Brian Donaldson finds that celebs and sluts still can’t hold a candle to The Sopranos
The cult of celebrity has been handled by comedians and satirists in so many ways that it seems almost impossible to find a new way to approach the depiction of famous folk. Star Stories, pictured above (Channel 4, Fri 15 Sep, 9pm) may well be one of the worst attempts ever at trying to make daft people look even dafter. Can it really be possible to parody the Beckhams as terminally dull and Alex Ferguson as permanently furious since Alistair McGowan and Double Takehave done it so well? No. If the result of this series is that we start to get bored with our petty obsessions about people who happen to have gathered more wealth and column inches than the rest of us, then it will have done some kind of service.
I’m With Stupid (BBC3, Sun 10 Sep, 10pm) is not the alternative title for Victoria Adams’ autobiography, but a comedy series which will have some people wielding words like ‘daring’ and brave’ all over the shop. It’s daring and brave because it has people in wheelchairs being funny and self-deprecating rather than the likes of Ironside and Crossroads’ Sandy Richardson being worthy and tedious. After a much-heralded pilot episode last year, the show now follows in the hallowed BBC tyre marks of Nighty Night, Little Britain and, um, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.
That Mitchell and Webb Look (BBC2, Thu 14 Sep, 9.30pm) must feel a bit squeezed. Scheduled in between the new series of Extrasand Mock the Week, the Peep Showguys may feel overwhelmed by such lauded company but their show, transferred from radio, is a breath of fresh comedic air. Not all of the sketches work (the crimebusting duo of an angel summoner and a BMX bandit rider gives up its lame joke all too quickly and then proceeds to hammer away at it throughout) but the vicious vicar and the ludicrous numbers game show tickled me.
The Comedy Unit’s Legit (BBC1, Fri 15 Sep, 10.35pm) feels like a Chewin’ the Fatidea that was rejected at the first draft but has somehow made it to ‘pilot’ status. A disenfranchised dad tries to get his son a monkey for his birthday while his younger workmate yearns for a threesome. The punchline is pretty much seen a mile off but you have to go through some pretty torrid humour to get relief. Relief of a rather different kind is on offer with Respectable (Five, Wed 13 Sep, 10.30pm), the show which was co- written by Harry Have I Got News For You Thompson before he died last year. A charming brothel of loveable ladies (asides from the terrible East European whore whose perfect man is a mix of Serbian killers Slobodan Milosevic and Arkan) entices a shy, bored, Judge John Deed-obsessed businessman (Justin Edwards AKA boozy kids entertainer Jeremy Lion) whose wife is the woman from Brooksidewho slept with her brother. Asides from some cute one-liners from the ageing madame (‘wank it then bank it’; ‘no cash no gash’) it trawls the ‘tarts with hearts’ and ‘guy who just wants to talk and then gets upset when his hooker actually has dirty sex with other men’ angles a bit too blatantly.
Obviously The Sopranos (E4, Thu 7, 14, 21 Sep, 10pm) is still the best thing on the box just now, and I suspect you’ll be bored to tears getting reminded of that each and every fortnight until Tony finally sleeps with the metaphorical fishes.