Krod Mandoon And The Flaming Sword Of Fire - In The Press

The BBC has retracted claims by senior staff that it has axed Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire because of funding issues.

Written by Katherine Rushton. Broadcast, 24th August 2009

The BBC has confirmed it will not order a second series of "swords and sandals" comedy Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire after its funding partner pulled out.

Written by Katherine Rushton. Broadcast, 21st August 2009

Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire had as its "situation" a band of medieval outlaws, led by Krod, battling against an evil regime, represented by provincial governor Dongalor. Krod, a handsome, muscled hero, played by Sean Maguire in apparently the same mould as Sean Bean's Boromir in Lord of the Rings, is nevertheless a self-doubting, politically correct idiot; Dongalor, played by Little Britain's Matt Lucas, is a ludicrously sadistic narcissist with a Noel Coward drawing-room accent. The comedy is meant to come from the collision of the style of medieval heroics with sophisticated, amoral urbanity. You could see the clash - too clearly - but it sparked no wit

J Lloyd, The Financial Times, 11th July 2009

For fans of action comedy Krod Mandoon, and those of you that missed the red button, here is an exclusive behind the scenes interview with Matt Lucas and Sean Maguire. It's not your normal behind the scenes stuff either as they cover the spectrum from, over friendly masseurs to Nazi rallies in Budapest and the pleasures of wearing a hairy cod piece.

BBC Comedy Blog, 7th July 2009

I'm not entirely sure when a part of my soul died last night. Maybe it was when Matt Lucas was being painted topless? Or when Krod and his gang were turned into dogs and we endured scenes that made Look Who's Talking Now look like Annie Hall?

Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 7th July 2009

Okay, Krod Mandoon is bad. If it wasn't a mercifully short run, and the vanguard of BBC2's Thursday night comedy, I would have stopped watching weeks ago. But, I'm still here, trying to find humour in what amounts to a decently-budgeted spoof full of childish gags and immature sex-comedy...

Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 3rd July 2009

The madcap sword and sorcery spoof - a blend of adolescent ribaldry and Pythonesque silliness - continues as Krod (Sean Maguire) is dispatched by the Elite Resistance Council on another hapless quest. Meanwhile Dongalor (Matt Lucas) scours the land to find the last ingredient he needs to make his super-weapon operational: the tears of a pagan woman.

Gerard O'Donovan, Daily Telegraph, 2nd July 2009

I can feel my interest slipping in this flimsy fantasy spoof, despite the best efforts from some of the cast.

Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 26th June 2009

Poor old Krod (Sean Maguire) is trying to organise a guerilla attack while his gang stand around bitching about what clothes are appropriate for a dress-down Friday ambush. "Guys, guys, GUYS!" he shouts. "We're here to intercept the imperial payroll shipment, OK? So forgive me if I'm all business, but I'm not really in the mood to play fashion police!" But at least their next venture - stealing a priceless gem from the purple cave of a lonely, bisexual cyclops - is more successful. The only downside is that Krod's girlfriend, the promiscuous pagan warrior queen who refuses to wear underwear (India de Beaufort), takes a shine to one Ralph Longshaft. Four episodes in, and it remains as quick-witted, imaginative, funny - and refreshingly silly - as ever.

David Chater, The Times, 25th June 2009

Oh. The double-bill opening was mild fun and there were flashes of promise, but this third episode was terrible. So bad that it barely warrants me putting much effort into reviewing it.

Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 19th June 2009

The problem is that if you tune in at 9.00pm for the godawful Krod, you won't get to see them because by 9.30pm you'll have fled the room, weeping over the demise of popular culture.

Last night's episode of Krod was the third. For those who succeeded in missing the first two, it's a fantasy set in some quasi-medieval realm of warriors and noblemen. One word for its comic style would be "crude". There's another, more obvious word, but we can't print it. A fat man says something stupid. A gay man says something camp. A young woman with big breasts says something naughty about sex. Krod plainly yearns to be Blackadder, but it comes across as if it were written by Baldrick.

Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph, 19th June 2009

It is, quite simply, rubbish. I could go on: crass, juvenile, ill-judged, piss-poorly written, annoying. What was Michael Gambon thinking when he agreed to narrate? Matt Lucas does make a valiant, singlehanded attempt to rescue it, with a spirited performance as the evil Chancellor Dongalor. I did quite enjoy him emptying his chamberpot over Sean Maguire. Golden Powers, the title of this episode, turn to golden showers. But poor Matt is up against too much. The best thing about this second episode is that it was only half as long as last week's opener.

Sam Wollaston, The Guardian, 19th June 2009

Another episode filled with silliness. Kröd and Aneka fake their own deaths and their bodies are delivered to the magnificent Matt Lucas's Dongalor, who checks for signs of life by sticking his face in Aneka's cleavage. Kröd wishes he could do the same but Aneka has dumped him and a rival hunk looks like wrecking his dreams of a reunion.

