People Like Us follows inept reporter Roy Mallard (Chris Langham) as he explores a different job in each episode. In this, the first season, he visits the manager of a large company, a real estate agent, a police officer, a school master, a photographer, and a lawyer. Written by John Morton and based on the BBC Radio show, People Like Us is a perfect example of how television *should* be. The scripts are superb, John Morton weaves an unbelievable number of jokes throughout the show (pay particular attention to Roy's narration). A good script alone doesn't make a great show, but luckly for People Like Us, it's also blessed with wonderful actors. Chris Langham (Kiss Me Kate), the show's only recurring character, fits the role of Roy Mallard perfectly. The actors who portray Roy's subjects, or should that be victims, are of the highest quality. Look for future stars such as Sarah Alexander (Coupling). This first series of People Like Us- while not a huge hit- won much critic acclaim. The show only got better with the second series, but sadly it looks as if there won't be a third. I heard rumors that Morton wrote a third series which took place in America, but the BBC turned down the show. Buy this DVD, you won't regret it, and maybe the sales of the DVD will send a message to the BBC -We want more People Like Us.
"In the outside world outside, lessons have finished and all the pupils have gone home, with the exception of those who are still here."
The use of language throughout is subtle, dry, and quite brilliant. A photographer who it's suggested might have a physical attraction to his younger female lodger (and model) is "already hard at work" - the nuance employed in this series is impressive.
Aside from Chris Langham, who wrote for The Muppet Show and starred in Not The Nine O'Clock News and The Thick Of It, the supporting cast is an unbelievable array of talent, some of them in tiny roles: Sarah Alexander (Green Wing, Coupling) Mark Heap (Green Wing, Spaced, Brass Eye) Julia Davis (Brass Eye, Jam) David Cann (Jam, Brass Eye) Jessica Hynes nee Stevenson (Spaced, Twenty-Twelve) Tom Goodman-Hill (Ideal) Emma Kennedy (This Morning With Richard Not Judy, The Smoking Room) Owen Brenman (One Foot In The Grave) Jennifer Hennessy (Psychoville, The Office) Rebecca Front (The Day Today, The Thick Of It) Simon Greenall (I'm Alan Partridge 1 & 2) Felicity Montagu (I'm Alan Partridge 1 & 2) Vicki Pepperdine (Getting On) James Lance (I'm Alan Partridge 1, The Book Group) Tamsin Greig (Green Wing, Black Books) Bill Nighy (Shaun of the Dead) Melanie Hudson (The Armando Iannucci Shows, Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge) Tony Gardner (The Armando Iannucci Shows, The Thick Of It) Kim Wall (Heartburn Hotel, Big Train) Dave Lamb (Goodness Gracious Me, Come Dine With Me narrator) Beth Goddard (Gimme Gimme Gimme) Peter Gunn (Heartburn Hotel)
I was already a massive Alan Partridge/Brass Eye fanatic and couldnt believe my luck when i found something funnier drier and smarter. I have never laughed so much or so often....first time i saw the joy that is Roy Mallard on TV I actually thought it was a real documentary which only reflects its brillance...People Like Us is superb understated and brutally hysterically true ...from the over zealous PA in the Managing Director Epsiode to the folically challenged police big wig in the Police Officer Episode...The memory lapse client in the Solictor Epsiode...the progressive pupil centred teaching in the Headmaster Episode... and not forgetting the postcode hitler in the Estate Agent Episode (my personal favourite). You know someone like that or wish you did..... This is unmissable for anyone with a sense of humour...and will cure anyone else who hasnt....I see something new everytime I watch. I defy you not to want a Roy of your own after seeing this....
Cleverly scripted and brilliantly performed (often by actors little known at the time but who have gone on to make names for themselves), filled with characters so concerned with their own little world they barely notice anyone passing through. This is the kind of programme where you need to concentrate or you'll miss so many of the jokes that are littered about - "I go to the gym on average twice a week, but usually more often than that". Every time you watch it you notice something else you missed last time round...
If you didn't catch this when it first aired on the BBC you missed a real treat! These days it seems impossible to escape the endless barrage of reality and fly on the wall 'documentary' shows that dominate our TV sets. Chris Langham gives this tedious, mind-numbing format a comic twist. Playing an incompetent interviewer he introduces us to 'people like us' in six familiar 'reality' type settings. Highly recommended - an excellent choice for anyone with a love for satirical comedy!
Coming along before The Office, The Thick Of It, Twenty Twelve and so on, this series seems almost forgotten, which is a real pity. Shot, like those later shows, as a spoof documentary series, there's not an episode here that isn't great. Chris Langham plays the role of interviewer of professionals as they go about their daily business. Langham is never seen on camera, though fleeting glimpses of reflections or parts of his body can sometimes be seen, and has the unhappy knack of offending people, misunderstanding them or being misunderstood by them, or all three. His character is generally pitiable in some way, with running gags including repeatedly spilling drinks all over his trousers, or the utter incredulity of his interviewees that he is actually married. But it's the deadpan delivery of most of the script, and the hapless "professionals" who seem anything but, which make it so brilliant. All the episodes hit the mark, but particular favourites are the bitter and incompetent estate agent, the headteacher (living with 2 people who work in schools it's worrying how so much of what was farce in 1999 is now reality in 2012), and the policeman. The gag in the latter with the fax machine is absolutely hysterical...
A second series followed and is now available on DVD at last. It is also excellent, if not quite scaling the heights of the superb first series.
I watched this series on television years ago and never forgot it so decided to buy it and really wasn't disappointed in the slightest! I sat down and watched it from start to finish twice and laughed all the way through.
It doesn't have the cringing embarrassment of The Office (although I love that programme too) and I enjoy the variety of characters and situations. Brilliantly clever script and use of language.