Reviews, Television

PEEP SHOW – FINAL EPISODE

peep-show-episode-6Who can believe it, it’s finally over. After 12 years and nine fantastic series, Peep Show finally drew to a close on Channel 4 last night, marking the end of an era as we bid goodbye to the El Dude Brothers, this time for good.

Series nine has been another excellent series, with quite a few episodes that are sure to acquire the label of ‘classic’ Peep Show in coming years. The clever writing has allowed us to return and say goodbye to an impressive amount of the characters that have played supporting roles in previous years, and whilst it was disappointing not to see Big Suze or Nancy make a return, it is equally heartening that the writing did not resort to a ‘greatest hits’ medley in its closing episodes.

In the finale Jeremy is turning 40 and struggling to keep up with younger boyfriend Joe, who is an advocate of the hard partying and drug taking that Jez has spent the majority of his life partaking in. The thing is, it’s a young man’s game, and no amount of eating cashews and drinking your own pee (yes, really) is going to take away from the fact that Jeremy is hitting middle age.

imagesMark on the other hand looks like he might be getting his life on track. Granted, he gets fired by Johnson and replaced by old rival Jeff, naturally all at the hands of Jeremy, but it also looks like he might actually ride off into the sunset with April. April was the one all along, and it seems like she might be able to overlook the fact that Mark tried to bury Sophie in a ballpit last week. But alas, this is Peep Show, and there was no way that anyone was going to end up happy. Sitcoms like Friends were all about wrapping things up nicely and allowing everyone their happy ending, but to do so with Mark and Jez would be to go against the grain of what the show was about all along.

So instead we end with things pretty much as they started – all they have is each other – Jez likes how things are, Mark wants him out. April left Mark after it emerged that he had gone along with Super Hans and Jeremy doing a little kidnapping of her husband, Joe left Jez for being unwilling to stay up for a week, and Molly left Super Hans for partaking in the aforementioned kidnapping. Matt King has been undoubtedly one of the best things about this series, and the show as a whole, and his exit was suitably hilarious. As for the El Dude Brothers, we can be sure that they will be continuing to make each other miserable as they embark on middle age.

Here are my five favourite quotes from an episode full of them…

“It’s complicated. We’ll probably never fully understand – like Stone Henge.”

– Jez explains the unexplainable

“Hello Dad, you’re living inside me now, are you?”

– Mark catches himself sounding like his father

“Do I smell corporate lube? Am I about to get organisationally fucked?”

– Mark senses trouble ahead just prior to getting fired

“When I was doing the invites it became clear that you’ve betrayed everyone you’ve ever been close to”

– Mark sheds some light on the revolving door of Jeremy’s friends and lovers

“Bollocks to it. I’m gonna van it to Macedonia, finally set up the moped rental”

– And with that we say goodbye to series favourite Super Hans

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Television

THE IT CROWD: WHERE ARE THEY NOW:

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The IT Crowd was an excellent sitcom that aired for a total of four series on Channel 4 from 2006 to 2010, with a one of special bringing the show to an end in 2013. But what came of the people behind the show, which was based around The IT department at the fictional Reynholm Industries in London? After some investigating (trawling IMDb and the wider internet), I found out…

GRAHAM LINEHAN (CREATOR)

graham-linehan-2.-shaun-webb-photography.1Linehan was already well known in the sitcom world due to his hugely successful shows Father Ted (1995-1998) and Black Books (2000-2004), and by his own admission he took the tried and tested formula he had established in these shows and applied them to the tech world with The IT Crowd. Since the final episode aired in 2013 he created The Walshes (2014), a mini series set in Dublin which aired for three episodes before being cancelled. Since 2013 he has written BBC sitcom Count Arthur Strong with Steve Delaney, who also stars in the show. It has run for 2 series and a total of 13 episodes, with a third commissioned for 2016.

On a more serious note, Linehan also made headlines earlier this year when he and his wife Helen spoke out to campaign for abortion in Ireland, after Helen had an abortion in the UK for medical reasons back in 2004.

