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: 2,545

Press clippings Page 4

Fact or fiction: Twenty Twelve or 2012?

The Olympics are just one cock-up after the next. But are we in sitcom territory yet?

Alex Hern, The New Statesman, 19th July 2012

Twenty Twelve Olympic chaos continued in timely manner

The latest episode of Olympic comedy Twenty Twelve saw events take a bitingly funny turn, both chaotic and - given the recent headlines over security issues - oddly prescient.

Caroline Westbrook, Metro, 18th July 2012

Twenty Twelve exploited the potency of deferred pleasure last night with the return of Sally, Ian's haplessly lovelorn PA, recruited by the perky Daniel after he was headhunted for Lord Coe's team. Her arrival in Ian's hospital room, in the midst of a cloud of self-deprecation and apology, was wonderfully touching. This was partly down to Olivia Colman, who can do more by lowering her gaze than many actors can do with their entire body. But it was also to the credit of John Morton's script, which sits very sharp satire on a foundation of beautifully understated character studies. Without the latter the former might get a bit thin. But with them it is irresistible. He can write a punchline too, one of which might serve as a useful slogan for the Home Office team currently dealing with security: "If we get this wrong we're in danger of running out of feet to shoot ourselves in."

Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 18th July 2012

If the real Olympic Games are a fraction as entertaining as the fictional fly-on-the-wall comedy series Twenty Twelve (BBC2, 10pm) then we're in for a real treat.

Like so many brilliant programmes this wonderfully scripted and acted show emerged unheralded in the BBC backwaters and gradually seeped into our conscience.

Tonight a creative PR spin is put on Ian Fletcher's predicament.

The Olympics' Head of Deliverance was shot in the foot by a starting pistol last week.

Now the injury is described as "a totally routine accident."

There's another crisis looming as Diversity Day and Inclusivity Day appear to be on a collision course. And Ian's irritating PA finds a better job - working for Seb Coe.

Despite its hilariously comic themes, this show has a very real feel to it, which is what makes it so uncomfortable, yet enjoyable, to watch.

Mike Ward, Daily Star, 17th July 2012

No one was surprised when a member of the Olympic Deliverance Committee was shot in the foot last week. After all, they do it to themselves all the time. But this was an actual bullet from a real gun. As you would expect. the incident is smeared in a thick gloss of PR, when it's described as "a totally routine accident".

Meanwhile, bluff Nick "I can't help being from Yorkshire" Jowett takes command as everyone discusses Inclusivity Day. Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson makes a game cameo, Danny Boyle wants more nurses for the opening ceremony, Ian's PA is stolen by Sebastian Coe, though his replacement hits the ground running, and there's an excruciating tree planting ceremony. Hilarious.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 17th July 2012

Audio: Twenty Twelve 'is art imitating life'

A bus carrying an important delegation to the London Olympic Park was badly delayed because the bus driver didn't know his way around the capital. Sound familiar? It's not the news story but the plot of episode two of the BBC comedy Twenty Twelve.

But just how close to the truth is the Olympic spoof?

Jon Plowman, the executive producer of the series, told The World At One's Martha Kearney that it was a case of art imitating life.

"I think what's happened is they can't work out what disasters to have over there and so they're looking to our show to work out what should go wrong next," he explained.

Martha Kearney, BBC News, 17th July 2012

More quick-fire comedy from the incompetent members of the Olympic Deliverance Commission. And with ODC head Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) in hospital after being shot in the foot with a starting pistol, there's evenmore chaos than usual. Not least when it emerges that Lord Coe has poached Fletcher's PA Daniel (Samuel Barnett) with just three weeks to go before the Opening Ceremony. A replacement is quickly found - a welcome return to the series for Olivia Colman as obsessively devoted Sally.

