Psychoville - In The Press

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A look back at the Psychoville Halloween special.

Written by Bill Young. Tellyspotting, 31st October 2012

The 37th best TV show of 2011 according to the Radio Times.

Manna for lovers of the macabre - a shudder one minute, a cackle the next. Series two had no qualms about meting out grisly ends to its lead personae, at a rate of roughly one bloodbath per episode. At least psycho-mum Maureen got to appal us all with her terrifying Tina Turner karaoke before carking it. Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton invested even their vilest creations with flashes of pathos; new to this run were extreme fag hag Hattie, shackling a gay Iranian man in her boudoir, and beyond-anal librarian Jeremy Goode, haunted by the Silent Singer. Add to the brew a glam Imelda Staunton, Eileen Atkins at her most severe and a cameo from cult horror director John Landis, and this show left you scared and scarred.

Patrick Mulkern, Radio Times, 13th December 2011

Two bits of greatness that you could always count on to grace the small screen during Halloween have been The Simpsons Halloween Special and, last year's classic newcomer, the brilliance of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton's Psychoville Halloween Special. While The Simpsons has remained a staple of Halloween viewing for the past 20+ years, there is no joy in Psychoville any longer as after only two short seasons, the series was cut down in its prime by the BBC and there will be no Halloween special this year.

Written by Bill Young. Tellyspotting, 31st October 2011

The second series of Psychoville has just finished its run on BBC Two. It was deftly written, wonderfully performed and elegantly made. It was funny, it was engrossing, it was all-round impressive. And so its makers, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, are probably a bit hacked off that viewing figures fell away so sharply as the series went on.

Written by Andy Murray. Chortle, 17th June 2011

I'm still of the opinion that series 1 had better momentum, a clearer story, and more laughs, but series 2 was a pleasing follow-up when taken as a whole...

Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 7th June 2011

Chilling conclusion to crazed comedy.

Written by Gareth Barsby. Suite101.com, 7th June 2011

Killing most of their characters off in the final episode was ruthless but ensured this dark comedy kept you hooked.

Written by Phelim O'Neill. The Guardian, 7th June 2011

Psychoville gets its zest from bit parts, an eye for detail and an underrated hero of British comedy.

Written by Keith Watson. Metro, 7th June 2011

Psychoville, whose first series was made on such a low budget that one episode was filmed in one room in one take (having the additional benefit of being an homage to Rope), used all the extra cash thrown at it to horrifying effect in its second series finale.

Written by Josh Spero. The Arts Desk, 7th June 2011

It's the final episode of the macabre Psychoville. But does it bow out on a high? Here's our spoiler-filled review...

Written by Ryan Lambie. Den of Geek, 6th June 2011

"I hate London. It's full of weirdos," says Mr Jelly, arriving at St Pancras station with Mrs Ladybird-Face and the head of a Nazi in an icebox. The tone is set for a superb finale that delivers on every count. It's hilarious, audacious, gruesome; the villains you loathe get their comeuppance, and villains you love may live to fight another day... While David Sowerbutts finds love at his lowest ebb and Jeremy Goode succumbs to the Silent Singer, events centre round company Andrews-nanotech and its director Grace (glammed up Imelda Staunton). At last she takes possession of the series' MacGuffin - Kenchington's locket. It's hard to guess where Psychoville can go from here, but let's hope the warped brilliance of Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith will find a way.

Patrick Mulkern, Radio Times, 6th June 2011

The second and, by all accounts, final series of Psychoville draws to a close tonight. While it has a wonderfully twisting (and twisted) plot, it's in the details that this has impressed the most. Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith throw in pick'n'mix influences from Hammer horror, 50s schlock sci-fi, Lindsay Anderson's Britannia Hospital and much more. The secret of the locket is finally revealed - but who, in a show that has seemingly been intent on killing everyone off this series, will still be around to see it?

Phelim O'Neill, The Guardian, 6th June 2011

This penultimate episode of Psychoville retained the momentum of last week and increased the revelations, which made for a very satisfying half-hour. I'm still not finding series 2 as funny as series 1, but I'm glad the story has taken shape recently (after a frustrating post-premiere slump), and looks poised to end on a high next week...

Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 3rd June 2011

Unnerving comedy gets better and better.

Written by Gareth Barsby. Suite101, 2nd June 2011

Psychoville reaches its penultimate episode, and it's full of drama and plot revelations. Here's our review...

