Well I guess The Cleaner had a good run. Despite only reportedly running for two series, Greg Davies’s latest show was pretty funny with some great episodes and hilariously random cameos. These cameos ranged from the expected, in David Mitchell, to how on earth did that happen, in the form of Helena Bonham Carter. So, while the Cleaner is arguably Greg Davies’ weakest show it is still a pretty good watch if you’ve already binged Cuckoo or Taskmaster. Now, before I get into the list properly here is some history about the show.
The Cleaner first debuted on BBC 1 in 2021 and follows the titular Cleaner, Paul ‘Wicky’ Wickstead (Davies), as he goes around working as a crime scene cleaner. Or to be more specific a Government certified cleaning technician. Naturally, this brings him into contact with some interesting characters, like Helena Bonham Carter’s Sheila who murdered her husband just because she got bored one day. And yes she’ll definitely be making an appearance in the ranking. Anyway, other standout characters include David Mitchell playing himse- Sorry struggling writer, Terence, or Ruth Madeley’s Helena or even Vivienne and Sir James, some very upper class friends. Now while there’s unlikely to be a Series 3 and the last couple of episodes are yet to drop, why not look back at the Cleaner’s high points? So without further ado here are the best episodes of the Cleaner ranked.
10: The Dead End (S2, E6)
Kicking off the list of the best episodes of the Cleaner is The Dead End. Now am I being unnecessarily hipster by placing this episode at 10? Yes but here’s why. As funny as it is to see Wicky travel to Wales to clean up the scene of a gamekeeper’s murder, there’s just funnier episodes in the show. Although I will give credit for adding in a moral dilemma for Wicky as what happens you can’t lose your head on the job. Overall, a very fun and solid episode.
9: The Statue (S2, E5)
Now I bet you can’t guess what events would have inspired this episode… Anyway, beyond its possible mirroring of some important societal progress, this is just a funny episode thanks in large parts (pun definitely intended) to Wicky. So, when Wicky is called to a small, quiet town he is soon embroiled in a row over a new statue. And yes, this row somehow escalates to the point where a bucket of blood is chucked over it. Poor Wicky…. Anyway, with tempers running high and everything at a boiling point Wicky is caught in the crossfire for wanting to do his job.
8: The One (S1, E6)
Now the Series One finale deserves praise as it does the standard plotline of helping the main character find the one for them very well. So, when Wicky travels to clean up a crime scene at a country home, it just so happens the owner is his ex-girlfriend who left him on his 30th birthday. Damn that’s cold. Anyway, what starts naturally as an awkward conversation soon turns into a reconciliation of sorts as they both learn some truths about their relationship. So, actually it’s a wonderfully wholesome episode.
7: The Shaman (S2, E4)
Right off the bat, this episode features involvement from Shakin’ Stevens so naturally it was always going to be on the list. And also it’s just really fun overall. Now, Wicky has been called to a crime scene at a stately home which is already a good basis for a joke. That doesn’t even factor in the other person with a job to do… Oh, mysterious. There’s also the titular shaman with his own agenda, an owl and maybe a ghost. So, there’s plenty to love about this episode really…
6: The Aristocrat (S1, E4)
In another link back to the history section, this episode sees Wicky tangle with Vivienne Hosier and Sir James, two quite traditional aristocrats. Now, when a burglar dies in Vivienne’s stately home Wicky is called in to clean up the scene. What follows is a mad side plot about Vivienne’s obsession with her sofa, as Sir Winston Churchill sat there, which is a very important part of her family history. Oh and this episode really tests Wicky’s morals which is just another positive for it overall. And just the fact Wicky and Sir James’s conversations are funny reinforces this fact.
5: A Clean Christmas (S2, E0)
Now am I slightly cheating by using the Christmas special? Yes but it’s also one of the best episodes so how can I not include it? Anyway, it’s Christmas Day and Wicky is looking forward to a Christmas raffle. And the first prize is an actual horse. Yeah, maybe the writers were doing something else in the writer’s room. Anyway, the only things in his way are a blood soaked crime scene in an ice cream parlour and a regular customer who clearly has no qualms in getting a bloody peach melba ice cream. Oh, and Sian Gibson’s in this episode so there’s a nice Taskmaster connection.
4: The Neighbour (S1, E3)
If you’re a fan of Greg Davies’ work you’re familiar with the fact it’s often a very awkward comedy. And this episode is perfect proof of that. When Wicky accidentally brings the wrong keys to a crime scene he has to ask the neighbour to let him in. The only problem being the fact the neighbour is Ruth Madeley’s Helena who recently broke up with her girlfriend and who seems in no rush to help Wicky out. So, the fact this episode sees Wicky meeting his match makes it a very fun one.
3: The Transaction (S2, E1)
Now I’m sure we’ve all been in the situation of going to the pub and either not drinking or only having one drink because you’ve made a promise to someone. Well, if that’s ever been you you’ll probably relate to Wicky here. After promising his girlfriend he wouldn’t drink, he suddenly finds a much bigger problem to contend with. That problem is in the form of hard nosed landlady Lisa and muscle bound barman Cuddle. Now that’s some wonderful juxtaposition there and again it shows off how good Greg Davies is.
2: The Writer (S1, E2)
Remember when I mentioned that David Mitchell definitely doesn’t play himself? Well, that’s this episode and the chemistry between him and Davies is brilliant. The entire premise of the episode revolves around Terence’s writer’s block for his latest novel while Wicky has to clean up a crime scene of his dead grandma in the living room. What ensues is some marvellous nonsense and the age old protagonist knocking something important off a shelf. Anyway, it’s just a fantastic demonstration of the awkward comedy Greg Davies so often excels at.
1: The Widow (S1, E1)
And the best episode of the Cleaner is… The Widow. And it’s entirely because it’s Greg Davies working with Helena Bonham Carter. Now as mentioned in the history section, Helena’s character Sheila murdered her own husband so naturally Wicky’s services are required. Somehow all this spirals into Wicky being held hostage in the bathroom by Sheila as she wants to marry him and the pair run off together. Honestly, it’s utterly insane and nonsensical television but it’s so compelling that you can’t help but marvel at it. So, fair play to both Greg Davies and Helena Bonham Carter for this wonderful episode.