W1A enters its third series, so is doing brilliantly well, given that it was spawned from the two-series Twenty Twelve, which did for the London Olympics what The Thick Of It did for politics. That said, this is rumoured to be the W1A‘s last.
This time, the BBC is heading towards its charter renewal, and once again, hapless Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) – as the Head of Values – is tasked with another deliberately pointless job that relates to facilitating this, that job being ‘The More Of Less Initiative’, which centres around as Anna Rampton (Sarah Parrish) puts it, “identifying what we do best, and finding more ways to do less of it better”… I think I got that right.
Siobhan Sharpe’s (Jessica Hynes) PR company Perfect Curve have bought out by Dutch media company Fun Media, leading to the creation of online channel BBC Me – like Youtube but with a BBC branding, so everyone uploads their own content, to save the BBC making their own.
Add in a silent disco and a few issues on Match of the Day that need clearing up – involving footballer Ryan Chelford (In The Dark‘s Ben Batt), in what turned out to be a less amusing part of the episode, plus some great narration from David Tennant who, to highlight the passing of time between two scenes, observes: “Meanwhile, it’s a week later”; and that junior executives Ben and Jerry “are being given the opportunity to apply for their own jobs”, as – in plain speaking terms – one of them will be gettig the boot.
Will continues: “Yeah, cool”, and everything is the same as it was before, while all the pauses and brief, fast-paced dialogue – where everyone talks a split second after each other, and with no-one talking over anyone else – are planned out to within an inch of each other. They’re great, but they do go on a bit too often, foregoing what could’ve had more of a sentient plot.
Either way, it’s much better than most current BBC comedy, and I’ve also seen the second episode and it’s just as good.
And if you’re wondering what the theme tune is, it’s from Johnny Morris’ Animal Magic, otherwise known as Las Vegas, composed by Laurie Johnson, and performed by the Group Forty Orchestra. Check it out below.
Score: 8/10. So that’s all good.
Also, I’d highly recommend Twenty Twelve Series 1 & 2 DVD, which is currently on Amazon for less than a tenner.
If you missed it, you can watch it on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission, and click on the DVD packshot for the full-size version.
Director: John Morton
Producer: Paul Schlesinger
Writer: John Morton
Ian Fletcher: Hugh Bonneville
Tracey Pritchard: Monica Dolan
Siobhan Sharpe: Jessica Hynes
Anna Rampton: Sarah Parish
Will Humphries: Hugh Skinner
Lucy Freeman: Nina Sosanya
Simon Harwood: Jason Watkins
Neil Reid: David Westhead
Jack Patterson: Jonathan Bailey
Jerry Guildencrantz: Ivan Gonzalez
David Wilkes: Rufus Jones
Izzy Gould: Ophelia Lovibond
Ben Rosenstern: Max Olesker
Matt Taverner: Daniel Ings
Narrator: David Tennant
Coco Lomax: Sara Pascoe
Barney Lumsden: Alex Beckett
Ryan Chelford: Ben Batt
Jens Smit: Kåre Conradi
Karl Marx: Joel Fry
Himself: Gary Lineker
Clive Cook: Derek Riddell
Hotel receptionist: Maggie Service
Michael Chung: Will Sharpe
Himself: Alan Shearer
Fiona Craig: Pooky Quensel
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.