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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Mouth To Mouth, BBC3



Did we like it?
The channel that has brought us Nighty Night, Gavin & Stacey and Pulling can be partially forgiven for the abysmal Coming Of Age by giving us this half hour of enjoyable bittersweetness.

What was good about it?

• With great guile, writer Karl Minns weaves together three monologues to tell the stories of the three members of girl group Cats Eyes, teasing out the true story. He shows the same touches as Alan Bennett did in Talking Heads, only gently revealing that the people talking about their lives are painting a rosy picture of misery.
At the start, we imagine that Meeshell (Anna Nighingale) is preparing the the final of Fame Search 2008. Turns out, Cats Eyes haven't even got to the audition stage and, when they do, posh Chloe (Pippa Duffy) chokes. Recriminations follow. Meeshell goes solo; Chloe and Devine (Ayesha Antoine) stick together and soon have a number five hit on their hands.
• Parodying wannabes isn't exactly the hardest thing for a comedy writer to take on, but Minns doesn't only go for all the easy, cheap shots – he takes risks and we're rewarded with some great lines. Here's a few we enjoyed most:
"Professionality isn't a word. Neither was zigazigah but it didn't stop the Spice Girls being numnber one for six weeks, did it?"
"I decided to do Independent Woman. Well, mum decided for me."
"Trust is the most important thing in any relationship. I go through Tyler's phone and I've never found anything to worry about."
"I joked to Meeshell that Cats Eyes was a middle of the road name but she didn't get it."
"Remember what they told us at the clinic, darling. Chloe feeds her stomach when we feed her heart."
"Saw Tyler the other day, driving past me in his new car. Small fast little thing, which considering it was paid for with our sex life seems about right. I wouldn't have sold my story if he hadn't."
"I go topless in Malaga so it made no difference to me."

What was bad about it?
• Is this really the right sort of comedy for BBC3? The channel which features Celebrity Scissorhands and investigative documentaries by Alesha Dixon is surely catering for an audience for whom celebrity is something to be celebrated and revered, rather than derided and mocked. It's the cynical. more relaistic BBC4 types who'd appreciate the Mouth to Mouth message more.
• Is there much mileage in Mouth to Mouth? We fear not, which is a pity. But if it provides Minns with a launchpad, that would be a good result.

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