W1A episode 1 review

W1A BBC2 episode 1 review | Salman Rushdie

Published by jamdog on 19th March, 2014.

 W1A episode 1 review


The BBC is in such a clusterfuck of crisis that Noel Edmonds is being considered as a white knight so Twenty Twelve spin-off mockumentary W1A is as timely as a sign installed outside Courtney Love’s house this week telling her to shut the fuck upIan Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) returns and this time he’s Head of Values at the BBC, a new post created in the light of significant recent “learning opportunities at the corporation”. That’ll be all the underage girls they raped.  Director of Strategic Governance Simon Harwood (Jason Watkins) is Ian’s mentor through his early days at the corporation, thoughtfully guiding every shit storm away from himself and towards Ian. As he tries to head up his Way Ahead task force (mission statement: “Think big thoughts”) the BBC parachute in branding fright-night  Siobhan Sharpe (Jessica Hynes) which he needs like Lisa Faulkner needed her head stuck in a deep fat fryer on Spooks.

Elsewhere Head of Output Anna Rampton (Sarah Parish) gets a major pain in the balls when would-be Britain’s Tastiest Village anchor Clare Balding drops out due to prior commitments – presumably some horses who needed slaughtering. Carol Vorderman (known horse fatalities: none) is offered the gig and is portrayed as respectful, calm and polite which is {REDACTED} what she is like in real life.

The Daily Mail recently asked if W1A was the BBC’s most risky comedy ever and the first episode certainly puts that idea to bed. It’s as risk-averse and cosy as satire gets. There’s the familiar laughing at PR buzzwords that could apply to any corporate environment and much of the dialogue ends up sounding like that Abbott and Costello “who’s on first?” bollocks. It’s a little too knowing and far too pleased with itself. A pair of digital strategists called Rosenstern & Guildencrantz have the first names Ben & Jerry, clobbering us over the head with their McBain stand-up metajoke. A door opens to reveal Salman Rushdie arm wrestling Alan Yentob – a visual gag that belongs in an episode of Police Squad. Shirley, they’re not serious?

Much of the dialogue ends up sounding like that Abbott and Costello “who’s on first?” bollocks.

Because the BBC gets a clean bill of health here, as will every celebrity who appears. It’s the kind of comedy roast that won’t even give you a suntan. It’s the same Twenty Twelve jokes in a different setting with even less point than before. David Tennant‘s Roy Mallard narration is getting a bit old. They really didn’t need to make this.

The verdict: Unnecessary guffness.

Marks out of 10: 6


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W1A BBC2 episode 1
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