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Tracey Ullman's Show. Tracey Ullman. Copyright: BBC / Allan McKeown Presents
Tracey Ullman's Show

Tracey Ullman's Show

  • TV sketch show
  • BBC One
  • 2016 - 2017
  • 12 episodes (2 series)

BBC sketch show starring character comedian and actor Tracey Ullman. Also features Tony Gardner, Elizabeth Berrington, Daniel Lawrence Taylor, Katherine Jakeways, Samantha Spiro and more.

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Series 1, Episode 1

Tracey Ullman's Show. Tracey Ullman. Copyright: BBC / Allan McKeown Presents
Tracey Ullman's return to British screens brings with it her unique take on some extraordinary characters living in, or visiting, the busy global hub that is the UK.

Preview clips

Further details

This episode features a delinquent Dame Judi Dench, a dangerously accident-prone massage therapist and Sally Preston, the feminist MP whose election pledge to remain topless throughout her term is starting to present challenges.

There's also a foot-tapping love song to Britain's local libraries, and Angela Merkel as never seen before. With a guest star appearance from Rupert Grint.

Broadcast details

Date
Monday 11th January 2016
Time
10:45pm
Channel
BBC One
Length
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Cast
Tracey Ullman Various
Tony Gardner Ensemble Actor
Elizabeth Berrington Ensemble Actor
Daniel Lawrence Taylor Ensemble Actor
Katherine Jakeways Ensemble Actor
Samantha Spiro Ensemble Actor
Gwen Taylor Ensemble Actor
Aaron Neil Ensemble Actor
Guest cast
Fiona Bruce Self
Rupert Grint Self
Tala Gouveia Ensemble Actor
Geoffrey McGivern Ensemble Actor
Mabel McKeown Ensemble Actor
Jenna Boyd Ensemble Actor
Pippa Haywood Ensemble Actor
Dave Lamb Ensemble Actor
Cariad Lloyd Ensemble Actor
Jennie Dale Ensemble Actor
Wynne Evans Ensemble Actor
Writing team
Kevin Cecil Writer
Andy Riley Writer
Georgia Pritchett Writer
Lucy Montgomery Writer
Laurence Rickard Writer
Jeremy Dyson Script Editor
Arthur Mathews Writer
Production team
Dominic Brigstocke Director
Caroline Norris Producer
Tracey Ullman Executive Producer
Ben Farrell Executive Producer
Myfanwy Moore Executive Producer
Nigel Williams Editor
Miranda Jones Production Designer
Richard Thomas Composer
Andy Marlow Composer

Videos

Dame Judi Dench causes havoc

Tracey Ullman plays a very naughty version of national treasure - Dame Judi Dench.

Featuring: Tracey Ullman & Tony Gardner.

Massage

Tracey Ullman plays a massuese who'll stop at nothing to please her clients.

View this clip on the BBC website

Featuring: Tracey Ullman.

Press

Tracey Ullman's new sketch show, much heralded as her 30-year return from stateside exile, was fine, fine, if you wanted uncanny verisimilitude when it came to Dame Judi Dench and Angela Merkel. She has done a fine job of not being 30 years out of touch with British humour, and the Dench/"national treasure" shoplifting gag wore well, for this episode at least. But there was nothing in particular to convince us we should have missed Ullman in the way in which we might have missed the exile of, say, Paul Merton or Graeme Garden.

Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 17th January 2016

I'm too young to remember Tracey Ullman when she was a star of the British alternative comedy scene, and I only knew her name due to her role in launching The Simpsons, so I didn't share in the hype and excitement about her return to British TV. But, I knew it was supposed to be some tremendous return of a comedy genius so I watched in high hopes - hopes that were soon trashed.

It was all timid stuff indeed, though with some good impersonations thrown in, and the late slot of 10.45pm suggests that the BBC snared her in great triumph and fanfare and then saw the sorry result and quietly shifted it out of the way. Yet word is out that a second series has been commissioned already, despite the lukewarm reaction from critics. It seems the BBC have captured a big fish and are determined to get what they can from it. Whether it's good or not hardly matters.

