Monday, 19 September 2016

Week in Telly 3

I went on holiday last week with the result that Week in Telly is looking a lot more blank. But I only lasted a few days before I succumbed to the need for telly. There are no days listed because they all blurred together a bit.

We the Jury
A sitcom pilot, part of Sitcom Season. A man has spent his whole life desperate to be a juror and this day finally comes on his 30th birthday. He's landed the cream of the crop too as he's bagged a murder case. I enjoyed this more than I expected though it was the minor characters rather than the main ones I liked best. I am skeptical about how well it would fare for an entire series. The main character, William, is more annoying than likeable. Plus I don't see how they could drag it out for multiple series. Does William keep getting called for jury service? It would be a bit of a stretch.

Our Ex Wife
Another sitcom pilot. Robert Webb falls in love, gets married, has kids and then, like many marriages, he and his ex wife end up loathing each other and now only speak through solicitors. He's moved on and is now engaged to someone new who is keen to meet the mother of her soon-to-be step children. I haven't actually finished watching this and I am not sure whether I'm going to. It's 'watch through your fingers' cringe comedy some of the time, something I usually avoid with a ten foot fence, barbed wire and lasers surrounding a moat.

Yes, Minister Special - Party Games
I checked through my 'Purchased' list of TV programmes on iTunes and found some episodes of this superb sitcom that I hadn't watched for a few years. Jim Hacker, Minister for Administrative Affairs (or something along those lines), is also party chairman and finds himself drawn into things when the Prime Minister suddenly resigns. Supported and guided by Bernard and Sir Humphrey, he finds himself in the unlikely position of being a candidate for the new party leader. These three characters together are so wonderful and I couldn't possibly pick a favourite. Sir Humphrey is a conniving and deceitful, yet you can't hate him. It balances out for all the occasions when he loses out. The events of this episode bring us straight into...

Yes, Prime Minister - The Grand Design
There are only so many things a minor cabinet minister can contend with so the writers cleverly promoted him. If we hadn't seen enough of it before, now Jim is Prime Minister we have plenty of his 'Churchill' moments. He wants to be remembered well and to look iconic so will mimic Churchill's speech pattern and stance at times, usually when he's making rather grand statements. It's interesting how the political matters in this episode - Trident, unemployed young people, conscription, Britain's relationship with the US - are issues that have never entirely gone away. They might not be prominent news headlines but there are still always people who disagree with defence spending and others who think young people would be more productive citizens if they had someone shout at them whilst marching for a while. It is a noticeably less frantic political world where they sometimes rely on waiting for the lead item on News at Ten to judge how successful they've been. I'd have quite liked to see Sir Humphrey dealing with Twitter.

Blackadder Goes Forth - Private Plane
The final series of Blackadder is probably my favourite and this is one of my favourite episodes, almost entirely because of Rik Mayall (still utterly unacceptable that he's dead, the bastard). Lord Flashheart steals every scene he enters and is superbly quotable.

"Enter the man who has no underwear. Ask my why."
"Why do you have no underwear, Lord Flash?"
"Because the pants haven't been built yet that'll take the job on!"

Blackadder "I'm beginning to see why the suffragette movement want the vote."
"Hey, any girl who wants to chain herself to my railings and suffer a jet movement gets my vote!"

"Now I may be packing the kind of tackle that you'd normally expect to find swinging about between the hindlegs of a Grand National winner..."

"Just because I can give multiple orgasms to the furniture just by sitting on it..."

His very brief moment when he cuts off Adrian Edmondson is also fantastic. As much as I love the character of Lord Flashheart though, I am very much on Blackadder's side. If I met Flash myself I'd think he was an arrogant tosser and probably smack him in the face. When they team up to confront Captain Darling though, all seems right. "Captain Darling? Last person I called darling was pregnant twenty seconds later."

Blackadder Goes Forth - General Hospital
There is a spy somewhere in the hospital so General Melchett sends Blackadder to investigate. He then sends Darling to spy on Blackadder and gives the former a convincing injury by shooting him point blank in the foot. Blackadder has Darling tied to a chair with a potty on his head, questioning him. It's getting a bit tense and Darling screams, "I'm as British as Queen Victoria!" "So your father's German, you're half-German and you married a German?" Blackadder spends his three weeks at the hospital shagging one of the nurses, who as they lie post-coital one day asks him, 

"Tell me Edmund, do you have someone special in your life?"
"Well yes, as a matter of face I do."
"No I mean someone you love and cherish and want to keep safe from all the horror and hurt."
"Erm, still me really."

I very much share Blackadder's sentiments.

6 television programmes

Best: Blackadder Goes Forth - Private Plane

Worst: Our Ex Wife

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