Press Clippings

Here is a collection of the latest previews, reviews and articles related to British comedy which have been published by newspapers and blogs from around the world. Don't forget to look at our news section for the significant stories - these won't be repeated here.

This is mainly related to TV and radio. For stand-up etc see our live press page and Edinburgh Fringe press page.

Live At The Apollo

The second edition of the tenth, yes, tenth, series of Live At The Apollo was hosted by Jason Manford, who is about as safe a pair of hands as you can get on TV. And I mean that in a good way. Some comedians are good live but don't seem able to make the smoothest of trnaditions to the small screen. Manford makes comedy on TV look like a doddle.

Written by Bruce Dessau. Beyond The Joke, 28th November 2014

Babylon

Say what you like about Babylon, but after tonight's rug-pull ending, you certainly can't say it's predictable.

Written by Matthew Dennis. Cult Box, 28th November 2014

The Inbetweeners Movie

"Fans expect us to be walking disasters", Simon Bird explains. "Which we are, but not in a funny way."

Written by Alice Vincent. The Telegraph, 28th November 2014

David Mitchell talks the credit crunch, Footlights and saying fuck on BBC Radio 2.

Written by Alex Cartlidge. Varsity, 28th November 2014

The Graham Norton Show

The trailer for the new film about Paddington, the duffel-coat-wearing bear from darkest Peru with a love of marmalade sandwiches, has already irked purists who fear Michael Bond's much-loved children's book character has been "Harry Pottered".

But the film's starry cast have no such worries, and three of them - Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters and Hugh Bonneville - cosy up on Graham Norton's sofa tonight to explain why they were keen to take part and how they believe "the spirit of the books has been preserved, while embracing some of the issues of the present day". Quite how a villainous Cruella de Vil-style taxidermist who wants the bear to be stuffed and mounted fits into that description remains to be seen. There's also music from Take That, who've slimmed down to a three-piece.

Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 28th November 2014

QI

Nothing that tonight's four panellists come up with can quite beat an aside from Stephen Fry early on where he quotes the late Christopher Hitchens to the effect that "The four most overrated things in life are lobster, champagne, anal sex and picnics."

But along the way, we get other diversions: the mating rituals of the tent cobweb spider sound like they should have been included in an episode of Life Story: the male is 100 times smaller than the female and uses two "penis legs" to mate, Fry tells us.

The theme of all this is L for love, including the wonderful-sounding Puritan tradition of "bundling" betrothed couples. It also takes us from Napoleon's mistresses to Psycho to nanny goats, which are more aptly named than you would think.

David Butcher, Radio Times, 28th November 2014

Not Going Out

Lee's decrepit dad Frank (Bobby Ball) is dossing in Lucy's pristine flat (how can she afford such a wonderful place in London? What does she do for a living?) and he's drinking too much.

Not Going Out totters into potentially difficult territory as Lucy, Daisy and a highly reluctant Lee (Lee Mack) decide to stage an intervention after Frank wees on the yucca plant, to tell him of their fears he's turned into an alcoholic. There's a lot of comic unde'cutting of some difficult situations, including a group session at a rehab centre that becomes very uncomfortable.

But this is Not Going Out and not a Russell Brand treatise, so we expect tastelessness, even if in this case it feels just a bit off-key.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 28th November 2014

Citizen Khan

Life can be cruel. Take the lot of the titular Mr Khan, pouring his efforts into becoming Sparkhill's Muslim community equivalent of Sepp Blatter, yet he doesn't even get invited to a local civic reception for Prince Charles. Mr K is so put out by the snub he ignores Mrs Khan's new organic food stall at the city farm. That is, until her efforts afford him a chance to engineer an encounter with our monarch-in-waiting, meaning there's just the formidable head of the welcoming committee to circumvent.

Mark Jones, The Guardian, 28th November 2014

The new Intellectual Property Act 2014 which came into effect last month has effectively legalised the art of parody, a comedic genre which, believe it or not, has until now been classed as illegal.

Written by Wayne Beynon. The Huffington Post, 27th November 2014

The Likely Lads

Geordie sitcom The Likely Lads turns 50 next month. Ahead of the landmark, the show's creators Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais have been speaking to the Express newspaper about the series' longevity, the failed 1996 revival of the sitcom, the long-time fued between stars Rodney Bewes and James Bolam and more.

Written by Andrew Dipper. Giggle Beats, 27th November 2014

Dad's Army

Ian Lavender has revealed his "deep shock" at an omission made by the makers of the forthcoming movie. The scarf worn by Private Pike in the star-packed new production is NOT in Aston Villa colours.

