THAT WAS THE BOX – November 2015 (Week Two) | TV Reviews

Find the Latest TV Reviews - LONDON SPY - Ben Whishaw - BBC2


I’ll start with the criticisms first. There are gay clubs all over London, so why did this one, in the opening few minutes of ‘London Spy‘ have to be in Vauxhall? When protagonist Danny emerged in the early morning, bleary and hung-over, behind him, we could see MI6. Danny looks remarkably like Q. ‘Spectre‘ is currently in the cinemas. It is mightily confusing seeing Q in front of MI6 in a drama which isn’t James Bond. Rant over.

Apart from that. I loved ‘London Spy‘. I do like a good espionage, and whilst this started a little slow, towards the end, I was hooked and wanted to know what happens next. It stars Ben Whishaw as Danny, a sweet, loveable, idiot who shares a grotty flat, has a dead-end warehouse job and spends his spare time getting drunk/high in clubs. However, he meets a handsome and mysterious man on Lambeth Bridge, who gives him his water bottle (not a euphemism). For Danny it is love at first sight and he does whatever it takes to track his knight in shining armour down. He eventually finds him and they strike up a friendship. They really are opposites, Danny is open and friendly, whereas Alex (who originally said his name was Joe) isn’t just a closed book, he is a padlocked diary with the key thrown in the fire. To say he’s guarded is an understatement. His idea of a date is visiting some marshes and not talking very much, and I have to say, it’s hard to see what Danny is so smitten with. But love is strange, I suppose.

When they finally get it on, Alex confesses he is a virgin because he’s never trusted anyone enough, and this makes Danny fall for him more. It seems they are finally getting somewhere, when all of a suddenly Alex seemingly disappears from his swanky Battersea flat (how do you know it’s Battersea? readers ask – I just do!). Thinking he has dumped him for admitting that he had once acted like a bit of a ho, Danny is heartbroken and turns to best friend Scotty (Jim Broadbent) who took an instant dislike to Alex, and basically tells him to get over it. Then Danny is sent some keys by a mysterious source and they happen to be for Alex’s flat. When he goes there, he makes a shocking discovery in the attic. Not only is it like a sex dungeon (attic), full of fetish gear and brutal looking sex toys (and Alex had claimed to be a virgin), he also discovers what appears to be Alex, chopped up in a suitcase. The police then inform him that Alex’s name was actually Alistair, and Scotty (who happens to work in Whitehall) then reveals to Danny that whilst he didn’t recognise Alex/Alistair per se, he recognised the type and tells him that Alistair was a spy. This seems to be confirmed when Danny retrieves the mystery package wrapped in cling film hidden in Alex’s phone. We don’t see what it is, but his reaction tells us something’s afoot….

I can’t wait for next week’s episode. What I really liked about ‘London Spy‘ was that it is a love story, and not a gay love story. The men’s sexuality had little to do with it, and the sex scenes were tastefully shot and not gratuitous in any way. Danny is a loveable hero, and I hope he doesn’t come to a sticky end like Alex/Alistair did. In this way, I prefer it to ‘The Game‘. Whilst ‘The Game‘ was very slick and fancy, Joe Lambe was not a protagonist you particularly felt akin to, but Danny is a normal bloke and I guess what has happened to him could happen to any of us. How many of us truly know the people we fall for?


For all the Latest TV Reviews - PEEPSHOW 2015 - CHANNEL 4


So the El Dude Brothers are back for their final series. The action starts six months after the last episode, where Jez told Mark he loved Dobby (who Mark was going to propose to) and the two almost middle-aged men proceeded to push each other onto an electric fence. They haven’t been speaking since then and Jez is now sleeping in Super Hans’ bathroom, while Mark is sharing with an incredibly boring man called Jerry. They are re-united for Super Hans’ detox stag party and the atmosphere is awkward to say the least, with Jez unable to apologise and Mark eager to milk his friend’s contrition by being smug and condescending, like he’s always been.

However, with Jez back on the scene, Mark sees the domestic bliss he’s been sharing with Jerry, for what it is. Two dull men reading books and watching documentaries about William Morris. Even though he hates himself for it, Mark likes the excitement and unpredictability Jez brings to his life, and he is tempted to take his friend back.

This first episode was funnier than any of the episodes in series eight, and I’m holding out great hopes for Jez and Mark’s final hurrah. What adds to the comedy now is that they are a pair of forty-year olds and yet they cannot deal with most basic everyday problems like evicting an annoying housemate. When he refuses to leave, why not just drag him out into the lift, in his sleeping bag, and leave him there? Mark is doing badly in the bank job Johnson has given him, and his answer is to sell a loan to Jez, the most unreliable man in the world. I like how ‘Peep Show‘ is a celebration of how men never grow up, and I feel we could have ‘Peep Show 2045‘ and seventy year old Jez and Mark are behaving the same way, and Super Hans is probably mainlining cough medicine and Viagra!


The very Latest TV Reviews - JOSH - BBC3


If I was Beattie Edmondson, I would get a new agent. With a pedigree like hers (daughter of Jennifer Saunders and Adrian Edmondson) it is no wonder she’s got perfect comic timing, and I clearly remember her being the only funny thing about the God awful ‘The Wright Way‘, and now she has been saddled with another donkey. I can remember one day listening to a radio show hosted by Josh Widdicombe, and his boring, droning voice made me so irritated, I found myself wishing it was being hosted by Anne Widdicombe instead. But, I found him mildly funny on ‘The Last Leg‘, although I now realise it was because he was being propped up by Alex Brooker and Adam Hills. Josh Widdicombe is quite possibly the most boring man to ever become a comedian. And I don’t even think it’s a gimmick, I think he really is that boring.

And now he has been given his own eponymous sitcom. Clearly inspired by ‘Miranda‘, Josh is playing a version of himself, and hey, there are even pictures of him as a kid at the beginning. The difference being, love her or hate her, Miranda Hart is funny. She looks funny (well she did before the Hollywood makeover) she sounds funny and she’s vulnerable and a bit stupid. People can relate to her, and underneath the falling over and blundering about, Miranda is a sweet soul who you find yourself rooting for. Josh, however is a fifty year old man trapped in a thirty year old body. He shares a flat with an annoying Welshman called Owen, and Kate his university friend. Kate is played Edmondson, and she was the only funny thing about the whole programme. When her date tells her she is a bad kisser, she makes it her mission to prove otherwise. Not a funny premise, but with Edmondson’s funny expressions and awkwardness, it becomes funny.

Josh and Owen on the other hand are invited to a pool party, which ends in embarrassment because Josh can’t swim. The acting of the extras at the party was absolutely atrocious, like they were all mugging for screen time, in their skimpy swimwear. Because Josh is so dull, I cared little if he managed to overcome his fear of water, and the only mildly amusing thing about the whole premise was his landlord (played by ) trying to teach him to swim, by laying on an ironing board.

The whole thing feels quite American if that makes any sense. It lacked that British nastiness that underlines most of our comedies, and was all very bright and sunny, and seeing as I’m the only person in the world who hates ‘Friends‘, I found it irritating. I like pathos in my comedy. The best ones are the ones you can turn on its head and make into a drama. ‘Josh‘ was just stupid and juvenile, and not juvenile in an ‘Inbetweeners‘ sort of way. Just pointless. Maybe I’m the wrong demographic for it. Perhaps if I was twenty years younger it would have me splitting my sides. But I certainly won’t be tuning in next week.


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