As BBC comedy ambles aimlessly around in search of a magic sitcom formula, balancing the innovative with the tepidly inoffensive, CBBC just gets on with the business of making funny shows for its young audience. The latest is Roy, set in a Dublin suburb and concerning the misadventures of a young lad who just happens to be a cartoon.
Filmed in the style of a documentary, episode one followed Roy's first week at a new school trying to integrate amongst his live action school mates.
"Academically he's unexceptional, but I think you'll find him very‚ animated," the headmaster warns Roy's teacher, who is unaware that she will be taking part in an educational experiment.
Most of the pupils are thrilled at the novelty of a classmate who can make butterflies pop out of his stomach, but others are less than impressed and Roy soon attracts the attentions of a pair of bullies. "He's a cartoon, get over it," snarls one little girl at the camera. "And not a very good one at that." He is, indeed, a very badly drawn Roy.
Roy raises serious issues about the treatment of people who are regarded as different, but the points made are skillfully integrated into the comedy and never allowed to intrude on the fun. Charming, moving, clever and very funny, Roy is a joy.Harry Venning, The Stage, 10th August 2009
Filmed as a fly-on-the-wall documentary, the delightful Roy is a spin-off from the short film Badly Drawn Roy. A mix of conventional drama and hand-drawn animation, the story revolves around Roy (voiced by Scott Graham), "Ireland's first cartoon baby".Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 5th August 2009
This is an intriguing conceptual departure for CBBC. Set in Ballyfermot in Dublin, it's a pseudo-fly-on-the-wall documentary about the O'Brien family, normal in every respect - except that youngest son Roy is a cartoon. As such, he is the object of lurid fascination from other kids, who either think he is ultra-cool or resent the attention he gets. It both parodies the language surrounding minorities and special needs, while sympathetically highlighting the plight of the "different". In this opener, Roy is on a week's trial at his new school, where he raises the hackles of a pair of bullies.The Guardian, 5th August 2009
Shot as a documentary, this is a sitcom about Roy O'Brien, an 11-year-old growing up in the Dublin suburb of Ballyfermot. What marks this series out as different? Roy is a drawn character living in a world of flesh-and-blood people. Spun off from the short film Badly Drawn Roy, which was pitched at an older age range, this is the most inventive programme you'll see all week.Scott Matthewman, The Stage, 3rd August 2009