Friday, 9 January 2015

"Count Arthur Strong" Series 2 and 3, BBC

If it wasn't that Graham Linehan was involved, I would never have started watching Series 1. It is 'an acquired taste'.
Rory Kinnear is a wonderfully versatile actor (I saw him last as Frankenstein's creature in "Penny Dreadful"). He has his dad's comic timing (Roy Kinnear). The cafe owner, Bulent, is a trick.
There are some fun malaprops (e.g. Arthur's "racist" book in Episode 1) and linking "Carry On Cruising" with "Captain Phillips" made me smile, but not enough to sustain a half hour comedy. Perhaps Episode 2 will win me over. What is Michael writing?
Episode 2 was much stronger, cleverly structured with a particularly funny flashback involving street urchins from "Oliver", 60's mods and "The Great Escape".
Episode 3 (Arthur dabbles in local politics "We're Listening") tried to stretch 29 minutes with one joke.
The series final, Episode 7, "Fame at last", had a sweet ending but the jokes again were drawn out and predictable.
The studio audience laughing uproariously at anything vaguely funny was grating. There must have been booze laid on before the taping.
Update Series 3
I just gave the first episode of Series 3 a try and was pleasantly surprised - mad make-up, spooky ventriloquist dummies, "grandpa drinking" and Michael dancing to Soft Cell.
Episode 2 - Kevin Klein underpants, "that Brian Cox feeling" and Don Arthur Corleone made me laugh a lot. Beautifully structured episode with a great final gag.
Episode 3 sees Arthur transformed from farting murder-mystery corpse into crack detective, thanks to Martin Clunes and a double decker bus.
Episode 4 was more surreal than usual - an assault course for babies, Barry Norman's pickled onions, a WW1 soup cannon and Archimedes's bathtime urethra moment.
When was the last time someone mentioned "The Onedin Line"? Episode 5 is full of nostalgic references - Clannad, The Beatles on the rooftop, Paul Newman in "The Hustler" - topped off with a guest appearance by "John Shuttleworth" (Graham Fellows).
P.S. Never share a bed with Arthur.
In "Safari Park" (Episode 7, season finale) we have the classic fire in the car/lions outside dilemma. Ann Summers lingerie saves the day.

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