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TV Critics

TV Critics: Derek; Hairy Bikers; Eyes Down!The Story of Bingo; 30 Rock; Bob Servant Independent

” I find Derek irritating, and that makes me feel like a heel.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

Derek (C4)

“If he were a curly-haired child, you’d want to slap him. But he’s a 50-year-old man with an undiagnosed mental health problem, so he’s allowed to get away with it. Ricky Gervais seems deeply attached to his creation, but I find Derek irritating, and that makes me feel like a heel.”
Tim Dowling, The Guardian

“If you’d asked me, I wouldn’t have brought Derek back for a series. To my mind, the pilot of Ricky Gervais’s comedy about an assistant in a retirement home had already fully explored its awkward – and testing – balance of comedy and emotion. But then again, I didn’t get The Office on my very first viewing, a series that confronted audiences with a similarly unlabeled mix of empathy and mockery.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

“Gervais’s Derek makes Chaplin’s Tramp look pathos- free, there are good performances in the show, particularly from Karl Pilkington as the uppity odd-job man, but Gervais’s is not one of them. As for the old folk, they are undifferentiated, huggable dearies, upon whom gooey sentimentality is ladled to soppy piano music. There is a comedy to be made about nursing and aging, but it’s called, Getting On.” 
Andrew Billen, The Times

Hairy Bikers (BBC2)

“The Hairy Bikers must be contenders for the hardest working men in show business. Their latest series is their 10th. At this rate they’ll soon have to start filming their lives in real time… They’ve never really been political (although they both have a tattoo of Che Guevara on their arms), or even prescriptive. Which is good, because I invariably end up watching them cook with a takeaway on my lap.”
Tim Dowling, The Guardian

Eyes Down The Story of Bingo (BBC4)

“The commentary for Eyes Down! The Story of Bingo claimed that, “It would be impossible to grow up in Britain and not know a single bingo call.” I doubt that frankly, but this was an enjoyable slice of social history anyway, chronicling bingo’s transformation from mild diversion to a very big business indeed.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

30 Rock (Comedy Central)

“Back after a mid season break, everyone on this sitcom is stupid, intellectually or emotionally, often both… Stupidity is 30 Rock’s great insight into corporate life, but the writing- intricate, detailed, character based- has an IQ rising of 150.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

Bob Servant Independent  (BBC4)

“The Hero of Bob Servant Independent is as enormously stupid as he is enormously venal, egotistical, self deluded. Writer Neil Forsyth barely takes a position on him, sympathetic or antagonistic. Rather we sit back and experience the force of nature unleashed by Brian Cox’s performance as the Scottish burger magnet turned politician.”
Andrew Billen, The Times


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