Psychoville

A dark comedy mystery starring The League of Gentlemen's Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith

AKA:
Psychoville 2
Genre:
Sitcom
Broadcast:
2009 - 2011  (BBC Two)
Episodes:
14 (2 series)
Starring:
Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith, Jason Tompkins, Dawn French, Daniel Kaluuya, Daisy Haggard, Imelda Staunton, Daniel Ings, Mark Bonnar, Jason Watkins, Elyes Gabel
Writers:
Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith
Production:
British Broadcasting Corporation

Psychoville is a dark character comedy mystery in which five different characters are strangely linked.

The main characters are: Mr Jelly, an embittered one-handed clown who makes balloon animals with his hook; Joy, a desperately misguided midwife; Robert, a lovestruck dwarf; Mr Lomax, a blind avaricious collector; and David Sowerbutts, a serial-killer-obsessed man-child.

All five are at first seemingly unconnected, but we know they share at least one thing in common... despite having different backgrounds, different interests, and coming from different parts of the country, they have each been sent an anonymous, black-edged card marked with the words: "I know what you did..."

As the series progresses, we learn more about the background of the main characters, and discover they all spent time together at Ravenhill Hospital.

In Series 2, a locket with the letter 'K' on it becomes key. Police Detective Finney and shadowy Grace Andrews are amongst those who are desperate to get their hands on this item of jewellery.

Our Review: Psychoville was easily one of the best comedies of 2009, and the new 2011 series is packed with just as much intrigue, thrills and twists.

Pemberton and Shearsmith have returned to what they do best - dark and twisted comedy. The characters they've created are all interesting, and the storyline driving the show forward was genuinely intriguing. The scripts suck you straight into the dark and secretive world of Psychoville and, at the end of each episode, they leave you desperate for the next instalment (the weekly wait to find out what happens next is agonising).

Of course, Psychoville is not just a mystery thriller, it's most definitely a comedy too. It delivers on this count also - there's some particularly good laugh-out-loud sight gags (a scene in the second episode of Series 2 looks set to go down as a classic).

Oh, and the show looks wonderful. It benefits from some really great production design, lighting and direction.

The achievements of the ambitious fourth episode of the first series, in which the whole 30 minute episode was composed of just two takes, shouldn't be overlooked. Modern British comedy hasn't seen an episode like it before.

Fans of Psychoville certainly have lots to lap up as the creators crafted a whole series of supporting websites on top of the series. Meanwhile the Series 1 DVD is packed with bonus features.