The Sun, 18th June 2009

Bizarre, medieval fantasy-comedy Krod Mandoon is starting to find its feet. Matt Lucas is in fine fettle this week as the evil Dongalour, trying to outsmart Krod (Sean Maguire) and his hapless band of freedom fighters. "We must find out who the director of communications is and have him slain," says Lucas after a very West-Wing-like press conference. Some of the slapstick is a little too slapdash, but it'll probably become a cult hit so you may as well get into it now.

Hannah Pool, The Guardian, 18th June 2009

What is the point in parodying the sword and sorcery genre when it is already mired in absurdity? Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire never comes close to answering the question.

Impressively lavish in its production values, the show desperately needs more jokes put in, or the few it had taken out, to succeed as either broad comedy or fantasy adventure. As it is, it totters ineffectually between the two and feels like a very, very, very long sketch indeed.

Sean Maguire takes the title role as the swashbuckling rebel, who, with a motley band of ineffectual comrades in tow, has the temerity to challenge the authority of the Evil Empire. The Evil Empire's local representative Chancellor Dongalor is played with admirable gusto, but no finesse whatsoever, by Matt Lucas.

Since leaving EastEnders for Hollywood, Maguire has clearly put a lot of effort into developing a convincing physique and the requisite American accent to go with it. And, to be fair, Maguire is actually rather good as Mandoon, displaying a deft touch for self-effacing, mock heroic comedy.

Lucas, on the other hand, is given only the feeblest of characterisation to work with - variations upon cheery, psychotic camp - which becomes very tiresome, very quickly. Every baddie role, even such an idiotic one, needs a little bit of genuine menace, which was sadly and totally lacking from Lucas' performance.

Krod Mandoon does have its funny moments, but there just aren't enough of them. However, there is something likeable about the show and its admirable, if hapless efforts to entertain. Like Krod Mandoon himself, it is endearing but ineffectual.

Harry Venning, The Stage, 15th June 2009

Krod Mandoon is a spoof, a difficult thing to pull off because the humour is limited to the range of the drama it's sending up. Mandoon is a Dungeons & Dragons fantasy, a bit Robin Hood, a bit Lord of the Rings, a bit Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess. What it most resembles is a cartoon-like Shrek. It has a good cast and a remarkably generous set and costume budget. It all looks as if it has been performed in some tax-deductible bit of eastern Europe. Everyone turns in a perfectly fine performance, though Kröd himself has the hardest time, being both a hunk and an idiot. Playing a fool isn't the same as being a fool. Then there's Roger Allam, who seems to be going for the TV record for inappropriate casting. At any moment, I expect him to turn up in Hollyoaks.

What kills Krod stone dead before he's out of the first episode, what makes this a long hour of desperate, rictus tedium, is the script. The quick-fire, don't-draw-a-breath, rat-a-tat-tat wit and repartee of this god-awful script is solely and exclusively made up of single entendres about sex. Brilliant juvenile dirty sex talk is one of my favourite things, but this, this woeful, repetitive, telegraphed, winking, prudish smut, was just dire. Here was a great invented fantasy world, full of comic potential, but the script unerringly missed it for the state-of-the-arse joke of least resistance.

AA Gill, The Times, 14th June 2009

I came to Krod Mandoon (BBC2) cold, as it were, which is probably the best way to come... Oh, grow up! But don't bother doing so before you watch Krod, which is a sitcom of inordinate silliness aimed at sofa-bound bonding pairs of, I assume, teenage boys who have outgrown Little Britain and their dads who loved Red Dwarf.

Krod is an amusingly needy-but-buff hero (a smartly cast Sean Maguire) battling Matt Lucas, the evil Dongalor, who wears fur and is into beheading and all the usual power-crazed stuff you get in the kind of magic kingdom that's a few Hobbits short of Middle-Earth. The only completely baffling - apart from everything that's meant to be baffling, obviously - thing about Krod is why there was an hour of it, even for an opener, when no sitcom in TV history has sustained comedy for 60 consecutive minutes.

Kathryn Flett, The Observer, 14th June 2009

At the very opposite end of the comedy scale was Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, a fantasy satire starring Matt Lucas. Anyone who had seen the title would have calculated the chances of it not being bad as pitifully low.

It is a title that makes it very clear that you are entering a world where the name "Krod Mandoon" is a potent comedy currency - a world where knights say "Ni!", and every night is 2-4-1 down the Student Union bar. Krod Mandoon (played, with wilful casting randomness, by Sean Maguire, aka Tegs from Grange Hill) is an uptight warrior. His gang of freedom fighters include a black jive-talking genie with erratic magical powers, and Muldoon's pugilistic girlfriend - a foxy pagan who refuses to wear knickers. This threadbare band of wackily inverted stereotypes has an arch-nemesis: Chancellor Dongalor (Matt Lucas), whose comedy chops are left uselessly over-revved on lines as poor as "I am scared of nothing! Except turtles. They give me the willies".

The problem with the show is that, as a genre, fantasy is, of course, already absolutely ludicrous. You can't satirise it by making it even more ludicrous - to do so just results in an Upper Sixth trainwreck of wee-wee-jokes, mild homophobia and gurning.

