IT'S become a rule of TV in recent years that anything starring Matt Berry is going to be funny. Whether it's The IT Crowd, House of Fools, The Mighty Boosh or the brilliant Toast of London, if it feature's Berry's distinctive, sonorous voice you can be sure it will raise a smile. Even his adverts for Moneysupermarket have me in stitches.

Berry's latest venture is Year of the Rabbit, which debuted this week on Channel 4. Most of the classic Berry tropes are present: the silly voices, strange costumes, prodigious swearing. And naturally it's very funny.

Set in the dark heart of Victorian London, Year of the Rabbit follows Detective Inspector Rabbit (Berry), a hardened booze-hound who's seen it all, and his hapless new partner Strauss (Freddie Fox). While investigating a murder, the ambitious daughter (Susan Wokoma) of the chief of police joins them, becoming London's first female officer (or 'filly-fuzz', which is one of many suggested alternatives). Together, the trio must fight crime while rubbing shoulders with street gangs, crooked politicians and their informant who is none other than John Merrick, aka The Elephant Man.

Berry's admitted in interviews that he is obsessed with The Sweeney and it tells with Rabbit a virtual recreation of John Thaw's Jack Regan, right down to the hard drinking and disrespect for authority. At other points you'd be forgiven for thinking you were watching BBC's Ripper Street or Peaky Blinders played for laughs, with plenty of visual gags and period references (street kids sell 'London fog' from bottles).

In this opening episode, there's a great running gag about Rabbit's heart keeping stopping at inopportune moments, forcing his boss, Chief Inspector Wisbech (Alun Armstrong) to get him a new partner (a well-trod formula of any police drama from Lethal Weapon to Life on Mars). Fresh-faced Strauss, who is just down from Cambridge, isn't really cut out for this sort of work and has only ever read about the East End in "pamphlets". Que a trip to the Dickensian depths of London complete with murdered prostitutes, corrupt MPs and a failed attempt to ride a bicycle which had me crying with laughter.

Year of the Rabbit is as daft as TV comedy comes and may not be to everyone's taste. But if the thought of Berry repeatedly being questioned as to "who wipes your arse?" strikes you as very amusing, then you've come to the right place.