The Daily Mirror, 27th November 2014

Inspired by Jonn Elledge's fantastic collection of sitcom locations, we dug out our sitcom history books to produce a definitive map of London situation comedy.

Usvsth3m, 27th November 2014

Miranda

Her debut comedy stand-up tour made almost £7 million. And although it has been a monetary success for Miranda Hart it appears not to have been a personal one. For the star yesterday revealed she did not enjoy her 49-show tour, because she gets stressed about performing on stage.

The Daily Mail, 27th November 2014

Puppy Love

I first became aware of the television programme Puppy Love in a half-dazed state while sitting on the sofa scratching my left ear with my left hind paw.

The Telegraph, 27th November 2014

"I hope the BBC doesn't turn its back on young viewers".

Written by Alex Fletcher. Digital Spy, 27th November 2014

Some Girls

One programme that outstayed its welcome almost as soon as it began was BBC3 sitcom Some Girls. Regular readers of the site will know that I've had a rocky relationship with the show since it first debuted back in 2012. Although I'd really like to see a sitcom that deals with the problems that modern teenage girls face, I've never felt that Some Girls is based in reality.

I'd even be willing to forgive it its lack of laughs and thinly-drawn characters if it had been brought to us by a first-time writer. But instead Some Girls is created by Bernadette Davis, who wrote Game On in the mid-1990s, and therefore has little knowledge of what life is like for teenagers in the 21st century.

The comic mishaps that befall our young heroines in this episode include one of them getting her hand stuck in a letter box and another believing that her sometime boyfriend had gone on witness protection.

Some Girls's saving grace was the central character of Viva (Adelayo Adedayo); a level-headed young woman who I feel was a fine example for teenage girls. But I feel that Davis has somewhat spoilt the character after she agreed to marry her dopey college dropout boyfriend. As we are now in series three, it's also getting harder and harder to believe that our quartet of female protagonists are still only eighteen.

I know that not many teenage characters on TV are actually portrayed by teenagers; but the lead actresses in Some Girls all look like they should at least be at university now rather than hanging round sixth form college. Thankfully, as the foursome are set to depart college in the near future, it looks like this will be the final series of Some Girls and I for one won't be mourning its departure.

The Custard TV, 26th November 2014

The Day Today

The Day Today is also full of useless graphics. One bar chart meant to prop up a case against the police shows units of undefined "evidence" increasing over the years.

Written by Brandon Nowalk. The AV Club, 26th November 2014

Bob Pipe was talking to me about raising money for his feature film project The Day They Came to Suck Out Our Brains!

Written by John Fleming. John Fleming's Blog, 26th November 2014

Russell Brand described schools without a library as a "disgrace", and said public libraries closures were driven by a "fundamentalist philosophy of profit", in an entertaining and enthusiastically received Reading Agency Lecture last night (Tuesday 25th November).

Written by Joshua Farrington. The Bookseller, 26th November 2014

Just A Minute

For more than 20 years Paul Merton has been keeping us entertained with his quick witted comments and slightly surreal humour. But he describes himself as having been a shy child. He accepted a Just a Minute challenge from BBC Breakfast the team. His topic - Breakfast.

BBC News, 26th November 2014

Paul Sinha's History Revision

Paul Sinha is a bright lad who's becoming well-known for his quiz show appearances. His new Radio 4 series, in which he offers his take on historical events, seems calculated to appeal to Radio Times readers: Sinha deplores people who are uninterested in anything that happened before they were born.

The first show combines two of Sinha's specialist subjects, football and great navigators, and explains why Brazilians and Argentineans can kick a ball with more skill than Brits. It's not uproariously funny. It needs a shot of the off-the-wall observation that distinguishes QI, a television programme on which, for some unaccountable reason, Sinha has never appeared.

But it's undeniably interesting, full of the kind of information that might come in handy for the next pub quiz.

David McGillivray, Radio Times, 26th November 2014

Live At The Apollo

Do the names Chris Ramsey and Doc Brown ring only the faintest of bells? Then allow me to place tonight's stand-ups for you (alongside compere Jason Manford). Ramsey you'll recognise from his role in BBC Two sitcom Hebburn, where he played aspiring journalist Jack. Doc Brown is an actor, too, and played Bradley Walsh's oppo in Law and Order: UK. (He's also the brother of novelist Zadie Smith.) That's a lot of background info because, to be honest, there are no terribly quotable gags in their routines, but Brown's comedy rap to finish the show is worth seeing.

