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 Page 3

Beautiful People is enjoyable enough to make a point of watching it, especially for Olivia Colman's sublimely brilliant performance as Simon's bonkers mum.

Mark Wright, The Stage, 13th October 2008

Humour is a subjective beast. You sit watching your telly thnking something is dead funny and then find most people think it's a dud. And vice versa. So I'll continue to champion Beautiful People - last night's in-the-street musical fantasy was a hoot - even though I'm laughing alone. Is that a sign of madness? Who cares?

Keith Watson, Metro, 10th October 2008

TV Insider Review

I watched esipode 2 of Beautiful People last night and laughed quite a lot. Any show with a musical montage from Annie, Joseph and, er, another one (musicals aren't my area of expertise) has to be good.

TV Insider, 10th October 2008

I like Beautiful People, it has a really nice nostalgic sheen to it that, while not laugh out loud funny, is certainly watchable in a quirky way. Simon and best buddy Kylie are in raptures at the prospect of headlining the school's production of Joseph, and hysteria ensues as they prepare to audition. The best thing about Beautiful People is the divine Olivia Colman, who shows her range here beyond being a foil for Mitchell and Webb.

Mark Wright, The Stage, 6th October 2008

Review in The Stage

The humour is gentle rather than hysterical, but the jokes are clever, unforced and in plentiful supply. Great performances too, particularly from its young stars Luke Ward-Wilkinson as Simon and Layton Williams as Kyle, aka Kylie.

Harry Venning, The Stage, 6th October 2008

Beautiful People comes running on to the screen and licks you all over. It's a Labrador of a sitcom, so eager to please it's exhausting. It's like The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, except camp. Screamingly, thrashingly, life-threateningly camp.

Although there are many lovely moments where it seems to revive - I am afraid that it ultimately dies of camp. Such a pity! Some of the two schoolboys' dialogue is priceless (aspiring intellectuals, they pronounce 'epitome' to rhyme with 'gnome') and little Layton Williams as the lead's best friend Kyle (or as he insists on being known, Kylie) is just brilliant, a star in the making. Olivia Colman as the mother is fabulously warm. There are some killer lines (Two fashion pointers: never wear nylon, and never wear nylon bought for you by a blind person).

But as with Ugly Betty, the problem is that it tries too hard to bring a camp aesthetic overground; to deliver a mainstream version of camp when by definition camp is a secret, niche sensibility.

Hermione Eyre, The Independent, 5th October 2008

Beautiful People Review

When it wasn't trying so hard to establish itself (always difficult in a first episode) and when it wasn't trying so hard to be liked, it was actually very, very good. The scenes involving Simon's family, his friend (he only seemed to have one) and his neighbours, were delightful.

David Sharpe, Cool Blue Shed, 5th October 2008

In Simon Doonan's autobiography Beautiful People, he escaped from just such a drab English environment. Camp and outrageous, he grew up in dull old Reading in the 1950s with his entertainingly dysfunctional family, but he longed to be with the glamorous folk. Getting his wish, he ended up in Manhattan as not only the world's most celebrated window dresser, but also a witty reporter of the fashion scene.

This dramatisation had a lot going for it. It looked lovely and had some fine comic actors. In the attempt to make it relevant to our times, however, its 1950s setting, its characters and even the plotlines were changed. His batty aunt became inexplicably non-white, for example.

Do telly folk think we have no imagination or interest in other eras? Details are everything in a joke and none of these rang true. That is why it was jolly throughout, but never actually funny.

Stephen Pile, The Telegraph, 4th October 2008

Positive Blog Review

Don't look now, but I think something pretty amazing just happened. A new comedy show was broadcast, after an advertising campaign that made it look promising and - wait for it - IT WAS GOOD. Really good in fact!

Anna Lowman, TV Scoop, 3rd October 2008

As cheekily camp as Simon Doonan's recollections of his barmy family are, Jonathan Harvey's innocent adaptation looks oddly as though it should be broadcast in the middle of the afternoon.

The 13-year-old Doonan is gleefully played by Luke Ward-Wilkinson, who introduces us to his dipsomaniacal mum Debbie (Peep Show's Olivia Colman) and his camp best friend Kyle (Layton Williams).

But then that, perhaps, is the best achievement of this likeable, if light, comedy drama: it manages to make the adventures of a tender, cross-dressing teenager look like normal children's TV.

Robert Collins, The Telegraph, 3rd October 2008

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