CHRIS O’DOWD (ROY)

Chris_O'Dowd_at_British_Comedy_AwardsChris O’Dowd, who played the loveable Roy (a character that Linehan said was based on himself, but was not originally intended to be Irish), has possibly been busy since his days on The IT Crowd, working consistently both in the UK and US. He has had supporting roles in a number of films including Thor: The Dark World (2013), St. Vincent (2014) and Cuban Fury (2014). He had a more significant supporting role in this years The Program, playing David Walsh – a journalist who believed in Lance Armstrong doping allegations for years before it became public knowledge.

In terms of television work, he co-wrote and co-starred in Moone Boy (2012-15), where he played the imaginary friend of a young boy in Ireland. The third series concluded earlier this year, and it is currently unknown if the show will continue. O’Dowd also narrated Irish children’s show Puffin Rock (2015-). One series has aired so far, with another commissioned for next year and currently in production.

Furthermore, the actor has a number of projects expected in 2016 – Loving Vincent and Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiars, the latter of which is based on the 2011 debut of American novelist Ransom Riggs. He has also written the upcoming Adventures of Super Frank, which is expected next year, though details are still decidedly scarce.

RICHARD AYOADE (MAURICE MOSS)

Richard+Ayoade+Submarine+Portraits+2011+Sundance+YATBZXtqkKTlRichard Ayoade, who played the eccentric Maurice ‘Moss’ has also worked fairly consistently since the end of the series. He has written and directed two feature films – The Double (2013) and Submarine (2010). He took over presentation duties of factual show Gadget Man from previous host Stephen Fry in 2012, with the fourth series beginning in June this year. He has also appeared in 6 episodes of Noel Fielding’s Comedy Show (2012-2014) and voiced Mr. Pickles in The Boxtrolls (2014).

Much of his television work is with Channel 4, who he also hosts Travel Man: 48 Hours In… for. Furthermore he voiced Mr. Snowman on the revived series Danger Mouse in 2014 for two episodes.

Ayoade has also been fairly active as a writer and in 2014 released his first book, Ayoade on Ayoade: A Cinematic Odyssey through Faber and Faber and also assisted on the writing of The Mighty Book of Boosh with Noel Fielding.

KATHERINE PARKINSON (JEN BARBER)

Katherine-Parkinson-katherine-parkinson-34556461-800-1000Katherine Parkinson completed the central trio, playing the painfully tech illiterate head of IT and ‘relationship manager’ Jen Barber. She has worked consistently since 2005, generally in guest roles on television series as well as occasional supporting roles in films.

Film roles include How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (2008), St.Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold (2009) and The Boat that Rocked (2009). She has gained more traction in television, landing several series in the last couple of years including The Kennedys (2015) a BBC sitcom set in the 1970s which concluded its first series last month. She also starred in another BBC sitcom, In the Club, last year.

Parkinson has also branched out from her comedic roles, playing Rachel Stein in The Honourable Woman, a political thriller which aired on the BBC in 2014, as well as Channel 4 sci-fi series Humans this year.

MATT BERRY (DOUGLAS REYNHOLM)

Bxe9vTh6Matt Berry portrayed the hilariously inappropriate Douglas Reynholm from series two to the final episode. The role of his father, Denholm (Chris Morris) was originally written for him, but Berry was unavailable when the first series was being shot. This allowed for the entry of his character in series two and arguably only made the show better – bringing in the comedic talents of Chris Morris too.

Berry has worked consistently since, mostly guest starring on a variety of comedy shows in the US and UK. He has played Steven Toast in the critically acclaimed Toast of London since 2012, with episodes currently airing on Channel 4. He also played Beef on House of Fools from 2014-15, appearing in 13 episodes. His one off appearances include It’s Kevin (2013), Portlandia (2013) and Svengali (2013). His film appearances include Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) and voicing Bubbles in The Spongebob Movie: Sponge out of Water (2015).

CHRIS MORRIS (DENHOLM REYNHOLM)

_47179062_morris_apChris Morris played Denholm Reynholm, the hilariously intense boss of Reynholm Industries for the first and part of the second series. He had a small role in The Double (2013) and wrote Four Lions (2010), narrating over the end credits. He is also credited with acting in one episode of Veep in 2012, as well as directing four episodes between 2012 and 2014 and producing three. Furthermore, he wrote an episode of Black Mirror in 2013.

