Gigglebox Weekly #62
This week Ian Wolf looks at post-65 vulvas and quite possibly the anti-Top Gear.
Probably the best comedy drama currently on television, the third series of Getting On is still getting the laughs, although there’s been quite a few changes.
For starters, the staff have been transferred to a new, brighter hospital. But this hasn’t stopped Nurse Kim Wilde (Jo Brand), Sister Den Flixter (Joanna Scanlan) and Dr. Pippa Moore (Vicki Pepperdine) each – in their own way – trying to cope with their workload and each other. Their former matron, Hilary Loftus (Ricky Grover), has also now taken a consultancy role in the hospital, meaning he’s just background noise – though he could have a say in who the hospital keeps as staff…
Most of the laughs come from the relationships between the three lead characters, helped along by solid acting and some cracking writing. Pippa had the best scenes in this opening episode, especially when chatting to some student doctors in the hope that they’d be interested in her latest medical project: an examination of “post-65 vulvas”. Wonderfully funny, if slightly icky.
The drama is also coming off well, especially between Den and Hilary. This episode sees the staff going for medical check-ups, which sees Den discovering something shocking. I’ll say no more.
Getting On’s one of the best shows around, but as it is hidden away on BBC Four it’s not given as big a profile as other shows. Maybe it might be time for a move to BBC Two?
Another comedy drama on another digital channel, but Switch has its work cut out. Mainly because it’s on is ITV2, which is quite possibly the worst TV channel in the country.
Switch is a supernatural comedy about a coven of four 20-something witches living in Camden. Each of the four witches, physiotherapist Grace (Phoebe Fox), travel loving Hannah (Hannah Tointon), fiery fashionista Jude (Nina Toussiant-White) and overworked Stella (Lacey Turner), each have their own problems – whether it is love, family relations or work – so not surprisingly they often end up using their magic to try and improve their lot, and more often than not it backfires.
In terms of laughs, it’s somewhat thin on the ground. While the team behind the series have good experience with this kind of format (the show is made by the team who did Being Human), it all felt a bit thin. Part of the problem, I think, is that it’s not in the right time slot. The target audience appears to be young women and girls, so why not make the show pre-watershed so that it could reach a bigger audience – and hopefully Switch would benefit from that.
The older actors, the authority figures in Switch, were the funniest – including Grace’s old fashioned mother played by Caroline Quentin. There were also some good laughs from Stella’s horrid boss Janet (Amanda Drew), who’s placed under a spell to make her lose her short-term memory; but in the end makes her forget several decades. Good stuff.
There’s one or two positive moments in Switch, but by and large it was a disappointment. That said, I think I’d recommend anyone reading this to watch Switch for two main reasons. Firstly (since just about everything else on the channel is rubbish), it’s the best show currently on ITV2. By watching it, we might just encourage the executives at the network to buck up their ideas.
And secondly, as I mentioned before, the show is mostly targeted at young women. This is how Switch should be marketed. Forget the witches or merchandising. Just say that this is the show that could make Jeremy Clarkson’s eyes bleed and you could well end up with a big hit.