Fast And Loose. Image shows from L to R: David Armand, Pippa Evans, Hugh Dennis, Humphrey Ker. Image credit: Angst Productions.

Fast And Loose

Improvisational comedy show for the BBC created by the team behind 'Mock The Week'. Hugh Dennis hosts

2011  (BBC Two)
8 (1 series)
Hugh Dennis, Justin Edwards, David Armand, Greg Davies, Humphrey Ker, Tom Parry, Pippa Evans, Marek Larwood, Laura Solon, Wayne Brady, Jonathan Mangum & more
Dan Patterson, Roisin Jones
Angst Productions

Fast And Loose is an improvisation show created by the team behind Mock the Week.

Hosted by Outnumbered and Mock the Week star Hugh Dennis and featuring the best of up-and-coming British comedy performers, each episode contains a selection of all-new improvised games and scenes based on material thrown at the performers by the host.

The BBC says: "Comprising a succession of lively games that spoof films, TV programmes and music, Fast And Loose threatens to do for comedy what Downton Abbey did for spotting stray aeroplanes and TV aerials."

Suzanne Gilfillan, Executive Editor for the BBC, comments: "Fast And Loose is warm comedy entertainment with a modern twist, with a rich mix of established performers and new comedy stars in the making, reflecting the wealth of new and exciting improv talent on the stand-up comedy circuit."

Hugh Dennis adds: "Fast And Loose is the ultimate team sport, with a group of fantastically clever character actors. They are the next generation of improvisers, and improvisation has moved on enormously. We have electronic trickery, animated chickens and blowfish as well as songs and games including a fantastic sideways scene. It is half an hour of controlled improvised silliness and there is no scoring and no stars. To quote David Cameron: 'We are all in it together.'"

Fast And Loose. Image shows from L to R: Justin Edwards, Laura Solon, David Armand, Pippa Evans, Hugh Dennis, Humphrey Ker, Marek Larwood. Image credit: Angst Productions.

Our Review: This just isn't quite as good as Whose Line Is It Anyway, whichever way you look at it. Part of the problem is the feeling some of the show is scripted - in the dance round, how do the performers know which order to go in if it hasn't already been rehearsed?

Maybe some of it is slick improv, but to help prove that it un-scripted the show should consider taking suggestions from the audience - this worked very well for Whose Line. Perhaps this can't be done for fear of treading on format copyright?

A second weakness of the show is some of the games: they're don't leave enough scope for the performers to run with an idea and be funny with it, and so end up just dragging.

That said, whilst it may not match Whose Line, there is still lots of entertainment to be had from Fast & Loose. The 'sideways scene' (see clips section) is a clever new concept, it's nice to see some new faces on TV, and certain performers (most notably Greg Davies and Justin Edwards) do manage to exact a lot of mileage from within the constraints they've been given. Watching Greg Davies tie up David Armand with his 'Geordie Catcher' made us laugh a lot.

We hope the show gets a second series as now the producers know which games work, and which performers are the strongest improvisers, they can hopefully build the show into something that is more entertaining from start-to-finish... rather than the patchy format it is now.