Friday, October 19, 2007
PILOT! Comedy Showcase: Plus One, Channel 4, 10.30pm
Rather admirably, Channel 4 has not given up on the possibility of finding some new sitcoms to whack out on a Friday, since that is after all officially Comedy Night. Although the naysayers may have been saying their nays along the lines that there hasn't been anything good on since Friends and Frasier finished, we think that's uncharitable. There's Peep Show, obviously. And we warmed to The IT Crowd and Star Stories after a while. And there's Ugly Betty, though not a sitcom in the most traditional sense of the word. Nevertheless, C4 are clearly keen to have another hit up their sleeve somewhere, and you may have noticed over the past few weeks a selection of pilots doing the rounds in the hopes of cracking TV gold.
We watched the first one two weeks ago, Other People, featuring Martin Freeman as a faded child star exploring the world of almost obscurity. It was pretty funny, if not massively different from the role he played in The Office (and to give him his due, few people play frustrated and jaded as well as Martin Freeman does), but the biggest problem we had with it is that it felt like all of its potential had been explored in the half hour pilot, and we didn't really see where else it could go as a series.
We have the same reservations about this one, but we have to congratulate it for the sheer batshit insanity of the premise if nothing else. Main character Rob is smarting after being dumped by girlfriend Linsey (Miranda Raison from Spooks), not least because she left him for Duncan from Blue. (No, seriously - Duncan James appears as himself. We're not kidding.) To compound matters, he gets invited to their wedding, and is expected to bring a guest, so naturally he determines to outshine both of them. As you may have seen from the trails, it seems as though his trump card is Gemma Atkinson from Hollyoaks, so we'll leave you to draw your own conclusions on whether he's successful in his endeavours. So, yes: precisely how much range it'll have outside this half hour remains to be seen, but we give it full marks for originality, so there.