6 items from 2015
All good things... as the saying goes. It's been confirmed today that Channel 4's university-set comedy series Fresh Meat will end at the conclusion of its fourth series, due to arrive later this year.
The show, which stars Zawe Ashton, Joe Thomas, Jack Whitehall, Charlotte Ritchie, Kimberley Nixon and - in series 3 - the brilliant Faye Marsay, arrived in 2011. Over three series so far, it's told the story of a bunch of Manchester freshers (and Howard) finding themselves against a messy backdrop of student life, ill-advised hook-ups and even more ill-advised soul patches.
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Everyone loves second-hand bookshops, don’t they? The satisfaction of leafing through some dusty volume of antiquarian musings, the rich scent of aged leather bindings, redolent of the past… Add to all that the opportunity to indulge in some intellectual posing and impress the philosophy student lounging in the corner, and you’ve got yourself a full Saturday afternoon’s entertainment.
That is, of course, unless you happen to find yourself in one particular Bloomsbury establishment, presided over by a certain Bernard Black. Make no mistake: our Bernard (Dylan Moran) may have an aesthete’s tousled pallor, but there’s nothing remotely poetic about his attitude to running a shop. Only dimly familiar with the concept of customer service, he rules his domain with a rod of iron. »
NBC previously attempted to adapt the Channel 4 sitcom for a 2007 pilot, producing a near shot-for-shot remake, but Linehan told Digital Spy that he wants the network's second attempt to diverge from the UK series.
"It's one of the few things I've done that could translate," he said. "You just have to pull back on the surrealism and concentrate more on the character comedy - the Americans do character comedy so beautifully, so I think you have to adapt it to suit that.
"So I'm going over [to Los Angeles] to say to them, 'Please don't do my show' - or do my show, just a suitable American version.
"I'm really glad they're giving me the chance to pitch that to them - it's better to start off with a template that actually gives you a chance. »
When an actor can make a line as simple as "father!" into a quotable highlight of an episode, he is surely a favourite to writers. It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, then, that Graham Linehan loves working with Matt Berry.
Now, Mr Linehan has gone so far as to suggest a spin-off for Douglas Reynholm from The It Crowd.
"I'd really love to do a Douglas spinoff of The It Crowd," he said. See? We weren't lying or anything.
Elaborating a bit, he added that "I could easily spend an hour, or half an hour, with Douglas. He's my favourite way of making fun of people that I really loathe, like Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump. I basically just have happen to him all the things that I'd love to happen to them, »
Inventive and well-acted sitcom bows out after 20 episodes, blending traditional slapstick with painfully funny originality
The final episode of a hit comedy (Friends, The It Crowd, Gavin and Stacey) is usually a lap of honour round the media, collecting the valedictory gifts of extended episodes and spin-off documentaries in which celebrities nominate golden moments.
But there’s another sort of show for which the laments of the goodbye back-slappers risk being drowned out by the backlashers holding their own leaving party. It will happen to Mrs Brown’s Boys and Derek and it happened to Miranda.
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- Mark Lawson
Miranda Hart’s sitcom will receive a mixed farewell when it ends for good on New Year’s Day, but I salute its originality and scholastic fascination with comedic conventions
The final episode of a hit sitcom is usually a lap of honour round the media: The It Crowd, Friends and Gavin & Stacey were awarded some or all of the traditional valedictory gifts of extended episodes, background documentaries and celebs choosing golden moments.
But there is another sort of show for which the laments of the goodbye back-slappers risk being drowned out by the backlashers holding their own goodbye celebration. In a preview of what will happen to Mrs Brown’s Boys and Derek, this two-faced departure applies to Miranda. Miranda Hart’s self-starring, self-written and self-named comedy will leave TV in a final episode on New Year’s Day.
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- Mark Lawson
6 items from 2015
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