Caitlin Moran, The Times, 13th June 2009

There was more time-travelling drag in Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, a sword and sorcery comedy that doesn't quite know what speed to be set at. It's funny, then not, funny, then not, like a car stuttering into life, then packing up. The shtick is that Matt Lucas plays a bad Sheriff of Nottingham type in the Middle Ages, Sean Maguire the hero out to ruin his despot-ery, aided by a gang of outlaws all with modern-seeming foibles.

Maguire's love interest is a pagan who delights in her sluttery. He has a magician who can't do magic and talks in sassy street talk. He has a patrician guardian who dies, and whose lover is a camp, sex-obsessed Spanish guy. Maguire is vain and confused. Lucas has lots of fun rolling his "r"s villainously. It's not terrible or pointless, but there were as many clouds as patches of sunshine. A lot of the jokes are physical (the pagan woman can't stop body-flipping) or based on deliberate comic mis-timing, with people looking askance after someone else says something silly. It tumbled along and then it was gone, a frippery - neither offensively bad, nor resoundingly funny.

Tim Teeman, The Times, 12th June 2009

Overall, for all its faults, Krod Mandoon And The Flaming Sword Of Fire was too deliberately silly to hate, and this double-bill opening slipped by rather pleasantly. I don't expect it to transform into a hilarious, incisive spoof of a genre that's nigh impossible to send-up in a fresh way, but hopefully it will at least be cheeky, fun, daft and entertaining.

Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 12th June 2009

There are some things you really shouldn't laugh at, like Matt Lucas sporting an enormous pubic wig and querying 'can I pull this off?' or jokes that depend on punning the name Horst Draper ('are you fit to mount a steed?'). But there was something so cheerily daft about Krod Mandoon And The Flaming Sword Of Fire that my sides were split.

It helped that the likes of Lord Of The Rings, Doctor Who and swords 'n' sandals epics such as 300 are ripe for a cheeky rip-off. If you take those kinds of capers deadly seriously then you'd best give Krod a wide berth. But if you enjoy fantasy adventure but wish they weren't so stuck up their own allegories then Krod, complete with its festival of umlauts, is right up your alley.

Buffed-up ex-EastEnder urchin Sean Maguire has carved out a surprising niche as a leather loinclothed spoof action hero - hey, it's a niche - and Krod is a blood brother to the muscle-bound hunk he played in Meet The Spartans. But this time with a much better script. Muscles popping out of his jerkin, Maguire's Krod is a new man in rebel hero's clothing, fretting about hostile work environments and political correctness when he should be sticking it to the bad guy. He makes a fine foil to deliciously evil Lucas, who has a big, bouncy ball as the evil Dongalor.

Subtle it isn't but Kröd works because, though this is satire drawn with a broad brush, there's still a strong story and juicy characters to sink your teeth into. Peppered with neat cameos (The Thick Of It fans will relish Roger Allam and Alex MacQueen taking turns at stealing scenes) and awash with saucy sorcery, it's the best rubbish comedy to come along in dark ages.

Keith Watson, Metro, 12th June 2009

It's astonishing how bad this show was. I mean, so absent were the laughs that I would have had more fun digging up corpses at the local cemetary and trying to suck the stinking marrow out of the bones. It's a show that's got less punch than a boneless pacifist.

Written by mofgimmers. TV Scoop, 12th June 2009

Bad comedy is a peculiar thing, isn't it? Watching it is rather like looking at the emperor's new clothes - slightly uncomfortable, more than a little embarrassing, with the lurking dread that maybe it isn't them at all who's at fault, but you, you and your own lame-arsed sense of humour.

Disclaimers aside, I think we can all agree on one thing: BBC2's spoof-adventure Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire is definitely not funny. Worse: it's boring. Had the emperor walked out wearing it, no one would have been fooled, though they may have had a few laughs, which is more than I got last night.

Basically, Kröd, for reasons unknown, is on a mission to free General Arcadius (no, me neither) who's been imprisoned by the evil emperor (him again!) for some or other reason. Of course, Kröd - played somewhat improbably by the Nineties pin-up Sean Maguire - isn't alone. With him he brings a hapless band of conspirators: Zezelryck the warlock, doing his best Eddie Murphy impression, Aneka the knickerless warrior princess who'd rather be stripping than duelling (incidentally, the only female character. Thanks for the thought, guys!) and Loquasto, half-man, half-pig. Or, possibly, just suffering from some kind of swine flu.

Speaking of emperors, what's Matt Lucas doing playing this one? He's actually funny, the only decent thing in it. I wonder if he gets to write his own lines? I could've sworn the script improved considerably when he appeared, playing a David Brent-inspired dictator, out to claim the blood of Maguire's Kröd. I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned the sooner he does, the better. Though I won't be sticking around in the meantime. Next!

Alice-Azania Jarvis, The Independent, 12th June 2009

Krod Mandoon featured a dungeon full of prisoners - which is where its scriptwriter belongs.

Written by Tim Dowling. The Guardian, 12th June 2009

I'm not sure it's a goer as a series. It has a great cast and the production values are high quality. It's well written, too. The way it combines fantasy and 21st-century dialogue can be funny. The trouble is that, once you have seen half an hour, you've seen it all.

Written by Rachel Cooke. The New Statesman, 11th June 2009

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