Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pick of the Night:

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pick of the Night:

Article excerpt


Comedy Connections 10.35pm, BBC1 Comedy Connections is a superb show for fans of television history; however, sometimes the stories behind the show in question are so bound up in comedy past that an annoyingly small amount of time is spent on the actual programme in question.

The participants also have a tendency to be a little: "Dahling, it was all simply marvellous."

In the case of The Office, though, brainchild of Ricky Gervais (right, as the Office's David Brent) and Stephen Merchant, there isn't a massive back story because the cast didn't make their telly names in sitcoms of the Seventies.

The idea for The Office in fact came from a film co-writer Merchant made in 1998 as part of a BBC graduate-training scheme, a spoof docusoap about a character called "seedy boss" created by his mate and former XFm colleague Gervais.

Of course, as we all know, Gervais and Merchant's bookshelves now groan under the weight of the awards The Office received.

Fair enough - and, according to their interview here, they seem to have remained reasonably downto-earth about their success.

Although the awkward expressions on the face of whichever one isn't directly addressing the camera are almost as funny as Brent's Comic Relief dance.

The Grumpy Guide to Food and Wine Ugly Betty 9pm, Channel 4 Balls of Steel 11.05pm, Channel 4 Lordy be - we didn't think another variant on the Grumpy Old Men theme was possible (although, producers, if you're reading, we think Grumpy Old Cats has potential, if little scope for action sequences).

Anyway, this time, the moans have been arranged by subject, which means men, women and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen can all have a turn at whingeing.

Our first subject is food, drink and posh restaurants, and the signs are initially good: Nigel Havers opens with: "I don't really do what's known as 'posey balls food'."

Brilliantly grumpy stuff. However, it takes a while for the remaining grumpies to get into their stride. …

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