Bernard Black runs a book shop, though his customer service skills leave something to be desired. He hires Manny as an employee. Fran runs the shop next door. Between the three of them many adventures ensue.
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Alan Partridge a failed television presenter whose previous exploits had featured in the chat-show parody Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge, and who is now presenting a programed on local radio in Norwich.
Bernard Black runs his own bookshop even though he doesn't much like people who buy books and hates having customers. Next door to Bernard's shop is the Nifty Gifty gift shop run by Fran, probably Bernard's only friend in the world. When Bernard's accountant goes on the run Bernard employs stress victim, Manny to help in his shop. This leads to a series of surreal adventures around the shop. Written by
Clever, funny and imaginative - eat your heart out Friends!
Bernard Black runs his own bookshop even though he doesn't much like people who buy books and hates having customers. Next door to Bernard's shop is the Nifty Gifty gift shop run by Fran, probably Bernard's only friend in the world. When Bernard's accountant goes on the run Bernard employs stress victim, Manny to help in his shop. This leads to a series of surreal adventures around the shop.
This series (soon to return for a second series!) was poorly promoted by channel 4 (usually so good at getting great little comedies recognised - Spaced, Father Ted etc), and didn't get seen by anywhere near the audience it deserved. The storylines are always pretty wild - Manny absorbing the Little Book of Calm into his system in the first show - and never set in reality, ever. However they are never stupid because they are so wildly funny! The surreal adventures of Bernard and Manny are excellent - full of movie references, full of great dialogue and surreal action. As a sitcom it just sparkles with ideas, energy and imagination - for the first showing Ch 4 had it following Friends and it totally showed Friends up to be mass-produced, thoughtless entertainment. Sure, BB doesn't have the gloss of Friends and can feel a bit rough round the edges but you can't beat the fact that it feels fresh and new compared to all that gloss.
The chemistry between Bernard and Manny is great - even if their dialogue is mad at times. Bill Bailey is very funny doing stand-up and here he is really suited to Manny. Moran as Bernard is also great as the abusive drunk Irishman and is just so manically funny - not manic like Phoebe in Friends but manic like Jack in Father Ted. Tamsin Greig is also good as Fran, despite being a smaller character.
Overall this is a flagship for all that is good about channel 4 comedies - British, clever, imaginative, daring and very funny. Well done channel 4!
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