COMEDY COMEDY LAB
Channel 4, starts Thu 1 Nov, 11.35pm.
On the basis of this selection of exceptionally weak comedies for wintry Thursday nights. Channel 4's funny scientists should return to their lab and locate square one. First out of the petri dish is The Richard Taylor Interviews (1 ). a mock promotional video for a
Nov .0 hotshot estate agent.
In a series of staged interviews. various poor. everyday hopefuls are duped into swearing. admitting to lying on their CVs and making fools of themselves in ridiculous team-building exercises. While the six-hour group interview is a worthy target for satire. Taylor simply ends up mocking the eagerness of his interviewees. As most of us will do/say/believe almost anything in order to secure the job we really. really want.
Taylor's is hardly a revolutionary technique. Noel Edmonds built a lengthy television career on humiliating ordinary people. and it is now generally agreed that he was a bearded Tory in a silly jumper. Impending experiments from the Lab include Jimmy Carr’s World Of . . . Corporate Videos (22 Nov 00 ) which does a passable pastiche of the genre we love to ignore. complete with soft-focus acting and ) is the mildly amusing tale of a beautiful, boorish supermodel who — shock and horror — hasn't shaved her bush. and Turn The World Down (13 Dec 00 ) features a battle of wills between a schoolboy and his gym teacher.
tinny muzak. Model, Actress, Whatever (29 Nov 0..
Orcadia (8 Nov 000
Orcadia is another failed experiment
) starts off promisineg enough as the tale of a withdrawn. leisure centre worker
obsessed with pagan fantasy. Unfortunately. the film's melancholic tone serves more to depress rather than gently amuse. While there are shining moments in each — Model, Actress. Whatever's relentlessly camp stylist deserves his own series — overall. this feels like a collection of feeble. one-joke blunders. (Allan Radcliffe)
It’s a dress 8
series has obvious similarities to the likes of Faw/ty Towers. but is let down by half-arsed acting, lame gags and one-dimensional plotlines. Many sitcoms are weak but diverting; Mr Charity is just plain weak. (James Smart)
DOCUMENTARY BLAST OFF: DANGER IN SPACE
Channel 5, Wed 14 Nov, 8pm 00
A rocket scientist could probably tell you exactly why. but you don't actually have to be a rocket scientist to know that mucking about in space is a bloody dangerous pastime. From blasting off the launchpad to space
ie scrapbook thing walks. moon landings and attempted re- entries. astronauts are continually taking their lives in their hands in an effort to boldly go where no one has gone before. and all that jazz.
This documentary unsurprisingly makes the most of the dangerous elements of it all. and does so in the kind of melodramatic fashion you’d expect from the c0untry's fifth favourite terrestrial channel. There is the occasional interesting interview with experienced astronauts and the odd fascinating fact thrown in. But loads of cheesy reconstructions. a handful of unnecessary well-worn footage and plenty of overblown,
pompous voiceover declarations tend to obscure any worthwhile points the makers might have been trying to get across.
IT’S A GIRL THING
Channel 4, Wed 14 Nov, 8.30pm 000
Girl Thing is basically one of those ‘dress Barbie' scrapbooks with four living models masquerading as a flatshare of girly pals. In between spending hours in the bathroom. enjoying home spas and wondering why they're not married yet. our f0ur fashionable femmes strut. parade and sashay their way through a series of glittering ensembles. calculated to show off their disparate assets.
There‘s Christine. the willowy. 'ghetto fabulous' one and Tasha. the blonde. aficionado of 'shabby chic'. Jemma is the busty designer freak and Vanessa. the high-class career woman. The programme has a distinctly pedagogical feel to it. Over four episodes. style tips are dished out. covering all the sartorial needs of the average stick insect with breasts and a hefty disposable income.
For those with no interest in fashion
whatsoever (what the hell are 'Gina heels' anyway?) the series may have unintentional comedy value. if only for the malicious pleaSLire of watching the larger- breasted flatmate squeezing into one of those aSymmetrical tops. Go girlfriend!
