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"No, really....it's all good",
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This review is from: Twenty Twelve - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
The first series of this (fairly) gentle spoof documentary ran for six 30-minute episodes, and just about manages to avoid outstaying its welcome by the end.
A decent premise, a superb ensemble cast, some (mostly) sharp writing, and an easy pace characterise Twenty Twelve. It's actually better than I expected it to be, but perhaps not quite as brilliant as its makers might have hoped. There are many, many more bullseyes than fluffed shots, however. No really, it's all good.
As reality is currently doing its very best to emulate any farcical situations in this programme (the episode with a coachload of freshly-arrived foreign dignitaries being driven around London for several hours come to mind!), Twenty Twelve does have its work cut out to find continually amusing satire. Most of the time, it manages a neat line in dry, straight-faced humour, with recurring visual gags and repeated verbal ticks and phrases from each of the protagonists. David Tennant's voiceover provides the narrative drive, while the cast all play it totally straight.
Hugh Bonneville is on excellent form as the team's leader, a decent man under intense pressure who is fully commited to his job but never truly believes the touchy-feely, politically-correct jargon he has to endure, and at times, pass on to the media. Jessica Hynes is wonderfully odious as an oh-so-fashionable PR guru, completely lacking in self-awareness, real insight...or manners. Amelia Bullmore is possibly the biggest surprise, as head of Sustainability and Legacy ("NOT the same thing!"), a beautifully-judged and likeable performance that avoids mean-spiritedness at every turn. Fans of Olivia Colman will also enjoy her continual, low-key presence as the shy but extremely resourceful PA to Hugh Bonneville's Ian Fletcher.
In fact, the only thing that could cause offence in the whole of Twenty Twelve is the fairly regular bad language; a common thing these days, by and large it is saved for comic effect (the final episode is particularly high on the F-word, thanks to a tour-de-force of ill-tempered rage from guest star Tim McInnery).
Overall, there is a lot to like and to enjoy on this DVD, although the extra features are very thin on the ground and its total running time of under 3 hours is less than a lot of similar series boxsets nowadays. Personally, I felt it began to run out of steam towards the end, but maybe that's because the first 4 episodes are solid gold satire and my expectations were raised so high.
Series 2 should at least be worth watching.