Twenty Twelve. Image shows from L to R: Siobhan Sharpe (Jessica Hynes), Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville). Copyright: BBC
Twenty Twelve

Twenty Twelve

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC Two / BBC Four
  • 2011 - 2012
  • 13 episodes (2 series)

Mockumentary about the team organising the London Olympics. Stars Hugh Bonneville, Jessica Hynes and Olivia Colman. Also features Amelia Bullmore, Karl Theobald, Vincent Franklin, Morven Christie, Samuel Barnett and more.

  • JustWatch Streaming rank this week: 2,546

Press clippings Page 10

Is it just me or does Head of Brand Siobhan Sharpe (Jessica Hynes) remind you of Natasha from The Apprentice?

I'm not quite sure if it's her sideways hairdo or that utter blankness behind the eyes as though her brain and her mouth aren't quite hooked up.

Either way, she's my favourite character in this comedy of cock-ups and her quest to find a "sonic brand" for the Olympics this week is another classic moment for her.

But the really big drama comes from the discovery of some ancient bones under the planned site. Or, in the words of narrator David Tennant: "The Aquatic Centre has suddenly gone from being this week's good news story to a mass grave..."

Personally, if I were Head of Deliverance Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) I'd be more concerned that my Chief Construction Engineer is actually Mr Masood the postman from EastEnders.

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 2nd August 2011

Finally on real TV, and one of those things whose slow-burn brilliance for once merits repeated repeats (though why the BBC earlier this year hid it away on BBC4 at something like midnight is still a mystery; doesn't it know when it's got Office-standard comedy?) is Twenty Twelve, John Morton's pre-Olympic spoof mockumentary which opened on BBC2 with a typically splendidly bright episode about a clock. An Olympic clock, of course. The proud chippy young northern artist won't explain quite how it works - "it's not snarking complicated". Except he doesn't say snarking, and it is in fact stupidly complicated. It's up to the fine Hugh Bonneville, head of "deliverance" for 2012, and Jessica Haynes as his memorable gobbledespeak PR to fail to work out how it works. "Look, does it count backwards in numbers or in time?" inquires anxious hapless Hugh of her. "Yeah, sure, OK. Well, either. I mean, both. Sensational!" Slowly, you realise there is a horological car-crash ahead. Every episode here is a subtle gem, getting way too close for comfort on the excruciations of political correctness, our modern failure to organise a cup of tea without a flowchart and the impossibility of getting athletes to say anything interesting, ever. It's on at a normal time now and you've no excuse for missing it. I'm going to record every one and play it as balm throughout the horrors that will be our real 2012.

Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 24th July 2011

Twenty Twelve isn't as funny as the real Olympics

Twenty Twelve is an Olympics satire without any real bite, despite starring starring the likes of Hugh Bonneville and having a gift of a subject at its core.

Rachel Tarley, Metro, 20th July 2011

The BBC4 comedy makes the move to BBC2. There will come a time soon, after the cost is tallied and the results examined, when the 2012 London Olympics will be no laughing matter. Until then, it's fair game. Writer-director John Morton previously helmed the great People Like Us, and here the tone is similar and the standard just as high. Set in the Olympic Delivery Committee, complete with dreadful logo, we meet the excellent cast - Hugh Bonneville, Olivia Coleman, Jessica Hynes, Vincent Franklin - as they prepare to relaunch their website. A terrific start.

Phelim O'Neill, The Guardian, 19th July 2011

Previously shown on BBC Four, this is a spoof documentary series about the lives of the people responsible for making the London 2012 Olympics happen. Starring Peep Show's Olivia Colman and Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville, it's a gentle satire of office life, without the savagery of The Thick of It or the cringing realism of The Office. In this opening episode, the team come up with ways to celebrate the "1,000 days to go" milestone.

Tom Chivers, The Telegraph, 18th July 2011

After a shaky start, Twenty Twelve developed over its six episodes into a thoroughbred example of that old comedy nag, the mockumentary. Last week's closing episode was case in point - correctly confident in a commission for a second series, it tied up none of its story lines with "734 days to go" and instead delivered a masterclass in comedy, both technical- and character-driven.

