Jason Statham

Fave film aged 12: Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels

With four-letter words and violence by the bucketload, Guy Ritchie's gangster flick had everything a 12-year-old boy could want - and it still does.

Alex Hess, The Guardian, 7th July 2020

You might think that Sacha Baron Cohen had queered the pitch for ambush television in the States, making people so wary of foreign television crews that it would be impossible to successfully pull off a spoof documentary. If you go where deranged self-regard and narcissism is the norm, however, you still stand a fighting chance. In La La Land, Marc Wootton has done just that. He plays three expatriate Brits hoping to make their mark in Hollywood, and films his encounters with various unwitting stooges who make a living by servicing the egos of the ambitious. We've seen one of the characters before - Shirley Ghostman, a camp television medium who has arrived in Los Angeles fleeing police charges in England. The logic of his back story didn't entire make sense, but it was still funny to see the brisk professionalism of the publicity agent he was consulting, as she fished helplessly through the wreckage of his recent CV trying to find an upside. Also hoping to build a career are Gary, an Essex geezer who thinks he's the next Jason Statham because everyone looks at him in the pub back home and Brendan Allen, a bearded documentary-maker. The stooges, incidentally, mostly come off with their dignity intact, quickly recognising that Wootton's characters are absolute idiots and in most cases telling them so, but with a degree of exasperation that suggests they haven't twigged that it's wind-up. The funniest moment was the long sequence in which Brendan doggedly tried to pitch an "innovative" shark documentary using underwater cameras, reacting to the tactful explanation that this had been done many times before as a failure to grasp the novelty of his suggestion: "No, no... I don't think you understand what I'm saying," he explained patiently, "we'd be underneath... you know, below where the boats are." There was strong competition for that top spot though, largely because of the detail and nimbleness of Wootton's characterisations. It's genuinely funny.

Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 28th April 2010

Anyone remember BBC3 series High Spirits With Shirley Ghostman? Back in 2005, the fake medium, played by comedian Marc Wootton, raised merry hell on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross with some extremely offensive jokes about cancer patients.

Well, Shirley's back from the dead tonight in this hilarious new comedy series which sees Wootton playing three Brits who are all trying to make their mark in H­ollywood. As well as Shirley, there are wannabe documentary maker Brendan Allen and Gary Garner, an East London taxi driver who reckons he's got what it takes to be the next Jason Statham.

Taking a massive leaf out of Borat's book, all the people Shirley, Gary and Brendan meet in Los Angeles are real and have absolutely no idea they're being set up. It makes for some fantastically cringe-worthy encounters, for instance when we watch Brendan (a cross between Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock) pitching his idea for what he thinks is a brand-new kind of shark documentary to an incredulous and increasingly exasperated producer.

And wideboy Gary somehow befriends veteran actrees Ruta Lee and blags himself studio time with A-list ­snapper Lennon, whose patience quickly wears thinner than a size-zero supermodel. Shirley, meanwhile, has actually talked his way into getting an actual publicist on board to help him escape the scandal he left behind back in the UK.

La La Land is a genius idea, brilliantly executed and we can't wait to see what this talentless trio gets up to next.

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 27th April 2010