6 items from 2012
The BBC's imaginative modernisation of the classic novel deserves to be more widely seen, despite the low budget
It is not the obvious place to look for innovation or fresh thinking, but this week, BBC daytime has served up an autumn surprise with Nick Nickleby, a modernised drama series loosely based on the Charles Dickens novel.
It has been a relief to stumble upon it, in the acres of repetitive daytime hunts for collectables, gameshows and repeats. And in its modest way, it could also point the way for imaginative treatments of the classics, as Sherlock has done, on albeit on a far grander scale.
The series was clearly made on a very tight budget, but the cash constraint has forced this adaptation into a pared-down style that, at best, emphasises the grotesqueness of the most unpleasant characters and at worst, means you keep seeing the same bit of scenery, »
- Maggie Brown
Dickens-inspired daytime drama showing each weekday begins with 11.8% audience share but is down on same slot last week
BBC1 daytime's move to do a Sherlock with a modern day re-imagining of Dickens novel Nicholas Nickleby launched with 800,000 viewers on Monday afternoon.
The latest BBC1 daytime drama was more than 30% down on the slot average share over the past three months. Last Monday an Escape to the Country repeat in the 2.15pm slot averaged 1 million viewers and a 12.2% share.
Nick Nickleby was up against a repeat of ITV1's Dickinson's Real Deal, which averaged 1.1 million viewers and a 16.7% share from 2pm.
BBC2's live coverage of the Atp World Tour Finals from London's 02, featuring Andy Murray's first-round win, averaged 600,000 viewers and a 8.4% share between 1.45pm and 4.45pm. »
- Jason Deans
Shooting is underway in Belfast on a modern reworking of the Charles Dickens classic novel for the BBC called ‘The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby' with a cast of mainly Northern Irish actors.
Produced by double BAFTA-winning production company Kindle Entertainment and directed by David Innes Edwards, the five-episode series will focus on lead character Nick, who investigates corruption in care homes for the elderly.
The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby has been updated to reflect concerns and questions about modern Britain, so Dickens’ exploration of corruption within private boarding schools is transposed to care-homes for the elderly. Just as Dickens did, the drama invites the audience to reflect on how the vulnerable suffer when the pursuit of profit is valued more than human kindness. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (ScreenTerrier)
As Simon Amstell's sometimes uncomfortable sitcom nears the end of its second series, the performances and writing look increasingly impressive
As Grandma's House moves confidently towards the close of its second series it has been whipping up a perfect sitcom storm. Many had misgivings about series one and the upstart narcissism of yet another celeb playing themselves – Simon Amstell looked set to join Ricky Gervais in the comedy gold gone to kryptonite category – and if anything, the show is now more twistedly self-referential than ever. In last week's episode the family assembled in the mock gaff to watch Simon Amstell's real gaffe (the Russell Watson brain tumour faux pas on daytime TV).
But, oddly, the writing and performances in Grandma's House are good enough to make you forget about Simon Amstell, the real person with an uncannily similar schtick and CV to "Simon Amstell". Nevermind the meta, the »
Grandma's House is a dark, smart, Jewish comedy – family sitcom for our age
Simon Amstell wakes up with another body in his bed – a single airbed because this is grandma's house and, in fact, Grandma's House (BBC2). The body, which appears to be alive, belongs to a boy. Simon's gay! That's sooo disappointing, though to be honest I had my suspicions (something about the way he has always said he is). Not disappointing because he's gay – come on, who do you think I am? Disappointing because it means he'll never marry Stella Tennant. (She's married already? And? Marriages end, hello?) So she'll never be Stella Tennant-Amstell, almost certainly the only woman ever in the history of women to be named (though admittedly not spelt) after three popular lagers. Then imagine if, for some reason, she were to bring up one of a certain former England rugby captain's kids, the Sun »
- Sam Wollaston
Put downs. Piss takes. Come backs. Simon Amstell can hand it out, but can he take it? Simon Hattenstone talks to the presenter-turned-standup about celebrity, upsetting his family and whether he's got any material left for his therapist
Simon Amstell made his name as a rude boy in TV shows such as Popworld and Never Mind The Buzzcocks by taking the piss out of pop stars. He then tired of that, went away and remade his name as a neurotic boy – the star (and co-writer) of a TV sitcom, Grandma's House, about a young man called Simon who makes his name on TV taking the piss out of pop stars, gets tired of it and is desperate to find his soul and make it as an actor. Grandma's House is self-referential post-modernism gone mad. It's also very funny – with its multiple Yiddishisms, the mother who gets such nachus from the celebrity her son despises, »
- Simon Hattenstone
6 items from 2012
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