Channel Hopper - Life's Too Short
- Brian Donaldson
- 15 November 2011
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant team up with short actor Warwick Davis for new comedy mock-doc
When Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant set about their next major BBC project, they must have wondered whether to go for the docu-drama fakery of The Office or the celeb-heavy naturalism of Extras. In the end they squashed the two together for Life’s Too Short (BBC2, Thu, 9.30pm). Warwick Davis may have appeared in Star Wars, the Harry Potter movies and, um, Willow, but by and large his career hasn’t reached the heights he would have wished. His mini-fame limbo status allows us to comfortably believe that he could be bullied by a local news reporter (Tim Key) or be used as a guinea pig for movie research by a Hollywood legend (Johnny Depp). Meanwhile, both Gervais and Merchant sit regally behind a desk, Apprentice-style, trying hard to get shot of their pesky hanger-on.
The Davis character is essentially a dwarfed-up David Brent with the second episode’s disastrous impromptu best man’s speech straight out of Wernham Hogg. After an opening half hour in which there are too many self-conscious glances to the camera (by Davis and Gervais) whenever anyone is saying or doing something appalling, part two gets the show moving with Depp and Key both excellent in their cameos and poor old Shaun ‘Barry’ Williamson tragically plummeting to the role of errand boy. As easy as it would be for the anti-Gervais cynics to pray that this fails, it looks like Warwick and his little helpers won’t fall short.