A Bear’s Tail, Channel 4

by | Jul 8, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

A splendid extrapolation into a sitcom of one of Leigh Francis’ most hilarious effigies. The new Harry Enfield?

What to say of you didn’t like it

An appalling waste of acting talent is condemned to blandly play out a derivative script which has been leeched from the most innovative comedy of the 90s.

What was good about it?

• The actors are of a pretty good standard – Sean Pertwee and Yasmin Kerr, while even Davina McCall exhibits decent comic timing – but their thespian luminescence merely exaggerates the dreadful script, and their performances are reminiscent of first-day-at-drama-school roleplays at being a dysfunctional family.

• The foul-ups were almost sheepishly appended to the end to provide some laughs as Dave Ian McCall messed up a line.

• The CGI for the Bear’s “action” sequences was adequate.

• The spoof of mundane American sitcoms where the audience applauds lamely when a familiar character enters the room, and the Bear’s annoyance that people other than him were getting clapped.

• The minotaurs in Emmerdale’s Woolpack.

• Jon Culshaw’s monotone Trevor McDonald is still funny.

What was bad about it?

• The artificial laughter as a parody of US sitcoms could have been a good idea. But such is the low level of laughs, it becomes as desperate and flawed as those shows it seeks to mock.

• The hugely plagiaristic gags pilfered from 90s comedy and then executed with a real professional ineptitude such as when the Bear asked a passer-by what his mother would think if she saw the Bear “kiss his willie”, and the scene then cut to the mother in her living room – it was done, and done much better, in Wayne’s World. Trevor McDonald’s “keep watching as news comes like a tube into my buttocks” was sub-Day Today. And Avid And Sacha, a send-up of cheap European TV, was a poor facsimile of The Fast Show’s Channel 9.

• Semen Street, a Cocknose-presented satire of Sesame Street in which Dermot O’Leary introduced the word “cunna lingus” to the audience, was one of a number of abysmally synthetic puns. Another was the sub-Julian Clary gag when the Bear said to his mum (Patsy Kensit): “I would applaud your entrance,” and then in a Shakespearian aside, “I bet she’s got a lovely entrance.”

• Some jokes you can see coming from so far off you could lay a road, tarmac it and paint on lane markings before it ponderously crawls in.

• There was absolutely no building of characters or situations to be exploited for comic amusement. The characters were tossed up dumbly like clay pigeons to be shot down by a lame joke by the Bear. This, of course, meant there was little life generated for the situations to thrive in and they were soon suffocated anyhow by a dire concoction of crude puns and sporadic, unrelated gags. The worst was when Lillian told the Bear to shut his mouth and the Bear responded by opening his jaws wide and pointing to show how his gob wasn’t shut.

• The cheap Stevie Wonder joke at the end where he appears as a defence witness in the Michael Jackson case. “I didn’t see anything.”

• If you took the Moon out of the sky and becalmed the oceans, then the motionless water would resemble the sea of faces of viewers all around the country.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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