Gerard O'Donovan, The Telegraph, 16th July 2012

As the Olympics loom in real life, so they do in this short third series about the fictional - but it's a close call - "deliverance" group behind the Games in Twenty Twelve, still the finest comedy this year. This week we're mired in meetings of the "catastrophisation committee". The straight-faced delivery of such too-believable abominations is one of the joys: those offscreen must have their fists in their mouths. Only two things scare me: when the actual Olympics are over, so will this be, which leaves in me the same conflicting emotions as someone desperately wanting to be rid of a massive toothache but knowing they'll miss the fun drugs. And the fact that writer John Morton is becoming - as real and fictional universes curve faster together - ever spookily, supernaturally more prescient.

In the opener to this series there's a desperate attempt to "re-brand" the problems everyone expects with transport. Not to solve the problems, of course, but to call them something else. There are too-late-in-the-day panics about security, when they've had five years to get it right. There is much hustling for post-Games power over both "sustainability" and "legacy", when it's quite clear no one quite gets the difference. In real life it was even worse; just read last week's papers. But Morton and co made this a while ago, and if he is a djinn and a seer, he's also a psychopomp: one of those ancient spirits whose job is to lead us benignly into hell.

Characters get ever better, and we'll miss them. Logistics manager Graham Hitchins somehow grows ever more gauche and unknowing with every episode. As the team argue over special lanes for VIPs, and special special lanes for Americans, he deadpans: "Yeah, but what happens if you want to have some sort of... baby, or heart attack."

Towering over all, technically, has been a masterful Hugh Bonneville as Ian, a very modern doomed English Everyman, surrounded by fools and too polite to say so. But main memories will be of Jessica Hynes as grotesque "head of branding" Siobhan Sharpe; apparently London PR people now regularly quote her imbecilities ("It's not arugula science, guys!"), some of them maybe even ironically. Though I don't know whether they'll stick with this week's "If we get bandwidth on this, you've got maple syrup on your waffle from the get-go: what's not to understand, guys?" A quiet aside from Nick, the refreshing Yorkshireman, dry as a stone dyke: "Well, you, basically." Terrific ensemble, and I'd put up with more of the Games toothache for more of this. Almost.

Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 15th July 2012

Comedy is all about timing, and so - with the Olympics a matter of weeks away - here come the final three episodes of John Morton's strangely underloved Twenty Twelve, a chance for the men and women of the Olympic Deliverance Commission to get ahead of the game, or, as head of deliverance Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) deadpans, "ahead of the Games".

It is 8 o'clock on Monday morning at the start of another busy week ("32 Days to Go") and our crack team has been assembled for a breakfast meeting. On the agenda, the post-Games plan for the stadium, security, and public transport. But first there are the pastry options (muffins, croissants, "those Portuguese custard tart things, I'm not sure what they're called ...") and, once that's settled, the endless order for "double-decaf skinny soy macchiatos".

The long-suffering Fletcher sits through it all. Perhaps he knows, as we do, that when the meeting does get under way, the air will be heated with words only because that's what people are supposed to do in meetings. "I should say," offers head of legacy Fi Healey, "that in sustainability terms we've always had the stadium down very clearly as a legacy commitment first rather than a sustainability issue second." Eh?

With its "catastrophisation feedback", "pre-conversationals" and "preliminals" gobbledegook, Twenty Twelve could be accused of being a one-joke wonder. But what a glorious joke it is. And while we've seen this sort of thing many times before (the aloof voiceover, the fly-on-the-wall camerawork, the tumbleweed script), there is something uniquely British about admitting that the people who run things are as incompetent as the likes of you and me. If The Thick of It is a savage Yes, Prime Minister for the age of spin, Twenty Twelve is Dad's Army scripted by Joseph Heller, and I for one will be sad to see it go.

Simmy Richman, The Independent, 15th July 2012

In BBC2's Olympics comedy Twenty Twelve Hugh Bonneville might not get to dress up in fancy costumes or enjoy furtive liaisons with frisky young ladies in maids' outfits. But he looks like he's having much more fun than he ever does on Downton Abbey.

That's probably because his character and the rest of the cast are given some of the sharpest lines I've heard in a British satire since The Thick Of It.

Although the idea that the real London 2012 organising committee hasn't got a clue what they're doing is quite ridiculous. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Ian Hyland, Daily Mail, 14th July 2012

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