Julie McDowall, The National (Scotland), 16th January 2016

Due to the promotional clips I watched of Tracey Ullman's Show I expected it to be a sketch show featuring the comedienne performing a number of impressions. However Ullman only impersonated three famous faces with the sketches in which she played acting Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench not feeling particularly original. I certainly didn't find Dench's secret kleptomania or Smith auditioning for sci-fi roles to be that funny and the supposed jokes from these two sketches fell flat. Conversely I felt that Ullman was in her element when portraying German Chancellor Angela Merkel who was on her way to and from a conference in Cardiff. The scenes between Ullman's Merkel and her assistant played by Samantha Spiro were the funniest moments during the half hour as the imagined conversations between the pair felt oddly realistic. In fact I would've loved to have seen a Veep-style sitcom starring Ullman as Merkel as I feel it would've been funnier than about 95% of the sketches here. Everything else Ullman did provoked little laughter from the female MP whose decision to go topless impressed the male electorate to the female beautician who almost set her massage parlour on fire. Even the sketches involving a woman who had been freed from an East Asian Prison after thirty years all featured obvious gags including one scene in which we were delivered a rather sad list of all the iconic British retailers that had shut their doors during her incarceration. Aside from the Merkel material the only other part of Ullman's show that raised more than a titter was the closing satirical song and dance number about the closure of a Welsh library. Unfortunately this finale came a little too late to change my opinion of a sketch show that had plenty of opportunity but didn't really deliver in terms of laughs. Whilst I like Ullman and many of her supporting players I won't be returning to this show again as nothing apart from the Merkel sketches really left an impression.

Matt, The Custard TV, 15th January 2016

Review: Tracey Ullman's Show

Ullman's greatest skill lies in mimicry and impersonation, so it wasn't a surprise the best moments of this series opener centred around Ullman pulling off a frankly uncanny Dame Judi Dench and Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany. The excellent makeup helped, but Ullman has one of those faces that can effortlessly morph into other people, almost without the need for fake noses and wigs. It's just a shame that, like so many modern sketch shows, the material itself was a so dull and safe.

Dan Owen, Dan's Media Digest, 13th January 2016

Tracey Ullman's Show, BBC One review

Ullman has gathered a terrific pool of writing talent.

Veronica Lee, The Arts Desk, 12th January 2016

Tracey Ullman's Show: it's not brave or funny enough

If you're a fan from before, way back then, you're probably thinking this is all marvellous and isn't it fantastic to have Our Trace back after all that time, she's a national treasure herself, even if she does now have US citizenship as well. But if you're a Tracey-Who under-45, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Another observational sketch show, with impressions: is that a good idea?

Sam Wollaston, The Guardian, 12th January 2016

TV review: Tracey Ullman's Show

The comedian returns after almost 30 years in America to deliver a sketch show that stands out by delivering mostly hits.

Alex Hardy, The Times, 12th January 2016

Ullman's enduring status is evident in her comeback show, with Samantha Spiro, Tony Gardner and Rupert Grint turning out as foils. The credits confirm the former 80s star of Three of a Kind also has the best writing and production team available. But this is not so much hit-and-miss as not-aiming-at-anything-concrete in the first place. Recurring characters, mimicry and light satire all refuse to ignite in a show that doesn't look as if its creator desperately needed to create it.

Jack Seale, The Guardian, 11th January 2016

Tracey Ullman: 'This PC stuff can be really sanitising'

As she returns with her first UK TV show in over 30 years, Tracey Ullman talks to Patrick Smith about un-PC comedy and women being in charge.

Patrick Smith, The Telegraph, 11th January 2016

Tracey Ullman's Show review

The BBC were rightly chuffed to have signed Tracey Ullman for her return to the British TV after 30 years: she's a brilliant comic actress, as evidenced in every scene of her her show, and a bona fide international TV star.

Steve Bennett, Chortle, 11th January 2016

Our Trace is on top with spot-on spoofs

Pitch-perfect impressions are a tricky business. The look and the characterisation must be just so; to nail the voice, mannerisms and identify those tics that we don't realise are funny until someone shows us they are. For magic, you also need a razor-sharp twist on a character that's both surprising but moreish, televisually speaking. Tracey Ullman succeeded in all of the above in this first episode.

Sally Newall, The Independent, 11th January 2016

Preview: Tracey Ullman's Show

After thirty years away from British television, Tracey Ullman returns to the UK with a brand new sketch show, Tracey Ullman's Show. How do the BBC show their gratitude? By burying her show at 10:45pm on a Monday night on BBC One.

Elliot Gonzalez, I Talk Telly, 10th January 2016

TV Review: Tracey Ullman's Show

It's easy to say this is hit and miss but it is more complex than that. In fact if you've got a broad, tolerant sense of humour this is much more hit than miss.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 6th January 2016

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