DOCUSOAP FAKING IT Channel 4, Tue 6 Nov, 9pm 0000
The last series of Faking /t was that great rarity. top reality TV; primarily because watching it didn't make the contestants. you. and the rest of humanity seem utterly detestable. This new collection will be just as good if the first episode is anything to go by.
Here the unsuitable candidate is Ed. a cheerful slacker who works at a Newcastle burger store. and whose favourite meal is beans on toast (with cheddar chunks). A chef. a voice coach and a foul- mouthed despot known to his Customers as Gordon Ramsay have just four weeks to turn him into a top notch head chef.
It's not an easy task. Ed looks. as Gordon charmingly puts it. ‘like a sack of shit“. But the triumvirate get going. and Ed gets tough despite undergoing a
minor existential crisis (I'm tired of being a gallant loser'i and the results are. to say the least. surprismg. This is inspiring and wickedly funny stuff.
GIMME GIMME GIMME
BBC1, Fri 2 Nov, 9.30pm 0
If you are one of those diligent people who pays their licence fee every year. you know there's nothing more frustrating than seeing your hard— earned cash being squandered on indulgent tosh such as this. And to add insult to severe injury. some coked~Lip. paranoid loon at the Beeb has seen fit to inexplicably grant this a third series.
The norn‘ally reéiable Kathy Burke bellows and flaps away as Linda. a man hungry ginger- \r/lziiiger. who along With her flatmate -- out of work actor Tom (James Dreyfusi ~ do a coiiterrtporany take on Gt,>:>rge 8 /‘.4i/(.""ed. Except. it's not funny.
The characters are COinj.)l<-;tely absurd and becon‘e huge;y irritating after only minutes and the scenarios they find themselves in are so hackneyed they should have a London E8 postcode. Given the potential of sitcom formats these days. it seems absurd for this to have n‘ade it past (levelopnient. never mind another sent-2s. Giinine snelter‘ from this
[XXX ‘t/IE N Mitt” THE BILLY ELLIOT BOY BBC1, Tue 6 Nov, 11.05pm .0.
Bl//‘.’ Iii/iot ii‘ay have
done a great PR job for ballet and the image of male darict-zi‘s. but quite
cm _ ' "II! "7‘ .
Faking It inspires and amuses
what it did to its teenage star remains to be seen. Plucked from obscurity aged thirteen when he beat 199 other young hopefuls to the role. Jaime Bell has seen his entire world turn upside down in two incredible years.
From attending the local comp and living with his single mum in Billington. to appearing on The Day/d Letterman Show and winning a BAFTA. Bell's rise to fame has been captured in a video diary kept since the onset of filming. His claim that he 'gets embarrassed if I show my excitement' goes some way to excusing his almost arrogant nonchalance.
But watching him prance arOund director Stephen Daldry’s estate ‘.‘./Iii'l a shotgun. or float in the pool wearing a “fuck you' t-shirt. it becomes apparent that like most teenage boys. he's just a bit of an arse. TIII‘O will tell if he stays that way. (Kelly Apteri
Stacey Stone (BBC 1. Mon :5 Nov. 4.35pm) New Scottish kids W show about an aspiring journo and her growing pains.
Night And Day (Scottish. Tue 6 Nov. 5.05pm) Brand new soap starring Gareth Hunt. Cathy Tyson and Lesley Joseph
The Fugitive (C/ianne/ A, Fri .9 Nov. (join) The classic 80s crime series returns with new faces and. hopefully. a better script than the movie.
Dr Terrible's House Of Horrible (BBC2, Mon 72 i‘vtr-y. 9,017?) Ste\e Coogan plays the eponymous ntedic in a nets; serses of chillingly (taunt: taies Pump Up The Volume iCha/ir;ei'-1. Tue 13 Nov, I i.()5p/77/ The history of
N .."’>I THE LIST 111