Dead Boss - In The Press
This show isn't terrible, but I often had the feeling that the production was doing its utmost to hide weak scripts and sign-posted jokes. The exuberant piano-based soundtrack became intolerable by Episode 4, and I wasn't a fan of how broad everything was played. It was too much of a cartoon for me, really.
Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 13th July 2012
Dead Boss comes to the end of its run and it's all change at the prison. Helen is moved to a new wing, where she finds a confidante in the shape of guest star Miranda Richardson. But creepy Christine makes every effort to maintain her friendship with her former cellmate, offering a unique take on bonding over arts and crafts: "Slasher bit the head off a sparrow and we're doing potato prints with its blood." Meanwhile the murder case becomes clearer - but only enough to allow for a second series.
Tony Blackburn is set for some romance as he guest stars in tonight's comedy murder mystery Dead Boss.
The Sun, 5th July 2012
Eight weeks into her term and with her lawyer unwittingly working against her and fiancé entirely intentionally seducing her sister, Helen still labours under the misapprehension that people on the outside care about her when it's really her fellow inmates who are willing to put themselves on the line for her. Although Top Dog's newly defected but long defective posse prove to be of limited use as she resolves to fight her own cause. Some crafty sight gags and game performances (especially Jennifer Saunders in the Matt Berry role of the psychologically suspect big cheese) aside, Dead Boss is still pulling its punches a little, lacking the iron-fist-in-velvet-glove smarts of Porridge while pulling back from the sort of genuine depravity that could really mark it out. Enjoyable enough, though.
Gabriel Tate, Time Out, 28th June 2012
The murder case rumbles on, and suspicion begins to spread through Entirely Tiles as Mrs Bridges' reign of non-Nespresso terror continues. Mary uses her unlikely "very sensitive bitch-dar" to probe the lottery situation, with Henry's help. Meanwhile, behind bars, Top Dog ditches her posse after a cigarette racket throws up a menthol ("a pudding fag"), causing the bereft gang to latch on to Helen. She's using her prison time to learn about the law, mostly from reading John Grisham novels, but with Jennifer Saunders's governess otherwise occupied, things don't look too hopeful.
BBC3's Dead Boss sees Holly Walsh move behind the camera on a show she co-writes with Sharon Horgan. Keen to find out more about the show, Giggle Beats caught up with an exhausted Holly Walsh to find out if everything had gone according to plan...
Written by James Harle. Giggle Beats, 25th June 2012
Confession time. I didn't review Dead Boss (BBC3) when it began last week. Here's why. I'm a big fan of Sharon Horgan, who co-wrote and stars in it. Pulling, which she also co-wrote and starred in, was fabulous, one of my comedy highlights of recent times. But this was pretty lame - and tame - in comparison. I wanted to like it, but couldn't.
Good ol' Sharon Horgan. She so rarely puts a foot wrong that it's a wonder she isn't representing Great Britain in the Olympics balance beam event. Nothing changes as we reach the third episode of Dead Boss, where she continues to ring up the laughs with a performance alternates between flustered, histrionic and deadpan. Tonight, Horgan's character, Helen, is lumbered with a new cellmate as part of a prison exchange with Germany: Gertrude (Anna Crilly), 'a 46-year-old widowed cannibal'. Helen's charged with the task of going to 'show her where she can get a souvenir tattoo done - that sort of thing' by the warden. Helen can't fail unless she wants her legal aid application quashed. Sounds hackneyed. Actually, it's anything but. Very funny.
Alexi Duggins, Time Out, 21st June 2012
Helen Stephens, falsely imprisoned for murder, is forced to share her cell with a German cannibal on a prisoner-exchange. Played by the splendid Anna Crilly (of Lead Balloon), even she can't rise above the jokey German accents and weak gags in this curious misfire from Sharon Horgan.
Alison Graham, Radio Times, 21st June 2012
If the second part of last week's double bill seemed slow, here's a cracker of an episode to drive the series along. Anna Crilly (Magda in Lead Balloon) steals the show as German cannibal Gertrude Wermers, who comes to the prison on an exchange programme, much to Top Dog's delight. In the office, there's more news about the mystery of the lottery syndicate, and Mr Bridge's widow makes her presence felt by removing the Nespresso machine.
