on 6 April 2006
This gem was originally shown on the Beeb about 2-3 years ago (why so long to come out on DVD?), so it's a job to remember the details exactly, so please forgive me if I don't get this quite right. The gist of this is, that the character from 'The Fast Show' - Billy Bleach ("someone's sitting there mate") played by Simon Day has been given his own spin off series, where he has to be put on a witness protection programme, because he witnessed a murder. He is moved to a remote cottage in deepest Norfolk (I think?) along with a gormless but highly likeable local policeman, and then later on joined by a further two policemen who turn out to be gay. One is youngish, good looking and intellectual, and the other one is grumpy, middle aged and a tough, no nonsense northerner. Billy Bleach gets to meet all manner of eccentric oddballs in the local village, plus he has a love interest in this - a middle class vet who's bored with her mundane existence. The thing that I really liked about this, was that it charmed me, it made me laugh, it was well written and it also had lovely scenery to boot.
on 7 August 2007
More than a sitcom, Grass is a lovingly crafted work of fiction. A story so compelling, with such rich and well rounded characters that you'd think it was based on a book. This is even more amazing if you think that Grass is in fact based on a Fast Show sketch... I love Fast Show, but it's truly unexpected that a great little character like Billy Bleach could end up being fleshed out into this delightful, funny, touching and even sexy (courtesy of the wonderful Josephine Butler) series. It's a pity that the very talented Charlie Higson didn't follow Simon Day's path in the way he turned his amazing Swiss Tony Fast Show character into a series. Where Day (with the help of the great Andrew Collins) goes for the risky, artful path, Higson went for the easy old-fashioned-sitcom-with-laughs and it tanked. Grass is much more in the vein of what Higson did with the Ted and Ralph TV movie spin-off: a much more literate, dignified and ultimately funny work. Don't miss it: Grass is a perfect little gem of a series.