British Comedy Guide

Dead Boss. Image shows from L to R: Mary (Amanda Lawrence), Henry (Edward Hogg), Helen Stephens (Sharon Horgan), Governor Margaret (Jennifer Saunders), Christine (Bryony Hannah). Copyright: BBC.

Dead Boss

BBC Three sitcom. 6 episodes (1 series) in 2012. Stars Sharon Horgan, Jennifer Saunders, Bryony Hannah, Geoffrey McGivern, Tom Goodman-Hill, Lizzie Roper, Aisling Bea and others.

Press Clippings

Fox to pilot American version of Dead Boss

Fox has handed a put pilot commitment to single-camera prison comedy Dead Boss, from Warner Bros TV and Aaron Kaplan's Kapital Entertainment.

Nellie Andreeva, Deadline Hollywood, 9th September 2013

Dead Boss, series 1 finale

This show isn't terrible, but I often had the feeling that the production was doing its utmost to hide weak scripts and sign-posted jokes. The exuberant piano-based soundtrack became intolerable by Episode 4, and I wasn't a fan of how broad everything was played. It was too much of a cartoon for me, really.

Dan Owen, Dan's Media Digest, 13th July 2012

Dead Boss comes to the end of its run and it's all change at the prison. Helen is moved to a new wing, where she finds a confidante in the shape of guest star Miranda Richardson. But creepy Christine makes every effort to maintain her friendship with her former cellmate, offering a unique take on bonding over arts and crafts: "Slasher bit the head off a sparrow and we're doing potato prints with its blood." Meanwhile the murder case becomes clearer - but only enough to allow for a second series.

Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian, 11th July 2012

Tony Blackburn guest stars in Dead Boss

Tony Blackburn is set for some romance as he guest stars in tonight's comedy murder mystery Dead Boss.

The Sun, 5th July 2012

Eight weeks into her term and with her lawyer unwittingly working against her and fiancé entirely intentionally seducing her sister, Helen still labours under the misapprehension that people on the outside care about her when it's really her fellow inmates who are willing to put themselves on the line for her. Although Top Dog's newly defected but long defective posse prove to be of limited use as she resolves to fight her own cause. Some crafty sight gags and game performances (especially Jennifer Saunders in the Matt Berry role of the psychologically suspect big cheese) aside, Dead Boss is still pulling its punches a little, lacking the iron-fist-in-velvet-glove smarts of Porridge while pulling back from the sort of genuine depravity that could really mark it out. Enjoyable enough, though.

Gabriel Tate, Time Out, 28th June 2012

The murder case rumbles on, and suspicion begins to spread through Entirely Tiles as Mrs Bridges' reign of non-Nespresso terror continues. Mary uses her unlikely "very sensitive bitch-dar" to probe the lottery situation, with Henry's help. Meanwhile, behind bars, Top Dog ditches her posse after a cigarette racket throws up a menthol ("a pudding fag"), causing the bereft gang to latch on to Helen. She's using her prison time to learn about the law, mostly from reading John Grisham novels, but with Jennifer Saunders's governess otherwise occupied, things don't look too hopeful.

Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian, 27th June 2012

Interview: Dead Boss co-creator Holly Walsh

BBC3's Dead Boss sees Holly Walsh move behind the camera on a show she co-writes with Sharon Horgan. Keen to find out more about the show, Giggle Beats caught up with an exhausted Holly Walsh to find out if everything had gone according to plan...

James Harle, Giggle Beats, 25th June 2012

Confession time. I didn't review Dead Boss (BBC3) when it began last week. Here's why. I'm a big fan of Sharon Horgan, who co-wrote and stars in it. Pulling, which she also co-wrote and starred in, was fabulous, one of my comedy highlights of recent times. But this was pretty lame - and tame - in comparison. I wanted to like it, but couldn't.

So I ignored it. Perhaps it needed time to bed in (pah!), and would get into its stride in week two. I told myself I was giving it a chance by deferring judgment, when of course I was really simply bottling it.

This episode is maybe a bit better. There are some nice lines: "Mia casa, tua casa, is that German, erm, mein Kampf is your Kampf?" Horgan's character Helen tells her new prison exchange cellmate Gertie (played by Anna Crilly, whose German accent is pretty much the same as the indeterminate eastern European one she has as Magda in Lead Balloon). And some nice performances (Emma Pierson's stands out, as the dead boss's widow). But, let's be honest, it's not good - neither wonderfully anarchic nor wonderfully rude, as Pulling was. It lacks that conviction and confidence. It's old-fashioned, unadventurous and, more serious still, unfunny.

Oh God, my confession gets worse, it was a bigger bottle even than that. Sharon Horgan follows me on Twitter. I was like an excited little boy when she did, given that I don't just follow her, I practically stalk her. Now I'm like someone who's pestered her forever for a kiss, she's finally relented (out of pity), and I'm running around saying her breath stinks. Let's face it though; it does. Not literally, but her sitcom does.

I say she follows me, I'm sure she doesn't any more. Oh well. Nothing - and no one - comes between me and critical integrity ... Yeah, shush now.

Sam Wollaston, The Guardian, 21st June 2012

Good ol' Sharon Horgan. She so rarely puts a foot wrong that it's a wonder she isn't representing Great Britain in the Olympics balance beam event. Nothing changes as we reach the third episode of Dead Boss, where she continues to ring up the laughs with a performance alternates between flustered, histrionic and deadpan. Tonight, Horgan's character, Helen, is lumbered with a new cellmate as part of a prison exchange with Germany: Gertrude (Anna Crilly), 'a 46-year-old widowed cannibal'. Helen's charged with the task of going to 'show her where she can get a souvenir tattoo done - that sort of thing' by the warden. Helen can't fail unless she wants her legal aid application quashed. Sounds hackneyed. Actually, it's anything but. Very funny.

Alexi Duggins, Time Out, 21st June 2012

Helen Stephens, falsely imprisoned for murder, is forced to share her cell with a German cannibal on a prisoner-exchange. Played by the splendid Anna Crilly (of Lead Balloon), even she can't rise above the jokey German accents and weak gags in this curious misfire from Sharon Horgan.

There are good moments, just not enough. In this third episode they belong to Edward Hogg as Henry, a workmate with an unfortunate centre parting who is secretly obsessed by Helen. He can't quite keep a lid on his feelings during a prison visit, telling his beloved that her shampoo makes her "smell like the inside of a taxi".

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 21st June 2012

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