Written by Ryan Lambie. Den of Geek, 2nd June 2011

Murderous Maureen is on her last legs, but slow-witted son David has misremembered the one thing she'd like to do before she dies. It's not wine tasting in France. Mr Jelly, the misanthropic clown, has a makeover to become Mr Jolly and makes a disturbing discovery in Jolly's vault. We also learn that obsessive librarian Jeremy has an unexpected link to Ravenhill Hospital. This is perhaps the blackest instalment yet, with corpses and dismembered body parts piling up. The laughs may be diminishing, but Psychoville remains stylishly crafted and exquisitely performed. Just as in The League of Gentlemen, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton manage to invest even their vilest characters with fl ashes of pathos. And who could resist another dose (in flashback) of Eileen Atkins as tyrannical Nurse Kenchington?

Patrick Mulkern, Radio Times, 2nd June 2011

I can't think of any other comedy where the death count has been as high as it is in Psychoville - and we lose two more of the main cast in tonight's penultimate episode.

Tragically, one of them is the sublime Maureen Sowerbutts as the doctor warns her son, David: "She won't need to set the alarm for the morning." The irony of serial-killer-obsessed Maureen dying of natural causes won't be lost on her, but the second fatality tonight is altogether more shocking and, with a single word, crosses the line from black comedy to bad taste.

This can't match last week's episode for laughs, but, after the locket's mysterious contents were washed down the sink last week by ghastly make-up lady Hattie we discover why it's so valued from Jeremy, the obsessive, dog-napping librarian played by Reece Shearsmith. This comes courtesy of a flashback to Ravenhill Hospital where we also find out more about not just Nurse Kenchington but the The Secret Singer too.

Meanwhile, Mr Jelly undergoes a make-over to become Mr Jolly and has an unexpected reunion.

Jane Simon, The Daily Mirror, 2nd June 2011

I've been frustrated with Psychoville because recent episodes haven't develop the backbone of the storyline much, they just brought a few of the characters' lives to grisly ends... fortunately, episode 4 remedied many of my previous complaints and could be the catalyst for a more focused, illuminating half.

Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 27th May 2011

The fourth instalment is Psychoville at its best, with wicked humour and an intriguing mystery.

Written by Gareth Barsby. Suite 101, 26th May 2011

Expect spoilers and descriptions of gore as we explore the fourth episode of the marvellous Psychoville...

Written by Ryan Lambie. Den of Geek, 26th May 2011

Yeah, it's really good. It's excellent. Some people have an issue, however, with Reece Shearsmith's voice. We have had three separate people send us correspondence on this very topic. And then the cookdandbombd comedy podcast went on about it too. Seems odd. We like Reece Shearsmith, particularly his librarian here.

tvBite, 26th May 2011

"Three ex-Ravenhill patients dead in the same month Coincidence? I don't think so," says Hoyti Toyti shopkeeper Peter (a swishingly camp turn from Jason Watkins, who played Herrick in Being Human). He's soon on the scent of the assassin and sharing with Tealeaf (Daniel Kaluuya) a dark secret in his shop basement. So the plot tightens in this dance of the macabre, where there's dubious pleasure in watching just how far Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton will go in testing their audience's bad taste threshold. A literal bloodbath involving Maureen Sowerbutts, a Haringey social worker, a breadknife and bin liners makes for queasy but irresistible viewing. A sequence with Mr Jelly and David running amok in a home for the bewildered achieves high farce. Hattie (Pemberton in pink lippy) turning all Kathy Bates in Misery and forcing a snog on gay hubby Shahrouz should make some punters squirm, but it was her crass remarks to a rape victim that ultimately crossed the line for me. Still, full marks for audacity.

Patrick Mulkern, Radio Times, 26th May 2011

Tonight we learn that Psychoville is no place for ladies of a certain age, especially if they want to avoid being fed gruesome dishes or being attacked with scissors in this bloodthirsty tale from the dark side.

Desperate measures are called for when Jeremy Goode searches for the missing library book, while Mrs Wren is in peril from several parties. One man can save her but is he that bothered? With Steve Pemberton as David.

The Daily Express, 26th May 2011

Revelling in her fake wedded bliss, Hattie chains Sharouz to the radiator with a plate of pork sausages for company. Meanwhile, Jeremy is still being haunted by the Silent Singer, a Lynch-esque apparition of weirdness that forces him to kidnap a dog in his desperate search for the unreturned library book. Joining all the dots, and then collectively tossing said dots out of the window, are the Sowerbutts's: David pops out "to Madagascar", leaving mum Maureen home alone and unhinged. Grisly.

Nosheen Iqbal, The Guardian, 26th May 2011

The third episode continues the story, and while it may not be as funny as the last episode, it still has some good moments.

Written by Gareth Barsby. Suite101, 20th May 2011

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