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.

Simon Pegg has fuelled speculation that he has a role in Star Wars Episode VII.

Written by Hugh Armitage. Digital Spy, 30th July 2014

His Master's Voice

"There's no great satire going on," says Rob Brydon, who expertly voices both characters in His Master's Voice. "But it was done with aplomb. I suppose in that time somebody being cheeky to authority was very appealing."

Written by Jasper Rees. The Telegraph, 30th July 2014

The Alternative Comedy Experience

Stewart Lee's Alternative Comedy Experience offers 25 minutes of understated joy over on Comedy Central. Now three episodes into its second series, it's a grottier, grimier Live At The Apollo, without the necessary blockbuster blandness of John Bishop or Michael McIntyre.

Lee talks to comedians about their comedy - more interesting than it sounds, because of the calibre of people involved - which is then interspersed with short excerpts from stand-up sets, filmed at Edinburgh's tiny pub-like venue The Stand, giving it a brilliantly raucous, ramshackle feel.

Tuesday's episode saw Susan Calman, Josie Long, Kevin Eldon and David O'Doherty performing, with O'Doherty - a particular delight. If you've ever wondered how someone can do witty nostalgia about long-dead technology without sounding like a Buzzfeed list, then track O'Doherty's set down as a matter of urgency.

Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian, 30th July 2014

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy

I remember watching the first series, and how I felt after, but this time around I enjoyed it a lot more.

Written by Elliot Gonzalez. I Talk Telly, 30th July 2014

Little Lifetimes By Jenny Eclair

A middle-aged woman is flying to Venice with her husband when their plane hits terrible turbulence. While he clutches her hand in silence she uses these 13 minutes for an interior monologue on his years of adultery.

Written by Jenny Eclair, this is an exquisitely crafted piece of work, where every simile, every quip, every moment of self-analysis is an orgasmic explosion of language. Lesley Manville sounds like she has so much fun voicing this. I know I did listening to it.

Jane Anderson, Radio Times, 30th July 2014

The Alternative Comedy Experience

A refreshing comedy experience where women can stand up and be counted.

Written by Ellen E. Jones. The Independent, 30th July 2014

The Mimic

It may occupy the downbeat end of the spectrum, but when The Mimic flies it really soars and this is a particularly lovely episode.

Inspired by new girlfriend Harriet to push himself out of his rut, under-achieving impressionist Martin Hurdle (Terry Mynott) signs up with a new agent.

Turns out this guy already has another impressionist on his books which results in a mimic-off between Martin and his competition (guest star John Thomson).

As for that new girlfriend, Martin's mate Jean (Jo Hartley) can't hide her jealousy at Harriet muscling in on her best friend, even if she was the one who set them up in the first place.

And Jean's ex-boyfriend Neil (Neil Maskell) is trying to get his life in order by seeing a psychotherapist.

Her prescribed treatment delivers pure comedy gold.

Jane Simon, The Daily Mirror, 30th July 2014

The Mimic

Martin's got a new job and his 40th birthday is approaching. New girlfriend Harriet starts to rub Jean up the wrong way with the preparations, and it feels like someone is a bit jealous. Particularly as Harriet has set Martin up a meeting with a new agent, too. Soon he's locking horns with the leathery Nigel Lord (a marvellous cameo from John Thomson) the agency's other mimic who's keen to size Martin up. Meanwhile, Neil starts seeing a psychoanalyst about his paranoia.

Ben Arnold, The Guardian, 30th July 2014

In ITV's Secrets From The Clink next month he looks into crimes his Bristol ancestors committed in the Victorian era and the punishments they received.

Written by Peter Dyke and Katie Begley. The Daily Star, 29th July 2014

British performer and host considered a threat by government for 'undermining the royal institution' with jokes about prince.

Written by Kate Hodal. The Guardian, 29th July 2014

Mr. Bean

Don't be surprised - our friends from abroad are bang on the money. And here are five reasons why.

Written by Josh Warwick. The Daily Telegraph, 29th July 2014

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy

In the new series I've been concentrating a bit more on letting other people play the characters - I mainly just play the coffee shop worker, who's basically a fictionalised version of me.

Written by Francesca Steele. Metro, 29th July 2014

Mr. Bean

Mr Bean beats Churchill, Diana and Charlie Chaplin in global survey of British greats while Britons emerge as polite and good humoured - at least when sober.

Written by John Bingham. The Telegraph, 29th July 2014

The Alternative Comedy Experience

What does it take to get up in front of a crowd of strangers and try to make them laugh? Getting over "the fear" is one of the toughest parts of being a stand-up, but this line-up all manage it with aplomb. From Susan Calman's sparkly enthusiasm to Josie Long's aw-gosh awkwardness to Kevin Eldon's utter mania, each has his or her own coping technique.

The material is brilliant, but so too are Stewart Lee's backstage interviews. Unguarded and perceptive, they show how hard it is to make comedy look effortless. Keep watching through the credits for some insight into whether Dutch courage or a full roast dinner is better at steadying the nerves.

Jonathan Holmes, Radio Times, 29th July 2014

Virtually Famous

The panel show turned out to be a mix of Celebrity Juice and You've Been Framed and it was very popular, with #VirtuallyFamous trending in the UK, but what made it so good?

Written by Rachel MacGregor. Metro, 28th July 2014

Last Tango In Halifax

Sherlock alum Rupert Graves has joined the cast of BBC One's Last Tango In Halifax.

