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Christmas Tie-in Annual.
on 27 October 2010
You know those 'comedy tie-in' books your parents bought you for Christmas when you were 14? Monty Python Contractual Obligation book, the Goodies annual etc? This is one of those. A nice Christmas bonus for Iannucci (OBE!) and his co-writers, but is it any good for the reader?
Not really. Take the story, the drama and the actors out of 'The Thick Of It' (one of the very best UK comedies) and what is left is not that funny. Basically, this is a book that looks like it has been written by a committee of Comedy Annual Factory Workers using bits of script out-takes and stuff pulled out of the 'Lame Ideas?' box. Example: there is a 3 page dossier called 'Peter Mannion - Attack Points', then a list of illustrated ideas in 'Comedy Annual Format' including 'has floppy hair', 'takes viagra', 'looks like a mass murderer.' Ha Ha! The Mannion character was funny, charming, cynical and, in some ways, quite a decent old cove in the series, but now he has been transported to Comedy Annual Land.
I am not saying you won't find a chuckle or two in here. I quite like the description of Adam Boulton as a 'male Sandi Toksvig with a glandular complaint', but even that is pretty mild stuff. Adam alone, a bigoted, evil toad, deserves a far more savage and considered attack, doesn't he? His bloated, blotchy appearance is not the worst thing about him.
In short, this is a hugely disappointing book that will be gracing charity shops in bulk shortly after Christmas, I suspect. By that time, though, Iannucci and his cohorts will have taken our money as unashamedly as the Coalition government.
(Incidentally, potential buyers looking at reviews on this book should look out for blatant 'publisher's reviews,' written by newly created Amazon accounts. You'll spot them by the way they are written - the kind of publisher's hype you only get in blurbs: 'achingly funny' 'a huge credit to the writers', it made me laugh out loud' etc.)
'Ever had the feeling you've been cheated?' (J.Rotten).