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The Night Manager Cast BBC AMC Roper Birch Pine, John le Carré, Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander, Elizabeth Debicki, Alistair Petrie, Douglas Hodge, David Harewood, Tobias Menzies, Michael Nardone

The Night Manager: a hotel manager is recruited by the British Gov to infiltrate a ruthless arms dealer’s inner circle. I can’t remember the last time the BBC threw this much money, stars, and talent at one project. Yet for such an accomplished cast, it felt like a faux pas to cast the leading lady as a relatively unknown; she struggles to keep up with the big and entertaining performances of villainous Roper (Laurie), heroic Pine (Hiddleston), and vivacious Corky (Hollander). Style-wise, this feels like a very expensive pitch for Loki to become 007: he even has the audacity to order a Vodka Martini in the final episode (WTF M8!?!) It’s all a bit ‘classic Flemming’, boasting the hallmarks of an old-school Bond film; from the decadent credits through to stellar production values and globe-trotting espionage. The disappointment is that it only dips a toe in the Bond waters: the plot’s far-fetched, but not too daft; the villain is dastardly, but not a megalomaniac; the hero is sufficiently heroic, but not an espionage badass… At six episodes, the setup, ending, and central plot of infiltrating an arm’s dealer feel rushed – sacrificing your belief in the story for as much drama, murder, action and boobs that the run-time will allow. The ending also feels quite spineless – turning its back on the pulpy / hardboiled vibe that the story built and opting for a happy, wide-open-for-a-sequel finale. Overall, The Night Manager looks fantastic, and is completely watchable… because it’s actually more of a saucy and sensational spy romp, than the classy espionage thriller it’s presented as.

Score: 7/10

Peep Show Logo, Channel 4, E4, Harvey Danger, Flagpole Sitta

As a British male under 40, there are very few things that unite almost everyone in this demography – a love for Peep Show, is one of those things. To those unfamiliar, it’s a British sit-com about two flatmates that uses First-Person (from the character’s perspective) viewpoints, and their stream-of-consciousness internal thoughts as part of the dialogue.

Peep Show Mark Corrigan - They can laugh, but I win, they think I've pissed myself. They have no clue I came in my pants

I remember being so confused the first couple of episodes – why is it filmed like this? Is he saying this out loud? WTF is going on? But when it clicks it’s seamless. (Not unlike Family Guy’s confusing jumping to unrelated events, timelines, and situations). Essentially, Peep Show is Being John Malcovich, but through the eyes of two atypical British guys.

Peep Show Jez Jeremy Usbourne Vegetarian Chicken fish posh bacon

Most of the comedy comes from the two central characters being wildly opposing personalities; and although they’re almost caricatures – we can all relate to a bit of each of them. One is an uptight, awkward, history boffin loan manager with confidence issues; the other is a happy-go-lucky, idiotic failed-musician / eternal waster. Naturally, these two try to help each other feel more normal, and hijinks / hilarity ensues. We love them because you hear what they think, which is usually what everybody thinks, but society says you shouldn’t say out loud – and you never hear on other shows.

Peep Show Super Hans is the bottom half of me on fire?

What separates the Peep Show style of humour from other comedy series’ is that it’s so awkward & realistic – with some scenes being difficult to watch. The closest thing I can think of is that it’s a bit like Party Down but – being British – has more deadpan/reserved characters and less glamorous settings & scenarios: basically, everyone’s like Roman & Henry.

Peep Show Mark She like me blog it public record

Although it isn’t quite as witty, or well-written, as shows like Arrested Development or Father Ted (the storylines are often a bit clunky) the charm of Peep Show is that it’s grounded, brutally honest and unfiltered – like your own thoughts. Because of this, it can stand proud alongside British TV Comedies like Fawlty Towers, BlackAdder, The Young Ones, The IT Crowd and Mr Bean. If anyone was interested in knowing what It’s actually like being awkwardly British in today’s world, take a look at this.

Peep Show Super Hans You Get a Van, we could be men with ven

As a bonus, I’m from a Scottish City called ‘Aberdeen’, which is name-checked a disproportionately high number of times for a TV show (i.e. way more than once)

 

Peep Show Mark and Jez

Walkout: The Secret World of Arrietty – Despite being a Studio Ghibli film, around the 20 minute mark my two mates and I knew this wasn’t for us. Being a re-telling of The Borrowers, it’s definitely pitched at an audience far younger than us (mid 20s men), it was also quite a slow burner, especially for a kid’s film. The biggest turn off however was the English dubbing – not just because dubbing’s rubbish – but because badass Mark Strong is cast as the dad, and not fighting anything. Hanna the assassin was Arrietty, and Sophie from Peep Show was the mum… maybe it’s just me, but it’s such a strange voice cast? Although not as strange as Will Arnett (!!!) being the American voice of the dad…

Realising this was pretty uncool and that we may have looked like a pack of predators in amongst the screen full kids, we bundled out ASAP, not looking back.

Alternative plans – as it was still relatively early we went to the nearest rock Pub and got our beer on!