What’s it all about?
The local newspaper of Fogburrow gets a new editor, much to the annoyance of Chief Reporter Lewis.
What to say if you liked it
A gentle amalgamation of writer Dave Spikey’s previous triumph Phoenix Nights mixed in with the least sinister elements of the League of Gentlemen.
What to say if you didn’t like it
A pallid farce that exists purely because of the previous triumphant comedies of star names Dave Spikey and Johnny Vegas.
What was good about it?
• The opening line was chavtastic: “I’ll see you later, mum. Don’t forget to tape Trisha.”
• The newspaper headlines which sharply capture the banality of local newspapers – “Pensioners make lovely rugs”, “Some trains may run late”, “Local slag a disgrace” and “Sloppy Beavers let in seven”. Plus the legendary misprint: “Jobs blow for dustbin men – it should have said.”
• The subtle ominous atmosphere in Fogburrow that slowly built throughout the episode as new editor Gordon Garden (“Not Gordon Gordon”) endeavoured to investigate the blue water that was caused by the chemicals company that employs many of the residents.
• The presence of an enduring narrative about the blue water exuding from the chemical factory.
• No laughter track.
• Dave Spikey and Johnny Vegas as the two leading characters who were well-established by the end of the episode.
• Lewis’ jack-of-all-trades role: ” I’m Gypsy Lamborghini – stars; Mary Merrydew – A Problem Solved; and I do the health page – Know Your Body With Doctor Snoddy.”
The Make Your Own Fun Night at the Douglas Bader pub (where you go to get legless) where young reporter Duane won a contest to see who could stick the most clothes pegs to their face.
What was bad about it?
• It took a while to hit its stride and if we hadn’t been reviewing it, we would probably have changed channels at the ad break.
• Some parts of the plot were a little too derivative of The League Of Gentlemen – Hillary Briss’s “special stuff” is similar to the blue water.
• The quirks of the office workers were unconvincing: Alan Rothwell as fussy, pigeon-keeping sub-editor Gerry’s technophobia, Carol’s Sybil Fawlty-like phone conversations and Duane’s amdram aspirations
• Some of the jokes didn’t deserve a laughter track. “Some bloke jumped off the multistory in Blackburn.” “He must have been high.” “No, it was level three.”
• And the farting rubber policeman was just totally dumb.