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Count Arthur Strong review | Doubt for the Count

Published by jamdog on 11th July, 2013.

Count Arthur Strong review

BBC2

The last time I recall a beloved radio comedy making it onto TV it was Bob Servant Independent and that was a big bag of shit. Count Arthur Strong seems cut from similar cloth. Arthur (creator Steve Delaney) much like Bob is a doddery old fuck who gets things wrong. He was a variety star back in the day but that day has long since passed. We first encounter Arthur as Michael Baker (Rory Kinnear) son of Arthur’s old comedy partner Max reluctantly researches his father’s autobiography. They share an enduring bitterness towards the old rogue Max which at least hints at some comic potential.

It never gets realised. The humour comes from minor misunderstandings with the lowest stakes imaginable. We get malapropisms like ‘Heineken manoeuvre’ for ‘Heimlich manoeuvre’. There’s an attempt to get some comic juice out of Arthur and author sounding similar. Arthur cultivates eccentricities like banging a tin pan when taking a dump to mask the noise and there’s a lengthy sequence where he fails to pull off a memory feat. Why anyone likes this is baffling.

There’s an attempt to get some comic juice out of Arthur and author sounding similar. Arthur cultivates eccentricities like banging a tin pan when taking a dump to mask the noise and there’s a lengthy sequence where he fails to pull off a memory feat. Why anyone likes this is baffling.

And yet they do, in pretty large numbers. And yet others feel like me. Some have criticised the canned laughter. Others have criticised the critics of the canned laughter pointing out that it’s not canned laughter it’s studio audience reaction who, while they may certainly be caned, are not canned. If you didn’t know better you’d swear comedy was subjective or something.

The verdict: Tales of the unexplained.

Marks out of 10: 5

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