NOEL FIELDING (RICHMOND)

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Noel Fielding only played the goth Richmond in a total of seven episodes across the series, though he inhabited the role so well that he felt like an integral part of the cast in spite of his surprisingly brief number of appearances. Fielding has continued to perform stand up consistently since the end of the show. Fielding wrote The Mighty Boosh (2003 – 2007) as well as writing and starring in Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy from 2012-14. Other work includes being a team captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks from 2009, founding member of alternative music project Loose Tapestries and a number of art exhibitions, making Fielding one of the former cast members with the most varied career path.

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Reviews, Television

PEEP SHOW RETURNS: S9 E1 THE WILLIAM MORRIS YEARS REVIEW

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*SPOILER WARNING – DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE LATEST EPISODE OF PEEP SHOW*

It’s finally back. Three years after they left us hanging, Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb) have returned to give us some closure with the final series of Channel 4’s cult hit Peep Show. Things were left up in the air last series, with the final episode seeing Jeremy declare his love for Mark’s girlfriend Dobby (Isy Suttie) as Mark was attempting to propose, leading to Dobby leaving to take a job working for her ex-boyfriend in New York.

Jeremy doing despicable things to ruin Mark’s life is not a new phenomenon, but this seems to have been the final straw, and the opening episode shows the pair living apart. Six months have passed and Mark, who is working for Johnson again at a mediocre bank, is still pretty angry at Jeremy, who is having trouble with the concept of apologising.  They are brought back together by the now sober and juice obsessed Super Hans’ (Matt King) stag do, but Jeremy is annoyed to discover that Mark has a new flatmate, Jerry (Tim Key). Of course, he sets a plan in motion to get rid of Jerry and reinstate the status-quo, which somehow ends up with kidnapping Jerry in a sleeping bag and waterboarding him with beer, naturally.

It’s sad to think that this is the final series, but it is also a smart decision by everyone involved. They have managed to maintain an admirable level of quality throughout, with a mediocre episode still proving to be better than most shows, but the time seems right to bow out. If this opening episode is anything to go by, it’s going to be a strong finish. The writing, by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, is as hilarious as ever, and the inner monologues provide plenty of laughs throughout.  Matt King is as superb as ever as Super Hans, and he features quite heavily in the episode. This can only be a good thing – most of the classic Peep Show episodes feature him – and it is hilarious to see him trying to settle into conventional life, with the ‘Sober Hans’ idea falling apart as quickly as you would expect.

peep-show-3We also get a nice glimpse of another fan favourite, Johnson, so hopefully there will be more of him to come. Tim Key makes a nice addition as Jerry, who shows Mark he is perhaps more of a commoner than he thought. It strikes reminiscent to other times Mark has tried to make new friends – such as Daryl the racist or sickly Gerard – before finding himself inexplicably drawn back to Jeremy. Their friendship is more like a toxic marriage – all they do is bring each other down, but they seem to escape the miserable cycle for any length of time.

What I have always loved about Peep Show is the way that each episode tends to build up to a totally ridiculous finale that still manages to be believable within the context of the show, and this episode is no different, with the laugh-out-loud sleeping bag incident. The trailers for the series have included glimpses of Dobby, and Olivia Coleman – who plays Sophie – has been pictured on set, so here’s hoping they will be making an appearance soon, as the one thing the opening episode was lacking was the classic situation of Mark and Jeremy hopelessly pining after a woman.

Here are my five favourite quotes from the opening episode:

“Fuck off. I heard The Strokes before you” – Super Hans

Super Hans, well and truly off the wagon and back at his inebriated best when someone accidentally gets in his way.

“I do want Octopussy and a twirl, but I’m not giving him the satisfaction” – Mark

Mark realising Jeremy is onto the fact that he isn’t as high-brow as he likes to think he is.

“I really don’t think you could call my life a failure – look at that, I’ve got a sleeping bag and a duvey. If this was the olden days, I’d be a billionaire” – Jeremy

Jeremy doing what he does best – deluded self justification and a refusal to accept how dire his situation is.

“I can’t just say things Jerry” – Mark

Mark hilariously summing up his social awkwardness when Jerry questions why he must take such a complicated route of action.

“I’m back baby. The bitch is back” – Jeremy

Jeremy celebrates his return to the flat, and to his and Mark’s dysfunctional friendship.

Here are some of my favourite ever Peep Show moments:

You can watch the first 8 series on the channel 4 website.

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