TV Wise, 28th July 2014

David Walliams jokes he 'won't be Simon Cowell's favourite girl on X Factor any more'.

Written by Danny Walker. The Mirror, 28th July 2014

Friday Night Dinner

It is hard to single out any other stand out actors in this programme because they are all undeniably outstanding.

Written by Becca Moody. Moody Comedy, 28th July 2014

John Shuttleworth's Lounge Music

Sean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down the comedian's local Spar in Louth, Lincolnshire, for milk, pasties - and a heart-to-heart about the future of Sheffield's most versatile singer-songwriter.

Written by Sean O'Grady. The Independent, 28th July 2014

Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones today announced the launch of House of Tomorrow, a new production house.

Endemol, 28th July 2014

Still Game

Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, famous for their Jack and Victor characters in Still Game, crashed an Insane Wrestling match this evening in a surprise ring invasion.

Written by Paul English. The Daily Record, 28th July 2014

Mrs. Brown's Boys D'Movie

Halfway through Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie, after a joke about someone being 'as useless as a knitted condom', but before they got stuck into ridiculing blind people and Parkinson's disease, it was painfully clear why this new film has been described as relentlessly vulgar, utterly devoid of any cinematic qualities, an abattoir that slaughters wit, a tragedy of a comedy. And those are the good reviews.

Written by Jan Moir. The Daily Mail, 28th July 2014

Johnny Vegas paid tribute to his old English teacher after receiving an honorary doctorate in the subject from Edge Hill University.

Written by Rob Pattinson. Liverpool Echo, 28th July 2014

The Mimic

Maybe we're not supposed to really watch this show expecting real and lasting change, just a chance to savour all the performances and Terry Mynott's vocals.

Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 27th July 2014

People Just Do Nothing

The mockumentary about the absolute idiots who run a London pirate radio station gains a harder edge this week, as we go deeper into MC Grindah's astonishingly poor parenting. It's little Angel's fifth birthday and so, while she and mum Michelle are out with the girl's suspiciously similar-looking "Uncle" Decoy, Grindah organises the party. Local entrepreneur Chabuddy G offers a shipment of his money-spinning "Polish Vodka", so called because the key ingredient is window polish: "We had a few teething problems... people losing their teeth and that."

Amid the crude but very funny gags, little Angel's party is bleak - something the show boldly doesn't play entirely for laughs.

Jack Seale, The Radio Times, 27th July 2014

Monty Python Live (Mostly)

The Monty Python team reportedly earned more than £2million each from their recent stage reunion Terry Gilliam has withdrawn his damning assessment of their comeback.

The Express, 26th July 2014

OtherwOrld

This is set on an Earth where a lovably evil alien like the one that bursts out of John Hurt's chest in Alien introduces a series of comedy sketches: one involving a reluctant couple of pandas in a zoo who can't get it together because the male is a Scottish drunk and the female has the hots for her keeper; another, a spoof trailer for a pastiche of Legally Blonde, where the deceptively dumb female who wants to go to Harvard Law School is played by a blow-up doll. God, they really are obsessed with sex, are they not, the kids of today? I blame Tinder.

James Delingpole, The Spectator, 26th July 2014

Flat TV

... the other team to watch are the hugely engaging Tom Rosenthal and Naz Osmanoglu. Shame about the title -- Flat TV -- which would only work if people actually used the phrase 'Flat TV', rather than 'Flat Screen TV'. But that quibble apart, this series has legs. The situation may be hackneyed -- hopeless male flatmates yearning to get off with the much sassier girls in the flat next door -- but it works because the chemistry is great, the lines are funny and the set-up quirkily digressive and post-modern.

The premise is that the boys inhabit a universe where their real lives collide with a TV fantasy world on their in-house channel Flat TV. So, when they're trying to decide which note to pin on the girls' door, their respective efforts are judged by an X-Factor-style panel (with Rosenthal doing a bravura Simon Cowell). It ended disastrously (in a good way) with the boys smashing to smithereens a live lobster in front of the deeply unimpressed girls (one of them an ardent vegetarian who can't eat anything 'with a face'), as part of a misguided attempt to demonstrate a theory one of them read on the internet that lobsters are immortal.

James Delingpole, The Spectator, 26th July 2014

In Deep

... In Deep, written by Tom Joseph and Thomas Eccleshare, whose MacGuffin comprised a message concealed in a tampon in the intimate parts of a female corpse. What redeemed it, though, was its unpredictability and crazy energy as it told the story of two hopeless inner-city policemen -- Ashley Walters and Adam Deacon -- yearning for excitement in their routine lives and suddenly (à la The Wrong Mans) getting far, far too much of it.

It ended on a cliffhanger with our two heroes bound in gaffer tape, about to be murdered by a crazed homosexual serial killer. That's the way to do your showreels: leave commissioning editors gagging to know what happens next.

James Delingpole, The Spectator, 26th July 2014

Vodka Diaries

There was one involving vibrators that started quite well: just a nice bit of visual comedy business in which one girl went to the communal TV remote to nick the batteries for her sex toy, only to discover to her disgust that they'd already been pinched for the same purpose by another female flatmate.

But then, unfortunately, it continued in that vein and I realised that smut was all it had to offer: endless filth by gobby girls banging on in different accents about vaginas. Presumably the writer thought she was being edgy or refreshingly frank or confrontational or daring, but actually it was just crass. This can be a problem, I think, with female comedy. When it's not about neurotic self-hatred it's about trying to outgross the boys with results that repel rather than amuse.

James Delingpole, The Spectator, 26th July 2014

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