Friday, 15 September 2017

W1A

The finely tuned comedy is back for a new series

Written by Ben Felsenburg


Just what is it that makes W1A (Monday, BBC2, 10pm) the best sitcom around by miles? A show in which the BBC merrily mocks its propensity for bureaucracy and jargon shouldBen-Felsenburg-colour-176 be insufferable: as a notion on paper, it invites you to ask why the licence-fee payer should fund the Corporation in an ostentatious display of being a good sport. But as the third series begins, fans know the precisioncrafted dialogue in John Morton’s sublimely lean, mean scripts is about so much more than the world of telly people.

The joy lies in how no one ever says what they mean in the endless meetings at New Broadcasting House and, for a golden cast of performers, every line is a study in thinly veiled emotion. The opening episode is devoted to the business of avoiding accusations of prejudice when a cross-dressing footballer with ambitions in TV proves to be too rubbish at his audition to be taken on. But behind the bureaucratic shenanigans lies a triangle of unspoken feelings between the wonderfully titled Head of Inclusivity, Director of Better and Head of Values – that’s Lucy Freeman (Nina Sosanya), Anna Rampton (Sarah Parish) and Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville). The staccato speech is the fuel for a masterclass in comic timing, and Bonneville and Sosanya do a superlative job of reminding you that behind all the nonsense that consumes their time at work there are real human beings struggling to get out.







NOT TO BE MISSED...

TVCOMP

BLACK LAKE (Saturday, BBC4, 9pm)
The latest instalment of Scandi noir is an eight-part thriller from Sweden, uncovering the terrible secrets of the remote Black Lake Hotel.

CINEMA THOUGH THE EYE OF MAGNUM (Sunday, BBC4, 10pm)
The history of the silver screen, as captured in the photographs of the Magnum Agency, charting stars from Marilyn Monroe to Kate Winslet.

HOW TO STAY YOUNG (Wednesday, BBC1, 10pm)
Angela Rippon is joined by Dr Chris van Tulleken for the latest research on how to stay healthy and young in a three-part series.



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