Bellamy's People. Gary Bellamy (Rhys Thomas). Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.

Bellamy's People

TV version of the Radio 4 phone-in satire show Down The Line. Clueless DJ Gary Bellamy is let out of the studio to meet people face-to-face

AKA:
Bellamy's People (Of The United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland)
Genre:
Satire
Broadcast:
2010  (BBC Two)
Episodes:
8 (1 series)
Starring:
Rhys Thomas, Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Lucy Montgomery, Amelia Bullmore, Simon Day, Felix Dexter, Rosie Cavaliero, Adil Ray
Writers:
Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Rhys Thomas, Simon Day, Felix Dexter, Lucy Montgomery, Rosie Cavaliero, Amelia Bullmore, Adil Ray
Production:
British Broadcasting Corporation

Award winning journalist Gary Bellamy (Rhys Thomas), host of Radio 4's 'groundbreaking' phone-in programme Down the Line, transfers to TV to present the tortuously-titled factual entertainment show "Bellamy's People (of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)".

Bellamy abandons the comfort of his studio and jumps in his Triumph Stag "personality vehicle" to travel the length and breadth of the land meeting the people of Britain and trying to find out what makes them tick. His aim is to elicit their views on topics ranging from crime and religion to class and culture. Much like his radio phone-in show, each week will focus on a particular topic of discussion.

The show promises to deliver quintessentially British characters, including a 23-stone man who rarely leaves his bed; a pair of aristocratic sisters with an unhealthy love of totalitarian regimes; a barely reformed celebrity criminal; Christians, Muslims; and a host of other characters that make up modern Britain.

Our Review: Despite the great team behind this show, and the pedigree of the radio series from which this is a spin-off (Down The Line), it has to be said that Bellamy's People was a bit of a disappointment.

There has been some condemnation of the show on our forums: "rudderless", "second hand", "messy", and "without structure" are some of the words that have been used.

Sadly, these are not adjectives with which we can argue against. The constant cutting between characters served no narrative purpose; it only results in the viewer feeling disconnected from the characters, unable to engage and get to know them. Most of the scenes are no more than mildly amusing, and we can't help but feel that, if one character was focused on for a longer period, the humour would build up to a satisfying level rather than be cut short as we flip to yet another different scene.

It should be noted that the show does have its fans though, and the character acting on display here is undeniably masterful. Charlie Higson, Lucy Montgomery, Simon Day, Felix Dexter, Rosie Cavaliero and - most notably - Paul Whitehouse inhabit their various and varied characters with real skill.

BBC Two obviously wasn't that impressed though - they've cancelled the show after just the one series.