And even when it comes down to the humo(u)r.

MB: I think this is the difference between American comedy and British comedy – this comedy is cringeworthy, it makes you uncomfortable. Sometimes British storytelling is just showing what would happen.

BW: There’s no artificial structure like you often see in American comedies, no clean resolution. We have a track record of having to change foreign films’ endings because we can’t deal with what actually happened. Well, nothing happened, that’s what happens in life, nothing.

The actual trouble with Maggie Cole

maggie cole walking through an outdoor party

Thoughts on the main character.

BW: Well, the underlying philosophical thing is okay, like she screwed up, right, but did she really mean it? And is she a bad person? And then it challenges what you think. She did things that are objectively bad, but I don’t personally hate her.

KD: I’m not so sure she’s likable – yet. Spoiler, but I did not like what she said about her best friend on the radio. I don’t know if she really meant it but it made me really lose her as a likable character. I would bet we see a big shift in her through the episodes though.

MB: Well maybe that was also the point of this show, we want to see a major change in her character. Everybody has a problem with her because of the way that she is but you know, after she hurt so many people she will have to change in some way to make it up to them.

Those plot holes…

reporter interviewing maggie cole

We have a regular Disney villain with the reporter from London!

BW: I don’t think they need to make him so sinister.
KD: I agree because I feel like he is just taking the opportunity where it presented itself. Also I feel like alcohol is not a mystery blackout drug where you spill all your secrets, when you have two drinks??
MB: Also, what interest is local gossip to regional or national audiences? That gossip is very specific to their little town? Why would anyone else care?
KD: Also what’s up with the writer being accused of stealing characters ideas from the townspeople?
BW: Yeah, I was like, “I don’t think authors create characters that aren’t based on people. I didn’t know that that was a prerequisite for being a good author.” So, autobiographies are just not considered literature at this point? I don’t understand.


All in all, it was enjoyable and fun and left us wanting more. Follow along as we recap more episodes of The Trouble with Maggie Cole and let us know your thoughts! How many TPTea cups did you think the episode deserved?

Or, are there other shows you’d like to see featured?

Email us at [email protected],send us a message on Facebook or comment below!

Look for the British Terms Handy-Dandy Reference for Episode One

We didn’t know what these terms meant so we thought we’d define them for you. Listen for them when you watch and let us know if you heard some others!

  • Choccy Biccy: Chocolate Biscuit. A chocolate covered cookie, in the U.K. Often enjoyed with a cup of tea.
  • Wifelet: (colloquial, endearing) A wife.
  • ASBO: Anti-Social Behavior Order – Used against unruly youths who cannot conform to normal society’s rules and regulations. In terms of a person: They are the creme de la creme of delinquency, intent on causing anger, pain and destruction mainly due to their unnaturally small brain which is set on one thing: reproducing.
  • Bits and bobs: (idiomatic) A random assortment of things; small remaining pieces and items.
  • Storm in a teacup: Derived from tempest in a teacup: When someone exaggerates a problem, or makes a small thing seem worse than it really is.

All definitions courtesy of Urban Dictionary & Wiktionary

show posters for van der valk, lucy worsley and cobra
What’s new on TPT Passport?
TPT Passport is a member benefit that gives you extended access to an on-demand streaming library of PBS and TPT shows. TPT Passport is constantly adding new shows to make sure our members have access to high-quality content on demand. Get a first look at new programs below and a list of shows that are leaving soon.

© Twin Cities Public Television - 2020. All rights reserved.


Read Next

To Top