Tag Archives: lisa tarbuck

The Grandma’s House Game

Simon Amstell’s new comedy Grandma’s House is marmite TV and I’m on the dark side.

But one aspect which even the most ardent yeast addict admits is that Simon Amstell himself is a truly rubbish actor, which is quite a flaw in a programme centred on him.

So I’ve invented a new game which makes watching Grandma’s House even more fun:  who should actually be playingthe part of  ‘Simon Amstell’?

Here’s my top-of-the-head five:

  • Stephen Mangan: he would bring the right degree of hang-dog put-upon angst to the role.  Plus he’s got the necessary shaggy-haired lost look.  Is he too old for the role?
  • Chris Addison:  brought to mind since two of the gems in this programme are co-stars from The Thick of It – Rebecca Front playing his mother, Tanya, and James Smith her new boyfriend, Clive.  Maybe too clean cut.  But he could also tweet while he’s doing it which would bring a whole new social media dimension to TV comedy.
  • Chris O’Dowd from the IT Crowd:  plausibly lost and distrait.  Plus you can easily see him being put down by his family.  But can he ditch the Irish accent?
  • Benedict Cumberbatch?  Very now.  But no.
  • David Mitchell:  young enough.  Weedy enough.  But not sure he’s actually any better at acting than Amstell.

Alternatively, they could go postmodern and have Simon Amstell played by a different comic actor each week, culminating in a tour de force from Bruce Forsyth – with Lisa Tarbuck being surprisingly good and everyone agreeing that Alexander Armstrong should probably get the  job full-time.

There you go.  Suggestions for the part of Amstell welcome.

Posted by arialbold

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Just a Minute: hesitation, repetition & enjoyable deviation

Jack Dee, in his newish role as chair of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, recently did a brilliant spoof of Just a Minute, and of Nicholas Parsons, mocking the earnestness and the habit he used to have of taking himself too seriously. But I’m not sure that’s true anymore.

Just a Minute has been broadcasting since not long after Radio 4 began. It started in 1967, and Parsons has been hosting it since then. Back in the day, Kenneth Williams was a regular panel member, as were Clement Freud and Derek Nimmo. What I remember from listening to it years ago was that, for a comedy show, it used to be taken very seriously and panel members were extremely competitive, especially Freud.

But as Nicholas Parsons’ gently ages and his grip on those strict ‘rules’ loosens, his panel members have been becoming more mischievous, and there has been a shift in tone. I’ve noticed particularly in recent weeks, increasingly, and very amusing, anarchy in the ranks. It’s my view that the presence of Paul Merton has helped keep the programme vibrant and alive, because he has always taken the piss out of Parsons and his pomposity. That goddess of radio comedy, Linda Smith, was also well capable of being amusingly absurd, and these days, with the likes of regulars like Graham Norton and Sue Perkins -and even Giles Brandreth -what’s become really good fun is how silly the whole programme has become. It’s the subversion of the rules that makes it great.

The audiences seem to be in on the joke, and I’m increasingly thinking Parsons is too. It’s like watching the most marvellous sinking of a radio Titanic, with the whole crew laughing their heads off and having a splendid party as the ship gently sinks into utter, hilarious chaos.

Posted by Inkface

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