In the UK: Thursdays, 9.30pm, BBC2
In the US: Not yet acquired
Peter Serafinowicz has been quietly lurking, almost invisibly, within many of the good British comedy shows and movies of the last decade. He’s been in Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Look Around You, Little Britain, I’m Alan Partridge, Black Books and more. He’s also king of the voiceover: you may remember him from such shows as South Park, The IT Crowd and Hippies, as well as, most famously, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, in which he played the voice – but not the body – of Darth Maul.
Despite this, he doesn’t get the name-check recognition of the likes of Simon Pegg, Matt Lucas et al. Is this about to change, now he’s got his own show, thanks to the all-powerful YouTube?
Er, maybe. Or, at the very least, more people will try to pronounce his name…
Last night’s opening episode was slightly hit or miss. There were some very funny sketches (the Sillit Bang and QVC spoofs), there were some very funny ideas for sketches that weren’t quite so funny in practice (Clones House) and there were some sketches where you had no idea what Serafinowicz was trying to spoof or why (the piano hands sketch. WTF?).
All the same, the majority of it was amusing or even laugh out loud funny. Serafinowicz turns out to be a ridiculously good impressionist, as well as a good comedy actor, and you wonder why no one’s offered him a job on Dead Ringers.
You’ve got to have quite a silly sense of humour to get the most from the show, and you have to have watched some pretty arse TV in your time as well – Serafinowicz’s memory goes all the way back to Michael Caine’s movie masterclass, so you’re going to have to be of a certain age to get some of the jokes. Not quite a Mitchell and Webb slam dunk, but several leagues above the likes of My Family.
You can view lots of clips and behind the scenes footage at the official BBC site. And on YouTube of course.