Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Has David Brent Gone to Wales? Welcome to Another World of Soundbites (and Toy Sheep)

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Has David Brent Gone to Wales? Welcome to Another World of Soundbites (and Toy Sheep)

Article excerpt

Byline: Susannah Butter The Viewerw

Tourist Trap BBC iPlayer IT DOESN'T make sense. After spending all day in an office, wondering how I ended up here, I made a seemingly illogical choice. I chose to fill my spare time with more desk-based drama, on TV. Was it a mild mutation of Stockholm syndrome? Or just testament to the power of situational comedy? The Office, Alan Partridge and W1A were compulsive viewing because they were so painfully relatable, with familiar colleagues and observations of daily minutiae and catchphrases writ large.

And so to Wow! Wales. In BBC mockumentary Tourist Trap (not to be confused with the 1979 horror film of the same name), we follow the staff of this pioneering organisation as it attempts the challenge of selling the land of leeks and daffodils to the world.

Sally Phillips carries the show as Elaine Gibbons, CEO of Wow! Wales. The exclamation mark was Elaine's idea. They didn't know whether to put it after Wow or Wales but she thinks it's the best thing she's ever done. Elaine mostly talks to us from her desk, which has an "I'm the boss" sign on it, along with the obligatory toy Welsh sheep. You suspect Elaine wouldn't recognise an actual Welsh sheep if it ambled into her office. But she won't let the fact that she hasn't set foot in Wales for 47-anda-half years get in the way of her ambition. Her step-grandmother was Welsh and Elaine can still repeat what she used to say to her, although she has no idea what it means. The subtitles say it's "you little b*tch". Oh Elaine.

The first episode revolves around the opening of a call centre. We meet Elaine's colleagues in marketing, the corporate team and the Abersytwyth branch -- look out for Ronni Ancona's cameo later on in the series. The whole cast never appear together, giving it the feel of a set of sketches.

If you like The Office and The Thick of It, this should fill that gap of selfimportant people speaking in hollow soundbites. …

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