Funland (2005– )

TV Series  -   -  Comedy | Drama
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 390 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

Funland is a comedy / thriller serial, produced by the BBC that was first screened from 23 October 2005 to 7 November 2005... See full synopsis »

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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Series cast summary:
 Carter Krantz (11 episodes, 2005)
Ian Puleston-Davies ...
 Shirley Woolf (11 episodes, 2005)
 Lola Sutton (11 episodes, 2005)
 Dudley Sutton (11 episodes, 2005)
 Leo Finch (11 episodes, 2005)
 Mercy Woolf (11 episodes, 2005)
Emily Aston ...
 Ruby Woolf (10 episodes, 2005)
 Connie Woolf (10 episodes, 2005)
Roy Barraclough ...
 Onan Van Kneck (10 episodes, 2005)
 Liam Woolf (10 episodes, 2005)
Paul Courtenay Hyu ...
 Bryan Luke / ... (9 episodes, 2005)
Ryan Pope ...
 Chris Church (8 episodes, 2005)
Beth Cordingly ...
 Vienna Keen (8 episodes, 2005)
Nicholas Beveney ...
 The Greek (8 episodes, 2005)
 Hitman 1 / ... (7 episodes, 2005)
Brian Hibbard ...
 Willy Woolf / ... (7 episodes, 2005)
 Valerie Hinchcliffe (6 episodes, 2005)
 Bradley Stainer (6 episodes, 2005)
 Shadowman / ... (5 episodes, 2005)


Funland is a comedy / thriller serial, produced by the BBC that was first screened from 23 October 2005 to 7 November 2005... See full synopsis »

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Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

23 October 2005 (UK)  »

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(pilot) | (10 episodes)

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What an Ironic Title
14 May 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I sat through the first 2 episodes of "Funland" before deciding that I'd be more profitably engaged in cleaning my shoes or emptying the cat litter tray. This series is the exact opposite of "Fun".

Nomination for a BAFTA award is not an indication of how good a drama is, merely an indication of how good media types think it is. I bet that people in the entertainment industry love "Funland", or at least they love the idea of it. I wonder how many of them have actually sat through it?

The series was originally shown on BBC3 and it's now being shown on BBC2. It's also available on DVD. Woo-hoo, lucky us.

Apparently "Funland" is a 'darkly comic thriller teeming with brassy characters' and it exposes 'Blackpool's seedy underbelly'. Well, it's been penned by two experienced scriptwriters, one of whom has contributed to the long-running soap opera "Eastenders". The other guy was involved in "The League of Gentlemen", so I suppose that's why the BBC put up the money for "Funland". Unfortunately, the series manages to combine the worst aspects of soap opera and so-called dark comedy.

Regarding the comedy elements: Cartoon character grotesques are much in evidence. There's a pale bisexual taxidermist, a journalist with abnormally thick lenses in his spectacles and prominent teeth (I think he had a dodgy accent as well)and a chain-smoking Barbara Cartland lookalike in a wheelchair. All very "League of Gentlemen", then. The humour seems to consist of the cast members being dressed up like freaks and/or placed in bizarre and embarrassing situations, which I just found embarrassing or bizarre, never funny.

Regarding the drama elements, there are some stock soap opera characters and situations. We have the dodgy businessman with a troubled family life who appears in every soap from "Corrie" to "Neighbours" for starters. There is also a young naive couple who tick quite a few "Eastenders" boxes for anyone who's followed the series. He's completely inept and she's clearly not in his league. Lofty and Michelle, anyone?

After watching for a while, it became clear to me that they must have locked the "Eastenders" hack writer and the psychotic ghoul from "The League of Gentlemen" in a hotel room for about 2 weeks, hosing them down with black coffee and passing their scribblings on to a script editor. The editor must have realised that the writers weren't interacting at all, just alternating their individual 'Dark Comedy' and 'Soap Opera' styles scene-by-scene. As contracts had been signed and money had already changed hands, the script editor then had to try and fit the two conflicting styles together without too much sticky tape over the edges. He failed. Despite some very good actors doing the best with what they were given, I didn't give a damn about any of the characters or their problems and I didn't find anything to laugh at either. Maybe I just didn't get it, or maybe "Funland" is just a big pile of badly-written overwrought PANTS.

Without the BBC's public funding, this lead balloon of a TV series would never have been made. It could have worked if the two scriptwriters had co-operated more, but each episode lurches from borderline funny/bad taste to soap drama with all the subtlety of a trucker's gear-change. TV drama and comedy is a tricky business to get right, so I don't begrudge my licence fee being spent on rubbish like "Funland". Sometimes the only way to find out if something will work is to throw a shedload of money and acting talent at it and see if it flies.

"Funland" is a bold experiment and there may be some soap opera-loving fans of "The League of Gentlemen" (or some fans of TLOG who like to watch an episode of "Corrie" every once in a while) who find it funny or moving or whatever it's meant to be and grant it the status of 'Cult' TV. My own rating of "Funland" is another four-letter word beginning with C.

10 of 91 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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