|Index||9 reviews in total|
STAR RATING: ***** The Works **** Just Misses the Mark *** That Little
Bit In Between ** Lagging Behind * The Pits
Carter Krantz (Daniel Mays) is a London detective who's taken a trip down to Blackpool- but he's not here to celebrate a stag party or ride the Pepsi Max. He's after the killer of his mother, who's dying words mentioned the name of a person at the popular seaside resort. But along the way, shocking twists and turns conspire to take his quest to an electrifying climax.
With this and supporting roles in films like Class of '76 and Vera Drake, Mays is shaping up a fair career for himself. He's a cockney actor with an impressive dialect and a smooth, natural presence and he has a likable personality, so I think he deserves this. He's helped by a good supporting cast, including Coronation Street favourite Roy Barraclough and a wheelchair bound old lady who provides one of the show's most pivotal roles.
Performances aside, Funland is a darkly funny, impressively voyeuristic show with an interesting premise and sound delivery. It's also helped by a foreboding opening score and an impressive and realistic use of Blackpool as the seedy backdrop for all the nefarious goings-on.
Faults-wise, there's one or two grinding, clunky clichés here and there, but I suppose it's no biggie. BBC 3 usually gets slammed as being rarely watched and full of useless programmes and repeats, but they've tuned out an admittedly rare piece of quality programming here. Kudos. ****
BBC3 has been an excellent vehicle for new ventures that, due to their
'different' approach, wouldn't be picked up by either BBC1 or BBC2.
Admittedly there have been some lumps of crap and a whole load of
averageness, but amongst that have been some glimpses of pure
And Funland is one of the highlights.
Set amongst the downmarket seediness that is Blackpool, the characters are almost all deliberately grotesque exaggerations. One can't fail to see the obvious comparisons with the League of Gentlemen.
The acting is good enough to compliment the script, with some well-known faces turning up in roles - and situations - you wouldn't expect to see them in.
I loved it.
I am currently watching Funland on BBC2 after having missed it when it was originally shown on BBC3. So far I have thoroughly enjoyed it, the comedy element appeals to my sense of humour perfectly. The cast of grotesques that populate this production are uniformly excellent and the shadowy lighting / sets convey the seedy atmosphere perfectly. I love Blackpool and am a regular visitor but I must say that this programme does not serve as a very good advert for it! It does however capture the darker side/underbelly of this unique town. It is also extremely near the knuckle both visually and verbally! Anyone who enjoys comedy such as that performed by the League of Gentlemen will enjoy this series.
I remember this show being advertised on BBC3 last year and thought it
looked interesting, but wasn't too sure about David Mays (Carter) being
in this serious, gangster like role. He just looked a bit too babyfaced
for the role.
it pops up on bbc2 and i caught 1 or 2 episodes and was better that i had first thought, so, on returning from my holiday and bought the series and watched everyone back to back.....it was money well spent.
11 Episodes of quality, dark humour and drama. The best way to describe this show is The League Of Gentlemen meets Twin Peaks set in Blackpool. I love the idea of it being set in Blackpool. It captured the Dull, Englishness and Melancholy feel that i think every English person (especially North Western people) can relate to.
The cast were terrific, almost like each was born to play that role (especially Connie, Lola, Shirley & to my surprize, Carter, who were all fantastic). Though the Mayor will always be Alec Gilroy from Corry to me.
I rated this as 10/10 on IMDb out of sheer enthusiasm but in reality i give this a solid 9/10.
Go Buy, Go watch, Go Love...
I totally disagree with comments slating this programme. I also stumbled across Funland - a surreal experience! It made great Sunday evening television and I could not wait for the next episode. It's dark, bizarre and certainly lends itself to a cult following. The acting from characters Lola and Carter particularly were believable and realistic. Watching it was an uncomfortable experience, which I am hoping was the intention of the writing and direction. It was this aspect that made it addictive for me. The almost cringe-worthy exposure to a sordid, sick underworld made fascinating watching. I am very pleased that it has been nominated for a Bafta.
I have to say that I'm enjoying Funland on BBC2(I live in one of the
large areas of the country where digital TV remains unavailable)and I
didn't really have that high hopes for it.
It is extremely strange - and some of the grotesque features are over the top (an editor should have been more in evidence at times) - but I want to know if there actually is a plot (rather like Lost!) so I keep watching despite suspecting all the questions may never be answered.
I think we have some fine little acting gems in there - Philip Jackson (Finch) is of course excellent as ever but also mentions in dispatches for Sarah Smart (Lola), Ian Puleston-Davies (Shirley) and Judy Parfitt (Mercy). Frances Barber (Connie) was rather wasted but you can't have everything
Most of all however it has made me laugh - and that strangely enough is something the League of Gentlemen never did...
Bought this on DVD for the price (five quid) and the writing/cast
credits (half of The League of Gentlemen) - I wasn't disappointed.
This is a dark, twisted, comedy that also works as a compelling, enthralling and gripping thriller. At times, the tension makes it almost unbearable to watch, and then suddenly there's a scene or a shot that makes you laugh aloud.
I watched this in one sitting, all six hours of it, such is its power to draw you in and captivate you.
Beautifully written and well-acted by all involved, this is a darkly funny series that is well worth checking out. Most of the cast are familiar faces, seasoned pros giving excellent performances. Simon Greenall (Michael The "Work Geordie" in I'm Alan Partridge) is almost unrecognisable as the local newspaper reporter.
If you like your comedy with a deeper, dramatic storyline, or your mystery with a sense of humour, check this series out.
The grotesque world of the 'The League of Gentlemen' was a fairly standard comic creation, but Simon Ashdown, one of its writers, has surpassed himself with 'Funland' (co-written with an 'Eastenders' scriptwriter), in which they create an even more vicious, obscene and fantastic environment but moreover manage to play it straight throughout eleven episodes of tightly plotted thriller. The comedy here is so black that there's little in the way of conventional laughs, but the jarring lines between the ludicrous situations and the merciless drama make this a series like no other. The story is set in a Blackpool reduced to the grimmest of parodies (one wonders if the local burghers thought about suing), there's no affection here. If it reminds me of anything, I think of Alan Platers's 'Beiderbecke' trilogy, a series of unlikely escapades set in the ordinary landscape of northern Britain, but that was ultimately gentle whereas 'Funland' is anything but. What stops it from being great is that it's hard to relate what one sees to the reality of life in modern Britain, and the dialogue rarely rises above 'Eastenders' standards; but the same can be said for a good many more realistic dramas as well. And for savage inventiveness, it has few equals.
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.
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