David Butcher, Radio Times, 26th November 2014

Psychobitches

Over on Sky Arts 1, some light relief from Psychobitches, one of the best new comedies on TV last year, though given its tiny home, few people actually got to see it. It's a sketch show set in a therapist's office, in which famous (dead) women from history tell psychiatrist Rebecca Front their troubles. The first series was a knockout - Julia Davis played a wailing hybrid of Pam Ayres and Sylvia Plath; the Brontë sisters were foul-mouthed, filthy puppets obsessed with sex, and Sharon Horgan played a campy Eva Peron, who clung on to her bottles of "boobles". It was silly, and odd, and very funny.

This second series is almost as good, though it feels more like a traditional sketch show and is slightly patchier, perhaps due to the sheer number of writers (I counted 12 on the credits for the first episode of this double bill, and seven on the second). In the best sketch, Kathy Burke and Reece Shearsmith play the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret as crude and grotesque, glugging down booze as Burke repeatedly rejects her on-screen offspring with delicious cruelty. Morgana Robinson joins the cast to play a sloppy Anna Nicole Smith - hers is a masterclass in physical comedy - and there's a musical skit featuring Unity, Decca and Nancy Mitford, as imagined by Horgan, Samantha Spiro and Sophie Ellis Bexter. In a sketch the Mail has already called "hideous", Michelle Gomez has gone from Doctor Who's Missy to an even more terrifying villain, playing Thatcher as a Hannibal Lecter-style monster, incapable of love. It's at its finest when it's upsetting the establishment, and it relishes its naughtiness.

The second episode was less sharp. Perhaps, given its hyperactive pace, it works better in single doses. But I loved Horgan as Carmen Miranda - "Of course I'm on fucking drugs" - and Sheridan Smith as a mute Sleeping Beauty, whose endless sleep has an ulterior motive. And anything that gets Kathy Burke back on our screens, even for a few minutes, is well worth our attention.

Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian, 26th November 2014

Phoenix Nights

Peter Kay fans rejoiced last week as it was revealed that there would be an ominous "announcement" surrounding comedy favourite Phoenix Nights, rumoured to be a return. So in preparation for this news, we've compiled a list of our top ten favourite moments from the hit comedy.

Written by Emma Atkinson. Giggle Beats, 25th November 2014

Psychobitches

Michelle Gomez steals the first episode of Season 2, portraying a psychopathic Maggie Thatcher.

Written by Rob Smedley. Cult Box, 25th November 2014

Psychobitches

Comedy isn't easy, especially for women in a male-dominated market - but Sky Arts 1 series Psychobitches has bucked the trend by giving the fairer sex the spotlight. Now, these funny ladies are undoubtably an inspiration to other comedy performers - but who were the women who inspired them?

Written by Huw Fullerton. The Radio Times, 25th November 2014

A few of the routines will be familiar to anyone who has watched some of Richardson's recent TV work, but recontextualised and packaged as a full show, his material is endlessly rewatchable.

Written by Elliot Clarke. Giggle Beats, 25th November 2014

Psychobitches

As the title suggests, this sketch-comedy doesn't purport to offer a balanced portrayal of the historical subjects it puts in the therapist's chair. Instead, it's a rare chance to see some of our finest comic actresses freed from the shackles of realism.

In the first of a double bill, we see Kathy Burke transformed into a louche, foul-mouthed Queen, Sharon Horgan crooning angst as country singer Tammy Wynette and a breathy Morgana Robinson as Anna Nicole Smith. Fresh from playing enigmatic Missy in Doctor Who, Michelle Gomez steals the show as a clipped, impeccably coiffed Margaret Thatcher. "Love?" she sneers, when Rebecca Front's long-suffering therapist tentatively broaches the subject - "it's a fictitious concept, like heaven or peace or God."

Claire Webb, Radio Times, 25th November 2014

Dapper Laughs: On The Pull

"Look, I don't give a shit about the bullshit personal private greedy agendas of these liberal f***s who draw arbitrary lines to serve their own agendas - and that's what they've done. That's why they're not talking about Russell Brand, Doug Stanhope, Bill Burr. But Dapper Laughs - some working class shitbag from nowhere who has said a couple of pretty unfunny things - he's a target. He hasn't said anything anywhere near as 'bad' as any of that other lot. I don't care what they say, myself. I love it. But, if you look at the criteria these people have used when talking about Dapper Laughs, then these people - Brand, Stanhope, Burr - are far 'worse'. It's all bullshit."

Written by John Fleming. John Fleming's Blog, 25th November 2014

It's nothing to be bashful about if a comedian works with someone else. It is not often that comedians actually buy jokes from a production line by the metre. It is more like a sitcom writers room, with gags and topics being workshopped until something stage-worthy emerges.

Written by Bruce Dessau. Beyond the Joke, 25th November 2014

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