Did we like it?
Another grim/grin-up-north sitcom from BBC3 that has lots of good qualities and looks like it’ll be worth sticking with.
What was good about it?
• Carl Rice (the best one in Scallywagga) and Ralf Little (needs no introduction) work very well together as Shay and Danny, record company entrepreneurs in Manchester. Shay is the crazy one in the Shay-D setup but Danny is dependable, so the dynamic is similar to the Super Hans-Jeremy combo in Peep Show.
• The soundtrack throws in lots of good, but not over-heard, indie tracks plus, as icing on the top, Still The One by Shania Twain (which happens to be the Our Tune of this thecustard.tv writer).
• Although the jokes were not as strong as the performances, character chemistry and storylines, there were some good gags. Our favourites: “Coldplay – they’re a bunch of sellout public school lesbians from Devon” and “I bought the Twain CD for purely ironic reasons.”
• We love Christine Bottomley so were delighted to see her as journalist Lou.
• Newcomer Joel Fry was instantly impressive in his TV debut as IT nerd Swing who fancies himself as a rapper (“I’m wireless, niggers”) but is hopeless with girls. The character is not a million miles from Moss in The IT Crowd but Fry’s freshness ensured Swing didn’t pale in comparison.
• The much heralded Lambs succeeded in living down to Danny’s expectations with a pretentious performance – while wearing Jeremy Paxman masks – of their French language song about Newsnight.
• HearHearKitty, two common shopgirls from Superb’uns, did an impressive Sugababes-meet-Beyoncé version, of I’m Coming Out.
• The horror fantasy in which the lads envisaged a life of filing.
What was bad about it?
• Writer Damian Lanigan didn’t really have anything new to say in his attempt to satirise the desperate quest for fame – the X Factor-style audition process, for example, was nowhere near as funny as the real thing – the Jim Morrison lookalike performing Don’t Cha was nowhere near as awful as Darius doing Hit Me Baby One More Time.
• Johnny Vegas and Lorraine Cheshire did a fine comic turn as Shay’s dysfunctional parents Tony and Lorraine (“We opened for Lena Zavaroni”) but there was no real need for the older generation to be represented and it felt they had been parachuted into the show. Their best moments: Tony nicking the neighbour’s satellite dish and telling his cider-addicted wife: “Your knicker drawer smells like an orchard.” Their worst: the performance of the overrated Fairytale of New York.
• We expected to be bamboozled by some of the music references, having withdrawn from Radio 1 when Chris Moyles arrived, but there was nothing we didn’t understand, which means it is probably not as hip as it needs to be to hit BBC3’s 15-24 demographic.
• Ralf Little’s dodgy haircut.