We The Jury is a sitcom pilot which begins with the unlikely premise that William’s (Ed Easton) life long dream is to be a member of a jury (sorry, I should’ve prepared you earlier to suspend your disbelief).
So, imagine his surprise when his mum gives him his birthday present of a long-delayed letter for jury duty, which puts him in a state of orgasmic excitement, the sort I’d get if Jennifer Aniston turned up on my doorstep out of the blue, telling me she’d dumped Justin Theroux and planned to live forever with me (I can dream, although I’d rather we were in sunny L.A. than rainy Manchester). In fact, he’s so stupidly happy to take part in all this that he even takes a selfie with a bust (of the statue variety), with the camera on the back of his phone, when he could’ve used the front camera and taken a decent picture.
We The Jury appears to start off okay, as all the jurors show they love that it’s a murder trial, but it’s lacking much in the way of a decent and coherent script, which comes from comedian and Mock The Week regular James Acaster, who also gives himself a cameo. I’ve not seen a comedy about jury duty, previously, but this spends as little time as possible in the courtroom, thus not giving itself a chance to exploit the situation. There may be scope for a one-room comedy about a jury, since there are a fair number of successful one-room sitcoms out there, but this one spends far too much time out of that location, thus diluting what it could’ve been. Wherever the 12 not-so-angry men and women are, they take too long worrying about the man who draws the court scene, and that they’ll look like “munters”.
As such, while trials usually end up with an outcome that’s either guilty or not guilty, such as that currently experienced by Ross Poldark, as this programme came to a conclusion, I forgot there was even a trial going on!
Coming out best from this are Kae Alexander (Bad Eduction), Diane Morgan (Cunk on Shakespeare) and Sophie Thompson, but as this is a jury situation, it results in there being too many characters, and one or two barely get more than a line in this.
Overall: We The Jury has been found… Guilty! Guilty of crimes against comedy! Sentenced to cancellation!
We The Jury airs tonight on BBC2 at 10pm, but is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. After broadcast, if you missed it, you can watch the episode on BBC iPlayer, up until October 5th, and click on the top-right image in this review for the full-size version.
Director: Ben Taylor
Producer: Josh Cole
Writer: James Acaster
William: Edward Easton
Lucas: Oliver Maltman
Jen 1: Sophie Thompson
Wolf: Vivienne Acheampong
Sam: Kae Alexander
Olivia: Diane Morgan
Mr Martin: David Schaal
Don: Samson Kayo
Hugh: Kenneth Collard
Judge Henman: Maggie Steed
Fiona: Kerry Howard
Courtroom Artist: Alexander Kirk
Kate: Ritu Arya
Bradley the Lawyer: Michael Higgs
Darren the Defendant: Ricky Champ
Beryl: Joanna Brookes
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.