Last Night’s TV – The Persuasionists

by Lynn Connolly

I despair of a decent comedy ever coming out of BBC at the moment. The latest ‘comedy’ offering – and Trading Standards should take up the issue of false labelling – is The Persuationists, set in an advertising agency.

For a start, I fail to see anything humorous or even interesting in the concept of an ad agency, and it’s been done to death already. Whatever happened to the words ‘new’ and ‘original’ when it comes to comedy? It would appear they’re no longer a prerequisite to get a sitcom on TV; well, certainly it would seem it’s not necessary for the BBC to buy your idea.

And despite having some relatively respected comedy folk in it – Iain Lee, Simon Farnaby. Adam Buxton, Daisy Haggard, Jarred Christmas – it lacks the one fundamental for a comedy; comedy.

It’s just not funny. And worse, it’s fully of hackneyed phrases, clichés and double entendre more befitting of Benny Hill. All the characters are way too obvious, the one-liners way too over used and the setting, as I said before, done to death. The Persuasionists is the dead horse that’s being flogged.

And their very first storyline was ridiculous too; Cockney Cheese was what the team were supposed to be trying to sell, complete with ludicrously Cockneyfied client in the form of ‘Cockney Jim’ very much over-played by Lee Ross. His rhyming slang and ever-so-old portrayal of what someone in America might think everyone from London is like was just plain silly. And not silly in a funny way either.

I really can’t think of anything positive to say about it at all, except that maybe its one saving grace is that this first series is only another five episodes long, and hopefully, nobody will have the brainlessness to recommission it.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.