The thinness of the series' premise is exposed in this week's two stories. It's always a delight listening to Rebecca Front and Kevin Eldon weaving their magic in the reader's chair, but their tales aren't particularly inspiring. Toby Davies's story of what happens when a writer of erotic thrillers finds a lost Shakespearean manuscript in his attic feels forced, while Eldon's parable about gratitude plays like a menacing Mr Men and is graced by a performance by The Thick of It's Alex Macqueen - the very personification of Mr Uppity.Gill Crawford, Radio Times, 20th November 2013
Sitting down and listening to someone read you a story. How long is it since you did that? Not since you were a kid, I'll bet. But that's what Crackanory, the belated grown-up follow-up to children's favourite Jackanory, is asking us to do.
It seems an oddly perverse choice of revival in this age of multitasking, e-readers and texting while you're eating your dinner and listening to your iPod all at the same time. Slowing right down and listening to someone else talk at you: that requires you chill that pulse rate right down.
But it's worth the effort. The opening double bill of slightly twisted short stories repaid giving them your proper attention. As Jack Dee told topical tale Bitter Tweet, a barbed attack on social media manipulation that featuring a hapless bloke called 'Dazpants80' crossing tweets with singing fringe Joaquin Blieber, it was simply impossible not to be pulled into this sharply drawn world.
True, there were some concessions to a modern audience; it wasn't just Dee sat in an armchair. There were some simple dramatised sequences - Dazpants80 finding himself a prisoner in his pub - and a few animated distractions to soften the blow of simply listening.
But for the most part, this was Dee as storyteller, delivering the lines of writer Nico Tatarowicz. It felt like a comforting throwback to a simpler age, which was rather odd, given the subject matter.
The story of a toymaker who left his happy family an unusual bequest, it had the ring of a Grimm fairy tale, a moral homily popping up to save the day at the 11th hour. At least I felt like I'd had a beginning, middle and end. Some five-season dramas don't deliver that.Keith Watson, Metro, 14th November 2013
On paper this is a bit odd. Using the format of kids' favourite Jackanory to tell grown-up stories feels like a futile exercise. In reality it scores more hits than misses. This is partly down to the choice of storytellers: Jack Dee is the perfect voice of Nico Tatarowicz's modern-morality tale about the perils of social media, featuring Sightseers star Steve Oram as a Twitter-obsessive; while Sally Phillips's twee delivery adds an edge to Toby Davies's macabre story of a toymaker made into an automaton after his death. Both writers have worked on big comedy sketch shows (That Mitchell and Webb Look, Armstrong and Miller) so each story is darkly funny and neatly crafted. Get sitting comfortably.Daivd Crawford, Radio Times, 13th November 2013