Sharon Horgan returns to the always slightly dodgy world of the BBC Three sitcom with this new series about a woman wrongly sent to prison for murdering her boss.
The premise of new BBC3 murder-mystery sitcom Dead Boss, co-written by and starring Sharon Horgan, is that Helen Stephens (Horgan) has been wrongly convicted of murdering her employer, and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Further conspiring against her are a useless solicitor, her venal sister, a sinister prison governor (Jennifer Saunders, left) and a script that displayed recidivist tendencies to criminal one-liners. Perhaps the series will settle, and the actors take a cue from Bryony Hannah's quirky turn as Helen's pyromaniac cellmate.
I realise BBC3 comedies are not aimed at the more considered grown-up, but nothing will stop me from saying: "Dead Boss? Dead loss, more like." This was a prison sitcom, with one normal person (Sharon Horgan as a woman wrongly convicted of murder) surrounded by pantomime fools. The stars of Porridge will be turning in their graves. Admittedly, Jennifer Saunders was good value as the governor and there was the odd decent line (a misunderstanding involving "cellmate" and "soulmate" made me laugh), but the overall effect was flatter than a long stretch in Norfolk. It had one of those ill-advised plinky "light" jazz scores (think Dirk Gently) designed to accentuate the absence of laughter. By the end of the second episode, I was rattling the bars myself.
The funniest new show of the week, possibly the year, was BBC3's prison-based comedy Dead Boss starring Sharon Horgan.
Forget cosy Miranda, Sharon Horgan is the funniest woman on TV for viewers who prefer their comedy with a murky twist. With two new shows on air, she tells Gerard Gilbert this is a golden age for female-led sitcoms. Here, we introduce five of the best.
Written by Gerard Gilbert. The Independent, 16th June 2012
I'm not a fan of the trend to air double-bills of new sitcoms, but in the case of Dead Boss is was a godsend. The first half-hour wasn't terrible, but it was fighting a losing battle. The second episode was definitely stronger.
Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 15th June 2012
We're glad that the first two episodes were shown together, as Dead Boss feels like it's a grower more than an instant hit. Episode 1, while rapid and amusing, isn't the strongest start. However, by Episode 2 the pacing feels tighter, the plot more coherent, the characters more defined, and as a result the jokes land better.
Written by Rob Smedley. Cult Box, 15th June 2012
At the start, this looked like another trying-hard-to-be-wacky-without-actually-being-very-funny BBC Three comedy, but by halfway through the first episode it got into its stride, with succinct characterisation, sly humour and a winning main character.
Written by Terry Ramsey. The Daily Telegraph, 15th June 2012
I'll reserve judgement on Dead Boss, Sharon Horgan and Holly Walsh's comedy about a woman wrongly convicted of murder. First episodes are often awkward affairs, and this one didn't break the rule. But I liked the dodgy solicitor who offered a "no win, some fee" service and there was a nice moment when Horgan's character found her cocky insults about a prison tough and her cronies being repeated to them by a guilelessly supportive cell-mate. "I have been completely taken out of context," she stammers, raising the question of exactly what context would take the sting out of "mentally stunted trolls". Give it time.
Dead Boss was enticing enough with its stellar cast, excellent writing credentials and intriguing premise, but in the event, this début episode was more Dead Loss than anything else.
Written by Keith Watson. Metro, 15th June 2012
It apparently took Sharon Horgan and Holly Walsh several years to bring Dead Boss to screen and it seems it was certainly worth the wait as all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode. But the fun didn't stop there... oh no...
Written by Elliot Gonzalez. 14th June 2012
Well, if you find modern sitcoms too boring and cringe-based, Dead Boss is one of the best straight-up wacky efforts I've seen in a while.
Written by Nick Bryan. The Digital Fix, 14th June 2012
Sharon Horgan shines as usual but this is an ensemble piece and everyone gives an equally strong and memorable performance.
The Custard TV, 14th June 2012
Sharon Horgan seems to have randomly plucked her new sitcom out of the air, says Jack Seale.
Written by Jack Seale. The Radio Times, 14th June 2012
Dead Boss is noticeably different to much of BBC Three's output. Think less Coming of Age and more BBC Two's Psychoville - It's not as dark and bizarre, but the look and overall tone of the series isn't too far off.
Written by Jack Sharp. On the Box, 14th June 2012