A clutch of idiotic, skint blokes who constantly fail to attract the opposite sex as they bumble through life is a sitcom staple. But setting them in ancient Rome is the well-worked twist for this bright, engaging and frequently quick-witted comedy that won best new comedy at the British Comedy Awards in 2013.
In this series two opener, Marcus (Tom Rosenthal) tries to win the heart of the girl next door, while flatmate Stylax (Joel Fry) has his heart set on a lady-magnet chariot. Slave Grumio (Ryan Sampson) is probably the biggest delight with some fabulously deadpan asides. There's a decent new role for Neil Stuke, too, as the disreputable husband of the lads' fearsome boss Flavia (Doon Mackichan). And nostalgic sports fans will have a treat with Rosenthal's dad Jim commentating on the chariot race.Ben Dowell, Radio Times, 22nd September 2014
There was an eye-rubbing, no-it-can't-be-him moment in the monstrously lame How Not To Live Your Life. Could that really be Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosh fame, reduced to a dodgy cameo in which he has to stare at a bloke's manhood in a lav and make jokes about 'that's a really good tip'?
I didn't want to believe it, I waited for the credits hoping for a monstrous piece of mistaken identity and that he hadn't been involved in this parlous state of affairs. But yes, Fielding it was.
Inexplicably, this sitcom, built around zero-charisma writer/'star' Dan Clark as Don Danbury, has reached a third series. Don is one of those characters you're supposed to love to loathe as he loafs his way through life, a kindred spirit to Neil Stuke's agoraphobic in Game On. But he's just pure loathe.Keith Watson, Metro, 9th November 2010
The ratings for this new series will not be great, let's face it - and that's only in part to having to compete with The Street. This comedy drama set in a supermarket head office's HR department wi... oh, sorry, I must have dozed off. Fay Ripley stars as the alcoholic department boss, apparently. Backed up by a cast including Holly Aird, Neil Stuke and Miranda Hart, I can only hope that the show is better than all the pre-publicity suggests.Scott Matthewman, The Stage, 13th July 2009
Fay Ripley plays a drunken, shambolic mess of a human being in this likeable if lightweight comedy-drama series.
She's Christine Frances, head of human resources at the HQ of a struggling supermarket chain, holding things together only thanks to her trusty yet savagely abused PA, Sally (played by Morven Christie) - and looking as if she's finally facing the chop when a ruthlessly ambitious management troubleshooter (Holly Aird) comes to shake the firm up.
Sally herself, meanwhile, has fallen for hunky Steven (Tom Ellis), the arrogant guy who's personal assistant to this new bigwig - only to find he and bossy-drawers have more than just a working relationship.
Ronnie Hazelbeach is a nice sort, but pretty dodgy. The exposition at the start of this new series gets you into the picture quite smartly. He (played by Jamie Foreman) shares a house with nice but really gullible Nick (Paul Bazely). Enter a third man, James (Neil Stuke), who's not nice at all and has come from the arms of Nick's true love. She's thrown him out and he's got nowhere to go. Will they let him move into their house of menopause? David and Caroline Stafford's comedy is full of such sundry quips and insights into the male mind.Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 13th July 2009
You'd have to be very brave or very foolish to tackle a remake of classic 1970s sitcom The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin. As this was written by the novel's author David Nobbs together with Men Behaving Badly creator Simon Nye, it's definitely a gamble worth taking.
It helps that Martin Clunes, who has the unenviable task of stepping into Leonard Rossiter's shoes as the downtrodden office man, looks nothing like the 70s star. Viewers who remember the original will be preoccupied with making comparisons. So what else is different?
Modernisation means that even Reggie's fantasy life must be politically correct - so no more hippo fantasies. And as his boss Chris Jackson, Neil Stuke has a the difficult job of measuring up to John Barron's masterful CJ.
What is strange is the fanciful excuses Reggie used to give each morning for why he was late now sound exactly like announcements commuters hear every day. "Wrong kind of passenger at South Norwood?" Why not?Jane Simon, The Mirror, 24th April 2009