Tag Archives: Graham Linehan

Motherland: It’s life, but not as we know it.

motherland 2People kept asking me if I was watching Motherland. In addition to being a mother, I also work with mothers, so it was an obvious question. I did indeed watch it and I enjoyed it, although not as much as I had hoped, nor did I feel the series quite matched up to its pilot. The characters, who appeared there in glorious technicolour, were stretched to their lowest common denominator here.

Take for example, Liz, the sitcom’s only non middle class representative. She must have been toned down, because several people commented on the lack of social diversity, not even noticing she was different. She was still feisty and devil may care, but the quirkiness – which manifested itself in the pilot in a number of ways, such as keeping all her food items in the freezer – seemed to diminish, as she was seen wanly trying to attract one man after another.  Continue reading

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Count Arthur Strong: The windmills of his mind

Count Arthur Strong - SpecialsBulent’s cafe found itself in the middle of a riot this week in Count Arthur Strong, as an angry mob smashed the place up. We didn’t see any of that – it was just a plot device to get the regular cast members to take refuge in the panic room of Bulent’s storage area, where they were subjected to the ultimate horror – Arthur “putting on a little show.”

And what a show it was. Arthur’s rendition of The Windmills Of Your Mind will surely live long in the minds of anyone who witnessed it, but was probably best experienced by Katya, who was asleep at the time.

We’re half way through the current series, and it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in years. It’s pleasingly old-fashioned – the comedy, while occasionally surreal, is firmly based in the characters. Count Arthur Strong himself, as played by Steve Delaney, reminds me of classic comedy characters like Frank Spencer and Basil Fawlty – his own view of himself is totally at odds with how others see him, and this is the source of a lot of the comedy, as is his own special way with the English language. He has excellent support from Rory Kinnear, who plays Michael, the son of Arthur’s old comedy partner. Michael’s life seems rather lonely and empty, so against his better judgement he’s drawn into Arthur’s little world, a lot of which is centred on Bulent’s cafe. Michael’s attraction to Bulent’s sister, Sinem, is one of the continuing story threads.

If you haven’t seen it (and it is on at the same time as Holby these days), get to iPlayer immediately and start watching from episode 1.

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Father Ted Night: Careful now

With remarkably ill-chosen timing, perhaps the only two new home-grown programmes worth watching this festive season were broadcast head-to-head:  Eric and Ernie on BBC2 up against Father Ted Night on C4.  Of course with the joys of iPlayer and 4OD – and I gather some new fangled technology of ‘video-recording’ – one can watch them anytime. But still …

Not being able to cope with Victoria Wood in E&E, I opted for FTN, and the delights of writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, plus many, but inevitably not all, cast members from the finest comedy of the 1990s.

As with all the greats – Fawlty Towers, Rising Damp and Mr Benn – there were remarkably few episodes:  just 25.  That’s little over a season of some US shows.  Within this, they invented a unique comedy – one that clearly has proved hard to live up to for some.

Linehan is the subsequently more successful – having gone on to write the IT Crowd – and has embraced new tech comedy garnering 77,000 followers as @glinner on twitter.

Arthur Mathews gave the impression of being the spitting image and soundalike of their own Most Boring Priest.  Linehan clearly admires him as a comedy god (did the Greeks have a god of comedy?), which is a little lost on the viewers, as he seems to say only the mildest of remarks. Continue reading


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