Beautiful People. Copyright: BBC
Beautiful People

Beautiful People

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC Two
  • 2008 - 2009
  • 12 episodes (2 series)

Sitcom about the young family life of window-dresser Simon Doonan, based upon the memoirs of the fashionista of the same name. Stars Olivia Colman, Meera Syal, Aidan McArdle, Luke Ward-Wilkinson, Layton Williams and more.

Press clippings

Based on a memoir by Simon Doonan, the creative director of Barneys department store, the second series of this camp and sweary sitcom comes to an end next week. Tonight Simon (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) recounts the story behind how he won the Turner Prize. The X Factor's Dannii Minogue turns up in a sprightly comic turn and there are some lovely jokes throughout, some of which err on the far side of strict decency. Olivia Colman and Aidan McArdle play Simon's parents.

Toby Clements, The Telegraph, 11th December 2009

The Doonan family are excitedly looking forward to their first foreign holiday tonight - but when the cash dries up they only manage to get as far as their front room. Turning their house into a mini-Butlins for a fortnight of karaoke, cocktails and tanning sessions turns out to be frighteningly easy.

Amid all the usual silliness, which this week runs to Bette Midler impersonations and a snarling dog called Madonna, Simon's best friend Kylie (Layton Williams) turns in some properly starry moments. He was one of the Billys in Billy Elliot The Musical and his high kick is quite a show-stopper.

Kylie's real dad turns up unexpectedly this week, too - an uncharacteristic moment of darkness and danger amid all the froth.

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 4th December 2009

I fear that the second series of this charming comedy has been overlooked somewhat, which is a shame as it's so good. This week there's a holiday in the offing for Simon's family, but as always, it never quite seems to work out. When guff like Big Top gets commissioned, we can be thankful there's still room on TV for quality fare like this.

Mark Wright, The Stage, 4th December 2009

The glitzy comedy series based on Simon Doonan's book of the same name is proving a jolly affair. (For those who missed the previous episodes, the sitcom recounts New York-based designer Doonan's teenage memories of growing up in Reading.) Tonight's third episode hinges on the young Simon's (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) desire for a water feature at home.

The Telegraph, 27th November 2009

Fashion designer Simon Doonan (Samuel Barnett) remembers an early trip to see the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest as this slightly silly and surreal comedy drama based on Doonan's real-life memoirs continues. Along with best friend Kylie he dreams of making a success of their boyband Emale and the pair leap at the chance to see Europe's campest pop stars in the flesh. Olivia Colman is also great fun as Simon's common mother who invites the new gay neighbours round for dinner only for the visit to end when one of the pair makes a pass at Simon's father.

The Telegraph, 20th November 2009

Eurovision winner Dana International makes a guest appearance tonight, as Simon Doonan (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) and his camp best mate Kylie (Layton Williams) dream of forming a boyband to fill the void left in 90s pop by the demise of Take That. Their body-popping ambitions are given a boost by their cool music teacher Mr Carr (Tom Payne), who also turns out to be their new neighbour. Until, that is, Simon's parents invite him over for dinner.

Family life with the Doonans is served up with the usual trimmings of bad-hair days, body glitter and lashings of chicken and mushroom wine.

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 20th November 2009

Beautiful People - the Eurovision episode

Executive Producer Jon Plowman introduces Episode 2.2 of Beautiful People.

Jon Plowman, BBC Comedy, 20th November 2009

Simon's back from New York with a broken heart and off reminiscing about his childhood again. Back in the 90s, 14-year-old Simon is researching his family tree when he discovers his parents have a shocking secret. He self-harms with his mum's lip-liner to cope. It's a strange comedy, sustained entirely by bad jokes. The performances are brilliant, particularly Olivia Colman, who steals every one of her scenes, but the script is shocking. Still, Starting Together by Su Pollard doesn't see the light of day that often, so that's one good thing to come out of it.

The Guardian, 13th November 2009

If The Office made Slough look dismal then Beautiful People makes suburban Reading look similarly gloomy, especially from the viewpoint of an effeminate 13-year-old schoolboy desperate for the glitz, glamour and excitement of London. Written by Jonathan Harvey (Gimme Gimme Gimme) and based upon the childhood memoirs of Simon Doonan, creative director of Barney's department store in New York, the camp comedy drama is back for a second six-part series. Using flashbacks, narration and fantasy sequences, each episode centres upon how Simon (played by Luke Ward-Wilkinson and, in his older years, Samuel Barnett) came to own some of his most treasured possessions. In this first episode Simon recalls a school genealogy project that led him to find out that his parents never actually married.

The Telegraph, 13th November 2009

How I got my second series

To be honest we'd given up hope of a second series of Jonathan Harvey's Beautiful People so when it was finally annnounced there was much cheering. The initial run was one of the funniest, most warm-hearted programmes of 2008, and without doubt the campest.

Nick Holland, Low Culture, 13th November 2009

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