The Cup. Copyright: Hartswood Films Ltd.

The Cup

BBC Two sitcom about football. 6 episodes (1 series) in 2008. Stars Steve Edge, Jennifer Hennessy, Tanya Franks, Dominic Coleman and others.

Press Clippings

It's been good-natured if not slap-your-sides funny series.

Metro, 25th September 2008

Undermining its mockumentary format with telegraphed jokes and sitcom cliches (this week: the hilarity of Brummie accents) The Cup pales in comparison with The Office, but still manages a few neatly hit moments.

Metro, 11th September 2008

The comic strangeness was prevalent in The Wrong Door, a sketch show that relied heavily on technical and CGI trickery. One very funny sketch featured a group of sprites escaping from a bottle and making a poor drunken fool's life that much more horrible by texting a malicious message to his girlfriend and framing him for watching hotel porn.

One young woman was dating a dinosaur, as in Tyrannosaurus Rex, who visits her parents' home and destroys everything within, including eating the family dog. A robot stomps over London asking where it left its house keys, destroying swaths of the metropolis. The show is hit and miss - Superhero Tryouts, an X Factor for wannabe superheroes, was laboured and directionless - but the writers Ben Wheatley and Jack Cheshire (who also direct and produce) have at least originated a novel and bizarre show.

Their strangest creation, and the most brilliantly maddening, is a scientist's unfortunately successful attempt to create a new life form. Somehow a malformed DNA structure means that this creature is the most irritating thing on the planet. The scientists hate it. We hate it. This creature destroys everything it touches, but only after wheedling, pleading and manipulating. "Are we there yet?" it repeats. Eventually, the guy who took the creature in drove at a post to end it all.

Tim Teeman, The Times, 29th August 2008

So ogreish are the characters that there's absolutely no point buying into them. If there are moments of heart, they're buried so deep that you basically couldn't care less about what happened to them. The main character (whose name I can't even be bothered to learn) is such a dick, that you find yourself willing ill toward him. It's not that he's a 'bit sad' or 'cares too much'... he's just... a dick. And who really wants to hang around with dicks?

mofgimmers, TV Scoop, 29th August 2008

Episode two of this fly-on-the-wall mockumentary about coaching an under-11s football team, and it's still difficult to see its point. If this is just entertainment, then its well-observed dialogue can sometimes make it feel very clever. "I can't believe you started a fight in front of the kids," one aspiring coach is told. "You don't get anything without a fight in this life," he replies in perfect soccer cliché. But there's the nagging feeling that the writers are striving towards a greater significance - unfortunately, it's unclear what that might be, beyond the truism that adults' behaviour is often more juvenile than that of their children.

Matt Warman, The Telegraph, 28th August 2008

This 'sitcom' about a dad obsessed with his son's football team was almost insultingly bad.

The series utilises a 'mockumentary' approach that owes a very heavy debt to The Office (although this series has been adapted from a Canadaian series called The Tournament). This does it no favours at all. Where The Office was realistic, understated, intelligent and subtle, The Cup is unrealistic, over the top and, to put it bluntly, stupid.

The Custard TV, 26th August 2008

The Cup borrows the fly on the wall documentary format that served The Office so well and inevitably suffers by comparison. The Cup totally lacks the necessary subtlety or deft comic touch.

What it does have, however, is invention, great characters and an uninterrupted procession of really funny jokes.

Harry Venning, The Stage, 22nd August 2008

It's a shame all the laughs weren't put together with the same degree of care - but the show still belongs in the Premier League.

Matt Bayliss, The Daily Express, 22nd August 2008

The Independent Review

It's all moderately amusing, but would be funnier if it didn't try so hard. Part of the problem is that it hasn't grasped how to use the documentary format. The script is far too ready to tell you, rather than show you, what's going on.

Robert Hanks, The Independent, 22nd August 2008

The Times Review

The prospects for The Cup do not look good: before the first episode the critics' knives were heartily slashing away at its past-it mockumentary style. Is it that bad? OK, it's not The Office (and really, the mockumentary should have died back then, in a blaze of rousing, nation-conquering glory). But The Cup has its charm. It is set, as all these things about salt-of-the-earth types are, in the North where people have common sense and are down to earth, away from us flibbertigibbets with feta cheese and soulless apartments in the South.

Tim Teeman, The Times, 22nd August 2008