TV review: Ratburger, Sky One
- Henry Northmore
- 30 November 2017
Fun, cute adaptation of David Walliams's tale of dancing rats and evil stepmothers
The first of this year's festive David Walliams adaptations is a cute and kooky tale of a lonely girl (Zoe, played by Talia Barnett) and her rodent pal Armitage. The story revolves around a school talent show, Burt's burger van and a rat who loves to dance. And while Walliams' books are aimed at kids, he adds real emotion and a few adult themes (bereavement, bullying and low self-esteem) though a child-friendly filter.
It's a modern update of the classic fairytale, with Sheridan Smith at her unpleasant best as the evil stepmother and Walliams himself taking the prime role as the foul and greasy Burt. From the title, you can probably guess Burt's interest in Zoe's furry friend.
Anyone worried about the move to Sky One will be relieved to find you can't spot the difference. In a nice nod to continuity, Harish Patel is back as wise shopkeeper Raj (he also pops up in BBC One's Walliams effort Grandpa's Great Escape on New Year's Day).
Barnett is adorable as young Zoe, there's solid support from Mark Benton as her underdog dad; Nigel Planer as the ineffectual headmaster and Tillie Amartey as the school bully, but it's Sheridan and Walliams who steal the show, revelling in their repugnance, perfectly playing it up for us all to boo and hiss from the sofa. Admittedly, the CGI rat isn't great and the energy drops whenever Sheridan or Walliams are offscreen, but kids will love the mix of gross-out comedy with a nice message about the importance of friends, loyalty and believing in yourself.
Ratburger will be available on Sky One and NOW TV Sun 24 Dec, 6pm.