Here’s a sentence I don’t normally get to type so standby… The new series from BBC3 is fantastic!
The BBC3 series sends a camera to capture the crazy going’s on in Swansea’s third biggest Call Centre. On the face of it you might think you know what the series is all about. You’d expect pensioners moaning about calling during dinner and other customers slamming the phone down, and whilst it does feature this that’s only a tiny part of this brilliantly amusing documentary series.
BBC3 gets a bad and often unfair wrap from viewers. Yes they show obscure documentaries but in my opinion Channel 4 has made some bizarre choices when it comes to random and truly off the wall documentaries at the moment. The Call Centre is a step above the normal BBC3 output. The first episode was funnier and more original than any recent written comedy piece.
Without question Call Centre manager Nev is the star of the show. The comparisons to David Brent are obvious and have been made by every critic in the land but for the majority of Nev’s chats with staff and to the camera it seems a fair comment to make.
Watching The Call Centre. I’m started to think that David Brent isn’t so cringeworthy after all.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 4, 2013
Someone within the channel must have known Nev was made for TV, his enthusiasm for his staff is infectious and whenever he wasn’t on-screen I found myself willing him to reappear. He’s a proper TV star. His speed dating night was a stroke of genius and his interview style something that Lord Alan Sugar could learn from. Don’t get the wrong end of the stick here, I could never work for Nev, I’d be a constant nervous wreck but I took a great deal of enjoyment watching others squirm in his presence. The scene where Nev walked recently dumped Kaleigh Davies up and down the office in an attempt to find her a new boyfriend was brilliantly squirm inducing. Mock him all you like but Kev really appears to have the affection and his respect of his young staff.
The Call Centre is fun. Fun isn’t a word I get to use that much either but it really is. The hour flew by (half of it spent laughing as hopeless Hayley struggles to locate her teabags, sugar and spoons to make the tea) and I just wanted more. What BBC3 does well is the social media side of their programmes and The Call Centre amassed a staggering 25,486 tweets during the first episode. As you can imagine some were more complimentary than others but the sheer number of comments demonstrate that television like this is still as relevant and noteworthy as it has ever been.
I will never, ever see the appeal of The Only Way is Essex or Made in Chelsea and I think to lump the Call Centre in with that lot of wannabes is unfair. The Call Centre never takes itself too seriously and has a whit and sense of humour that any modern comedy writer would kill for. It’s not often I praise a programme on BBC3 but I felt utterly compelled to let you know not to make snap judgements about the series and look upon it with an open mind.