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Comedy Acting Masterclass,
This review is from: Twenty Twelve - Series 1-2 [DVD]  (DVD)
This two-series (13-episode) spoof (or mockumentary) on the preparations for the London 2012 Olympics is, for me, the funniest comedy series since The Thick Of It. Written and directed by John Morton (the creator of the similarly hilarious People Like Us), Twenty Twelve does not quite match the quality of the caustic satire of Armando Iannucci's creation, nor the vast array of comic actors that The Thick Of It was able to marshal over its 24 episodes, however, with its take on organisational incompetence, unlikely coincidence and 'office-speak', it is not far short.
Certainly, its core cast of six characters is (for me) right up there with the lead players in series such as The Thick Of It and The office. Hugh Bonneville's is probably the pivotal (and funniest) performance here as Head of Delivery, Ian ('It's all good') Fletcher - his dead-pan delivery and reluctance to be flustered no matter whether he has Seb Coe or Boris Johnson shouting down the mobile at him is a joy to behold. Not far behind Bonneville is Jessica Hynes' 'PR disaster' Siobhan Sharpe ('from PR firm Perfect Curve', the dulcet voice of narrator David Tennant repeatedly reminds us) - Sharpe's dumb, rambling incoherence and unwillingness to make any positive contribution must have been a living nightmare for all watching fellow PR consultants. Thereafter, each of Vincent Franklin's dour Yorkshireman (is there any other type, I hear you ask?) and Head of Contracts, Nick Jowett, Amelia Bullmore's nervy Head of Sustainability, Kay Hope, and Karl Theobald's incompetent geek and Head of Infrastructure, Graham('What? This Friday?') Hitchins, are all excellent. And then to round off this sterling assemblage we have one of the UK's great acting talents, Olivia Coleman, as Ian's (very) personal assistant, Sally Owen, whose 'serious' turn here hints at undercurrents of real romantic tragedy.
In addition, the series also featured 'guest appearances' (some more successful than others, admittedly) by Tim McInnerny as a 'manic eco-warrier', Tony Ward, plus the likes of Darren Boyd, Nitin Ganatra, Vicki Pepperdine and Ingrid Oliver. In addition, Seb Coe also appears as himself - for which I think the man should be congratulated on being a 'good sport'.
I was quite surprised to learn just how many people managed not to catch Twenty Twelve on its original BBC2 transmission - but certainly, if you are a fan of The Thick Of It or just cutting-edge comedy, it is essential viewing.