British Comedy Guide

Life's Too Short. Image shows from L to R: Stephen (Stephen Merchant), Warwick (Warwick Davis), Ricky (Ricky Gervais). Copyright: BBC.

Life's Too Short

BBC Two sitcom. 9 episodes (1 series), 2011 - 2013. Stars Warwick Davis, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Keith Chegwin, Les Dennis, Shaun Williamson, Steve Brody and others.

Press Clippings

Warwick Davis: Life's Too Short could come back

The star of the Ricky Gervais comedy tells that it could return for a second series - but not before he makes his debut presenting a revival of Celebrity Squares on ITV.

Ben Dowell, Radio Times, 2nd September 2014

Sadly, it looks as though there will be no second series of Life's Too Short, but my favourite comedy of 2011 enjoyed a last hurrah, thanks to a one-hour special that addressed many of the faults, and played to the strengths, of its first run.

Gone were the gratuitous physical humiliations visited upon star Warwick Davis, along with the David Brent mannerisms bequeathed him by writers Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

Instead, Davis was given free rein to explore the comic potential of his complex, conflicted and constantly embattled character. Rosamund Hanson provided scene-stealing support as dippy secretary Cheryl.

Extra helpings of guest stars playing either unflattering or unsympathetic versions of themselves were also served up. Shaun Williamson, Keith Chegwin and Les Dennis all made a welcome return - "Three Z-list celebrities make one D-list celebrity," encouraged Davis as they embarked on their All Star roadshow - with a surprise appearance from the former Hollywood star and one-time screen Batman Val Kilmer.

With an enthusiasm that bordered upon self-flagellation, Kilmer portrayed himself as a slightly deranged fantasist and maniacal con man who raises, and then shatters, Warwick's dreams of a sequel to Willow.

Painfully poignant, beautifully played and constantly inventive, this one-hour special conclusively proved that Life's Too Short's own end was also premature.

Harry Venning, The Stage, 5th April 2013

It may not be fashionable to approve of anything with Ricky Gervais's name on it. But this Life's Too Short Special (BBC2, Saturday) - with Val Kilmer, along with Les Dennis, Keith Chegwin, and Shaun Williamson joining Warwick Davis - is a piece of genius. There's nothing Gervais hasn't done before. An obsession with disability: check. Fading slebs making tits of themselves to highlight the horrors of the fame game: check. More squirminess than a sack of snakes with the squits: check. But it's done with such a breathtaking boldness that it's impossible not to gasp with a mixture of shock'n'awe. I mean he gets Chegwin to revisit not just his drunkenness but his nakedness too!

Actually the funniest moment is when Les, Keith and Shaun are sharing a hotel bed, to save money. "Not while I'm reading [Sartre as it happens]," says Shaun, when Cheggers reaches down to say hello to little Cheggers, if you know what I'm saying.

Then Gervais chucks in the curveball of touchingness (the other sort). It shouldn't be surprising - he usually does - but it somehow catches you off-guard. Especially poignant if you've just watched Kavana on The Voice.

Sam Wollaston, The Guardian, 1st April 2013

Life's Too Short: A solid reunion

Was this show's life too short? Maybe. But if this is indeed the end it was a decent swansong for a malformed comedy.

Dan Owen, MSN TV, 31st March 2013

Actually the series finale was just a bit too long

Ricky Gervais's maligned mockumentary Life's Too Short came to a belated end with an hour-long special that started off well enough but ultimately ran out of steam.

Caroline Westbrook, Metro, 31st March 2013

Gervais & Merchant's dismal sitcom Life's Too Short returns unbidden for a one-off finale. Drab and mean-spirited, it sidelines its nominal star, Warwick Davis, in favour of the supposedly hilarious spectacle of ha-ha-has-beens Keith Chegwin, Shaun Williamson and Les Dennis making fools of themselves. It's truly desperate stuff.

The Scotsman, 30th March 2013

Shaun Williamson interview

Shaun Williamson says he'd consider taking the spoof roadshow on tour in real life. "Well it's definitely an idea. We'll see how people receive the special and take it from there. It'd be great to work with them again and to do Edinburgh would be amazing."

Howard Gorman, Comedy Chords, 30th March 2013

"I used to be a lying, conniving, selfish little shit." Yes you did, Warwick Davis. But for the purposes of this one-off valedictory special, that won't do. Because if no one cared, that would prevent Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant from tacking on another of their increasingly trite redemptive endings. But is anyone really that bothered about Life's Too Short anyway? Surely not like they were about Extras - and certainly not like they were about The Office.

As we rejoin Warwick, he's 'a changed man'. He's kind, conscientious and generally rather likeable. So when this concluding cavalcade of horrors - which includes a mendacious Val Kilmer, the further self-abasements of Les Dennis and Keith Chegwin and yet more smug, sideline rubbernecking from the show's creators - dumps Warwick in the mire, we're supposed to feel his pain. Sadly, this particular group hug hasn't been earned, so the conclusion feels as hollow and joyless as the rest of the series.

Phil Harrison, Time Out, 30th March 2013

Things look promising for Warwick Davis in this hour-long Easter special when Val Kilmer, his co-star in 1980s fantasy Willow, turns up in London to tout a possible sequel. But the main action involves our diminutive hero's attempt to resurrect the careers of Les Dennis, Keith Chegwin and Shaun Williamson ("Barry from EastEnders") via a low-rent pub roadshow. It's a cruel extended riff on the backwoods of fame and occasionally the horrible edginess of it is very funny.

David Butcher, Radio Times, 30th March 2013

Keith Chegwin interview

Keith Chegwin's back with the "All Star Funtime Trio" for a Life's Too Short special where it appears we'll be getting a 'double' helping of Cheggers...

Howard Gorman, Comedy Chords, 28th March 2013

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