Pete Versus Life. Pete (Rafe Spall). Image credit: Objective Productions.

Pete Versus Life

Sitcom starring Rafe Spall as a struggling sports writer. His life is analysed and discussed by two sports commentators

Pete v Life
2010 - 2011  (Channel 4)
11 (2 series)
Rafe Spall, Simon Greenall, Ian Kirkby, Joseph Kloska, Pippa Duffy, David Fynn, Philip Jackson, Sorcha Cusack, Daniel Ings, Susannah Fielding, Reece Ritchie & more
Bert Tyler-Moore, George Jeffrie
Objective Productions

Rafe Spall stars as twenty-something Pete, a struggling sports writer. Although well meaning, Pete often lacks the emotional maturity required to deal with life's more intricate problems. Pete wishes that life had clearly defined rules... like sport does. But life isn't like sport, as Pete is only beginning to realise.

The unusual twist with this sitcom is that Pete's life is commented on as if it was an exciting sporting event, by two professional sport commentators - anchor man Colin King and former international footballer Terry McIlroy. Colin and Terry discuss and analyse Pete's domestic cock-ups with accompanying statistics, on screen graphics and slow motion replays.

Our Review: Pete Versus Life was originally scheduled as one of Channel 4's 2009 Comedy Showcase comedies however, after seeing the pilot, the channel decided to fast-track it to a full five-part series. Strong confidence indeed.

We found parts of the first series quite amusing, featuring as it does, some good farcical sequences and well identified targets for gags. However, the device of using two commentators to add an additional layer to the programme took some getting used to. At times we found ourselves wishing Colin and Terry would stop interrupting the situation comedy action taking place on screen, but at other times the duo did add some extra amusement with their banter and back-story detail.

Series 2 was more confident, and better at knowing when to use the commentators and when to let the on-screen dialogue continue un-interrupted. It made for an enjoyable watch.

Unfortunately, going out in the competitive Friday night schedule, the series struggled to keep an audience. It managed an averaged a consolidated audience of just 599,800. As a result, it seems likely the show will return for a third series. C4 boss Jay Hunt told Broadcast magazine in January 2012 that she was "very disappointed it hasn't proved more potent with audiences. I think it is a really good comedy and we have struggled to get people to watch it."