Ian's nemesis here was Tony, an embittered old film-maker determined to scupper the equestrian events planned for Greenwich Park. Tony was beautifully played by Tim McInnerny, but the pleasure, as ever, was the sleight of hand on display: the razor-sharp editing, the blink-and-you'll-miss-it sight gags (Tony thumbing through a script entitled "Nail Me To My Car"), the verbose narration. Let's hope Lord Coe can produce something half as entertaining next summer.

Mike Higgins, The Independent, 24th April 2011

Twenty Twelve - A success of olympic proportions

Twenty Twelve is the first new British sitcom of 2011 that has made me laugh consistently each week, and has me genuinely excited for every new episode.

Martin Holmes, Hippest Kids In Town Blog, 21st April 2011

As for last night Sally (Olivia Colman), personal assistant to Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville), head of deliverance at the Olympic Deliverance Commission in the always amusing and sporadically very funny Twenty Twelve, I yearned for the happy ending that she herself seemed to yearn for, a meaningful clinch with her boss. Alas, the final episode didn't yield the romantic encounter it had promised, despite Sally continuing to show much more devotion to Ian than he got at home from his needy, nagging, pixellated wife.

It's hard to think of a spoof documentary that has been more fortuitously timed than Twenty Twelve. The first episode poked fun at the Olympic countdown clock, and within less than a day the real clock had malfunctioned. Since then, there's been no end of argy-bargy concerning the future use of the Olympic stadium, with the decision to hand it to West Ham United robustly challenged by Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient. Oh, and marathon man David Bedford has resigned, citing general ineptitude. So it has taken only a very small leap of the imagination into the fictional world of the ODC, whose head of sustainability (Amelia Bullmore) was last night confronted by a man from the London Wildlife Stag Beetle Outreach Project, worried that clearing an area of tree stumps would wreak devastation among his beloved beetles.

Similarly outraged was Tony Ward (Tim McInnerny), a volatile film-maker aghast at the deployment of Greenwich Park for the equestrian events, and the probable daily invasion of "20,000 pubescent girls from second-rate public schools in Surrey with dreadful aspirational mothers". To demonstrate his opposition, Ward had a large pile of horse manure dumped outside the ODC offices, which Fletcher agreed to deal with to "keep it from Seb".

I don't think that's another example of art and life colliding, but it easily could be. Indeed, Ward and Roberts finally came face to face in the Today programme studio, where they were asked a succinct question by James Naughtie, just about the only truly unlikely turn of events in the entire half-hour.

Brian Viner, The Independent, 19th April 2011

Someone's dumped manure outside the offices of the Olympic Deliverance Commission and Ian has fallen out with his wife. Everyone continues to be thoughtlessly positive despite the setbacksand Siobhan calls another meeting. Meanwhile, Tim McInnerny plays a Greenwich resident opposing the use of the park as the Olympic equestrian venue. He's a former film director working on a treatment called Nail Me to My Car. And a brief look on Ian's face this week suggests he may finally have noticed Sally's blindinglyobvious affection for him. All just wonderfully, superbly done.

Julia Raeside, The Guardian, 18th April 2011

A pile of horse manure has been deposited overnight outside the ODC HQ in Canary Wharf. A similar treat awaits Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) outside his suburban home. It's the opening salvo from a separatist movement incensed at proposals to hold Olympic equestrian events in Greenwich Park. Their figurehead (and possibly only member) is Tony Ward - an obnoxious, potty-mouthed nimby played by Tim McInnerny, who gives this spluttering series the lift it needs. As Twenty Twelve reaches the finish line, most of the ODC bods are preoccupied with preserving tree stumps for stag beetles on the Olympic site. Ian's marital discord worsens ("I'm not really sure what there is to say about a 48-hour stony silence") and his vituperative wife makes a pixelated appearance at the office. Plus, there's a little treat for fans of Radio 4's Today programme.

Patrick Mulkern, Radio Times, 18th April 2011

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