A cute kitten being pecked to death by a robin on a Christmas card would have been funnier than this jumble of a play by Andy Lynch (again), here assisted by Johnny Vegas. Vegas also played Les Dawson. The plot concerned Dawson being a surprise appointment to host the BBC's top Saturday evening attraction of yesteryear, Blankety Blank. The character action was between Dawson and a disapproving BBC executive, played by Nicholas Parsons. It sounded like a bundle of unwashed insecurities being laundered in public as well as a waste of the serious talents of Nicholas Parsons, the best straight man in the business.Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 21st December 2010
Johnny Vegas used to be the ubiquitous clown of the moment but, having been promoted as the most unpredictable man in light entertainment, became slightly too unpredictable and now seems required to attempt reinvention as a character actor. The acute afternoon play he co-wrote, Chequebook and Pen, conjured up the ghost of Les Dawson, with Vegas doing an impassioned impression of the comedian in his awkward Blankety Blank days. Nicholas Parsons, who happily seems to have forgotten where self-parody lies, was the dame of the piece, playing himself as a devious game-show host rival.
Vegas's play discovered a moral of its own in the compromises Dawson was forced to make to become a prime-time star; in a bravura closing argument, he put the case that creativity had nothing to do with packaging or consumers but was all about "doing what you believe is right and doing it your way". Try telling that to Simon Cowell.Tim Adams, The Observer, 19th December 2010
Does that title ring a bell? Can you hear Les Dawson saying it as he presented the humble prizes on Blankety Blank? This play, starring Johnny Vegas, co-written by him with Andrew Lynch, imagines how the BBC might have engaged the great Les (played by Vegas) back in the 1980s, to host the prime-time show. Nicholas Parsons plays Farson, embodiment of traditional forces at the BBC, opponent of all the comic subversion Les stood for, his nemesis. It's fiction. How I wish the late Mike Craig, comedy producer, were still around to discuss it on Front Row.Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 16th December 2010