Personal Affairs doesn't seem to know what it's supposed to be. Combining elements of comedy, mystery and romance, but without ever being funny, intriguing or romantic, Personal Affairs' heroines are five go-getting gals working as personal assistants in a high-powered City brokers firm.
Episode one introduced itself with a flurry of Ally McBeal-style fantasy sequences, but these quickly and inexplicably petered out once the main characters were established.
Storylines comprising varying degrees of idiocy followed soon after, the most prominent of which was the disappearance of ultra efficient PA Grace which, in my opinion, was a very smart move on Grace's part.
Personal Affairs clearly imagines itself to be frothy fun in the spirit of Sex and the City, but it produces all the effervescence of an autopsy. The acting is pantomime posturing, the script is a wit-free zone and the lead characters chronically underwritten. Even the ever-reliable Mark Benton looks bad in it.Harry Venning, The Stage, 30th June 2009
"The three things a girl needs in life are two litres of water a day, a black credit card and healthy, regular, meaningless sex," says the predatory Nicole in the third episode of the poor girl's answer to Sex and the City. Maybe, but there's not much evidence of rehydrating or shopping as the girls continue to search for Grace... in between re-applying their lipstick and having sex in the loos, that is. When even a potentially poignant scene is dismissed like a bad one-night stand, you know this series is for those who like their drama very shallow indeed.Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 30th June 2009
Let's not waste any time, let's shoot a poisoned arrow straight through the heart of Personal Affairs, BBC3's supposed comic drama about a clutch of secretaries in a City of London bank. It is inexplicably bad.Alison Graham, Radio Times, 26th June 2009
Personal Affairs is another example of the sloppy, trashy TV well suited to BBC3. Whilst not pretending to be a groundbreaking offering, the acting is shambolic and the characters unlikable. Although targeted at a primarily female audience there seems to be little scope for development or reason to sustain the viewer's interest apart from the bitchy backstabbing and attractive cast who seem to have spontaneous shameless sex throughout - which is no doubt enjoyable for those easily pleased.Matt Robinson, Broadcast, 26th June 2009
A soap opera that's shrunk in the wash is the best way I can think of describing over-styled new drama, Personal Affairs.Emma Cave, Brighton Argus, 25th June 2009
There's a fine line between the surreal and the utterly ridiculous. Unfortunately, in striving for the former, BBC Three's new comedy drama Personal Affairs is knee deep in the latter and sinking fast.M Brent, TV Scoop, 24th June 2009
Personal Affairs - a bit of chick-lit bubblegum for BBC3 about four PAs in a city bank - isn't abashed about its influences. One of the characters does a Carrie twirl on coming out of the Subway, sorry, Tube station, and they even have the pert little musical stings from Desperate Housewives to remind you that they have their tongue in their cheeks. You'd need a bigger tongue and a much more cheek to get away with this, though. There's a lot of voguish, swooshing montages of the city in the breaks between scenes and Barbie-doll characterisation that gives you a fame-obsessed scouser, a porcelain organisation queen, a sex-hungry vamp and an Essex girl with dreams of jumping the fence from Secretarial to Executive. Last week's opener included several fantasy sequences, in which the various male executives saw their assembled PAs as a harem of dominatrixes or a rank of biddable Fifties stenographers.
Then the fantasy sequences faded away and it became clear that the whole thing is a kind of delirium, as unembarrassed about the ludicrous implausibility of its plotting as it is about the models it aspires to. As the sub-plots mounted - abduction, bank heist, enigmatic stalkers - it dawned on you that it was Enid Blyton with added shagging, a feisty all-girl gang who only break off from mystery solving to have a quick knee-trembler with the lift-repair man or disappear into a stationery cupboard with one of the less repellent bankers. It's terrible, but every now and then it glints oddly in the light in a way that makes it hard to write it off entirely. What are we to make, for example, of the posh lesbian with the Marie Antoinette pompadour and the taste for classical tags? I can't bear to watch another episode to work it out, but if you have suggestions I'd be grateful to receive them.Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 24th June 2009
Oddly we missed this new BBC3 comedy drama off our list last week, but we're getting with the programme for episode 2. It's all a bit odd, with a sometimes outrageous line in comedy in-between this glamourous group of PAs attempting to solve the disappearance of one of their number. The cast are pretty (and on the whole very good), but there's a sense that this wants to be Green Wing when it grows up, but just isn't in the same league. Worth a look, though.Mark Wright, The Stage, 22nd June 2009
Personal Affairs put me in mind of Superman. Not because it had superheroic powers, far from it, but because it had the whole 'is it a bird, is it a plane' thing going on. As in 'is it a comedy, is it a thriller, is it a drama?' The short answer is that this London-based spin on Sex And The City is a bit of a shambles. Someone should have told writer Gabbie Asher that everyone having sex in lifts and cupboards doesn't make you edgy and modern, it just makes you look a bit desperate.
As ludicrous plot contrivance piled upon contrivance - it's all to do with a bunch of put-upon PAs and their struggles with men/jobs - the relentless man-hating (sample line: 'you're a man, your infidelity Occupation, BBC1 was inevitable') bored my rocks off.Keith Watson, Metro, 17th June 2009