Big Top. Image shows from L to R: Geoff (John Thomson), Lizzie (Amanda Holden), Helen (Sophie Thompson). Image credit: Big Bear Films.

Big Top

Fraught with problems and dealing with a cacophony of egos, Ring Mistress Lizzie must struggle to keep Circus Maestro going... somehow!

Circus (Working Title)
2009  (BBC One)
6 (1 series)
Amanda Holden, John Thomson, Sophie Thompson, Tony Robinson, Ruth Madoc, Bruce Mackinnon
Daniel Peak
Big Bear Films

Circus Maestro is fraught with problems, and Ring Mistress Lizzie must overcome them all.

The performers and crew include a grumpy clown who hasn't a funny bone in his body; cynical soundman Erasmus; Georgie, the Grande Dame of Circus Maestro; and Boyco, the dazzlingly talented East European acrobat who is incredibly naive about the ways of the English world.

So what do you do when you've advertised a death-defying stunt which everyone has bought tickets to see, and the performer is just that little bit too injured? How do you manage a group of people who are so jealous of each other that they are happy to sabotage their colleagues performances; or so dedicated as performers that they are willing to sabotage their own survival? When the star acrobat is being chased by immigration, how do you hold onto him?

Our Review: The first episode didn't make too great an impression. Mainstream press previews were pretty unanimous in their condemnation of the programme, and it didn't improve much. It's fair to say that there were some great jokes throughout the series but they were often too thinly spread out, and were generally overshadowed by the plot (or, arguably, lack thereof).

Despite a promising setting, the potential doesn't seem to have been realised in Big Top. Still a good show for the kids, but maybe not so much for those controlling the remote.