TV review: Static, BBC One
- Brian Donaldson
- 11 September 2017
A gag-free one-off (we hope) starring Rob Beckett as a twentysomething moving back home with his parents
It's a clever title is Static, given that this sitcom pilot episode is set affixed in a caravan park and features people whose lives are literally going nowhere. And who better than Phil Davis to play co-writer Rob Beckett's dad: the resemblance is uncanny, what with the white hair and full set of even whiter gnashers. But that, sadly, is where the pleasure of this Comedy Playhouse try-out ends as it fizzles out after three minutes into a torrent of dire punchlines, and a one-note central performance from panel-show regular Beckett who seems to find absolutely everything that happens or is said to him just too annoying for words.
Having quit his job and moved back to live with his parents (Davis and Alison Steadman) in their roomy London home, 'Rob' is somewhat peeved (as in really peeved) to discover that they have in fact downsized and moved to a caravan park in Margate where they can revel in having voted Leave while the rest of the nation struggles along (to be fair, there's a nice little joke about donating to a Brexit Jar for each time the subject is brought up).
The excellent Natasia Demetriou is sadly wasted as the 'sassy' barmaid whose twist is that (oh no!!) she has a boyfriend, while Craig Parkinson threatens to steal the show (not a massive achievement that, admittedly) as the irritating Forrest Gump-quoting compere at the park's regular entertainment nights.
It might be the least of Static's problems, but the makers have opted to go for a studio-audience laughter track which, frankly, does the show no favours. Steadman's possible catchphrase 'chillax' could have been met with a dignified silence for the viewer at home to fill (or not) with giggles. Instead, the lab rats trapped into watching this seemingly never-ending half-hour simply howl with laughter at even the unfunniest of lines (a massive achievement that, admittedly). Forget the scandal over equal wages at the Beeb, there will surely be hell to pay if this gets a full series.
Static is on BBC One, Fri 15 Sep, 10.35pm