Oh dear… and to be honest, were I not being paid to elaborate on my opinion, “oh dear” would just about cover it.
This new series starring Fay Ripley was/is, billed as a comedy-drama, but I really feel they’re playing fast and loose with the words ‘comedy’ and ‘drama’. As with far too many shows at present, it was neither funny nor dramatic, so I take issue with that description.
In fact, I found it something of a yawnfest, full of tired clichés, rather too much slapstick and very predictable one-liners. It seemed to take a little bit of many different shows – and even films, adopting a Bridget Jones-esque narrative now and again – and attempt to glue them together with a cast who tried, but failed, to be as funny as ‘The Office’.
However, what the rather stellar cast did do was very believably portray their parts; rather too believably in fact. For instance, Holly Aird as the gun-ho new management type was so credible, I was instantaneously bored by her marketing speak and enthusiasm.
Anyone who’s ever sat through a sales meeting about targets and projections will know that sinking feeling; someone whips out a projector and a PowerPoint presentation and yaps on endlessly about “turning this around” while you want to fall asleep or self-harm, just to have something interesting to do. Well the entire show was like that and why, oh why, would you want to watch it in your leisure time if you have to endure it during the day??
Thankfully, I no longer have to listen to someone called Jeremy or Abigail expounding on the vagaries of demographics and targets, but this show was like a hideous acid flashback to those times when I did have to.
And for some reason, the makers of the programme seemed overly fond of showing us panoramas of Leeds… I still can’t understand why they seemed so set on hammering home that the show’s set there. Perhaps it’ll become apparent later, but if it does, this pilgrim won’t be hanging around to find out why.
The only potential light at the end of the tunnel came in the form of Saikat Ahamed who played Vince. He was actually pretty funny but sadly, despite his valiant efforts at genuine comedy, this show has few places to go but the toilet bowl.
One of the main problems for me was that some of the big names, such as Jenny Agutter, were very much under-employed in their roles. This is a woman who’s kind of a legend, but put her in a business suit and make her fiddle with a BlackBerry and bang, the credibility’s gone. Add to that bland mix some banal lines and you have a potentially rather nasty blot on an otherwise impeccable CV I would’ve thought.
Perhaps it’ll improve with time but I have to say, I very much doubt it. If this show were a bottle of wine, it’d be Nasty Asti. If it were a book, it would languish on the shelf gathering dust after someone gave it to you at Christmas along with some bath salts. In short, if you missed it, I wouldn’t bother trying to catch up with it; it’s an hour of your life you’ll never get back.