Wednesday, April 02, 2014

What's wrong with W1A?

When I eventually became weary of writing about Westminster for Liberal Democrat News - goodness only knows how my readers felt - I briefly wrote a television column for the party newspaper.

One of the programmes I reviewed in March 2011 was Twenty Twelve - or 2012, as I called it:
2012 (Channel 4) is another attempt at satire, this time dealing with the London Olympics, and it ought to have been celebrating. Its first episode was concerned with a ridiculously complex clock that was designed to count down the hours until the Games begin. A few days later the real Olympic clock that had just been set up in Trafalgar Square broke down. 
A victory for satire? Not quite. While fun, 2012 is far too polite to bite anybody. So much so that Sebastian Coe was willing to appear in it. In allowing this it made itself the Official Satirist of the London Games. The viewer was reminded of the toe-curling occasion when Mrs Thatcher insisted upon starring in a specially written Yes Minister sketch.
As it turned out, Twenty Twelve did grow on me, but not because it offered biting satire of the London Olympics. I liked it because of the strength of the characters and because I even began to care about them. I really wanted to know how they would get on when Hugh Bonneville was in hospital.

Maybe I will grow to love W1A too, but I feel it is inviting us to laugh with the BBC and not at it. If a second series is commissioned, I suspect that the corporation's bigwigs will be queuing up to appear.

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