The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle: Season 1, Episode 6

Episode #1.6 (8 Nov. 2007)

TV Episode  -  Comedy
8.0
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Janey Evans, the reporter who previously rubbed up against Vivienne by calling her a one trick pony, is at it again, claiming that she has evidence that Jared attended a gay party where a ... See full summary »

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Title: Episode #1.6 (08 Nov 2007)

Episode #1.6 (08 Nov 2007) on IMDb 8/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Vivienne Vyle
...
Helena de Wend
...
Jared
...
Christopher Ryan ...
Miriam
...
Janey Evans
Rochelle Gadd ...
Dionne
Helen Griffin ...
Carol
Dave Lamb ...
Des
Lawry Lewin ...
Damien
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Storyline

Janey Evans, the reporter who previously rubbed up against Vivienne by calling her a one trick pony, is at it again, claiming that she has evidence that Jared attended a gay party where a young rent boy accidentally died. Vivienne calls in Miriam, who gives her a lesson in damage limitation, so that, on the first ever live Vivienne Vyle Show, Vivienne milks the crowd's sympathy by getting Jared to admit he is an alcoholic - with no gay references - whilst she herself talks about being abused as a child. It all goes down a storm - as intended. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Genres:

Comedy

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Release Date:

8 November 2007 (UK)  »

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Goofs

When Viv throws a magazine across the living room at her husband, and the camera cuts to a wide shot, a boom mic dips down in the middle of the screen. See more »

Soundtracks

Islands In The Stream
Written by Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb
Performed by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
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User Reviews

Season 1: Aims for two things but mostly falls between both of them despite a scattering of good moments
9 December 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Vivienne Vyle is a daytime talk show host very much in the mould of Trisha, Jeremy Kyle and countless other similar shows. On a show entitled "my son call the wrong man daddy", Vyle pushes the guests too far and ends up punched in the face for her trouble. A large security man running to her help before falling on her sees her wind up in hospital. There she yet again considers her lot in life – she has probably blown her shot with the American networks, her marriage to her gay best friend is a sham and her work involves working with people who consider having two facial tattoos to be "minimalist"; maybe it is time for her to defrost the frozen sperm of her dead husband and have that baby? Well, apparently the yanks and the UK audience loved the "fight" show and ratings are up due to the media coverage. Time for a new push on the Vyle show.

When this show started I wondered what the point was. The character of Vyle is clearly a version of Kyle (Jeremy) that has been created to satirise this world with a comedy character and I immediately had my doubts about that because it is hardly topical. Hell, when even high court judges are having pops at a subject then you know it has been done to death. Regardless here we are. Anyway I felt a bit more relaxed after the first few episodes as there was just enough broad comedy to carry it along, thanks mainly to the characters if not the actual jokes. I say this because, no matter what BBC2 calls Thursday nights now, it is pretty light in the old laugh department which I didn't mind so much because I was hoping for the material to be clever and sharp and funny in a dark way perhaps? Well, sort of at any rate. The writing feels a bit disjointed across the series. At times the comedy is broad and OTT in the way that Ab Fab was (not a comedy I ever really liked myself) while at other times the material is a bit smarter and seems to be making insightful judgements on this talk show world. However most of the time it awkwardly falls between these two stools and doesn't really succeed at either. It is a shame because it does have some good moments that show what could have been. One of my favourites was the moment where Dr Jonathan Fowler tells a story in a production meeting about a little girl he met when visiting the home of her crack addict mother – it is sensitively told and did touch me and the script brought it round to Vivienne working out how she can exploit this – she is not moved beyond the potential for herself to pull down more ratings. Most of the time though it is nowhere near as good as I thought that was.

Saunders is OK but her performance struggles due to this duality. Is she playing the physical comedy or is she looking to nail her character in a very real way like Coogan has done recently with Saxondale? It isn't clear to me and I don't think it was to her. She is still a presence and nothing she does is without value but it could have been a lot tighter. Richardson is a lot better because her character is much simpler and clear – she is the OTT producer, shouting, abusing runners and overreacting; she is good at it and did produce some nice laughs. Watkins is good for what he does but his character should be the moral centre of the whole thing and it isn't – this leaves him doing the awkward comedy but not injecting the way he should have been able to. Hill is broad comedy and good at it even if it is a simple flaming cliché.

Overall then, not a great series but an OK one. The subject is hardly topical but it is still an easy target if you want to go for it. The writing lets it down though because it cannot decide if it wants to accept being light on easy laughs in exchange for thoughtful satire or vice versa. It goes for both and succeeds at neither, which is a shame. I'm sure it will have its fans but I couldn't really manage to see past the missed potential in several areas.


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