BBC iPlayer Original Comedy Shorts (3 stars)

BBC iPlayer Original Comedy Shorts

Frankie Boyle, Bob Mortimer and Meera Syal contribute to this mixed back of short sketches

There has been criticism of this batch of comedy shorts for opting not to showcase new talent and simply acting as a vehicle for bigger names to get themselves more work on the channel. Whatever the merits of those arguments, it’s a real hoot to see some intriguing pairings in six mini-films.

Reece Shearsmith and Sally Phillips get absurdist in a monochrome skit about an odd Austrian medic and his equally curious patient while Micky Flanagan and Kerry Godliman perform in the longest of these shorts (clocking in at around the nine-minute mark) about a man who becomes a national hate figure when he kills a fox in his back garden.

Most attention of all will be drawn towards the rather unlikely coupling of Bob Mortimer and Frankie Boyle in a spoof cookery show with predictably fruity language and truly off-colour remarks about the humble pea. Of all the films, this is the one that you could easily picture being taken further with Mortimer’s quickfire surreality merging neatly with Boyle’s robust bickering.

The less said about Morgana Robinson’s Channel 4-obsessed impersonations the better (Educating Yorkshire and Benefits Street get the flaccid satirical treatment here) while the Meera Syal-led piece about spiralling tensions between a glamorous Bollywood actress and the frumpy playback artist who provides the star’s golden voice is a nice idea not especially fleshed out. And there’s an all-too inevitable appearance from the ubiquitous Matt Berry lending his mellifluous tonsils to a wonderfully profane nature documentary about wolves and elks.


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