Ah, the Olympics. I feel like for the next three months we’re going to have people (and by “people”, I mean tabloid newspapers) moaning non-stop about them, and how nothing’s ready, how much money it’s costing, all the “blaaaady foreigners” in London, how rubbish the public transport is, blah blah blah, and yet, as with the Royal Wedding last year, when they actually happen, everyone’ll get caught up in it, and it’ll be a huge success. You just watch.

Anyway, mocking the Olympics, the build up, and the preparations in an all together more British way (i.e. passive-aggressively) is the BBC’s amazing sitcom “Twenty Twelve”. Focusing on the hapless group at the Olympic Deliverance Commission, everything about it is pitch perfect, from the cast, to the writing, to just the general annoyingly hopeless feel that comes with trying to get anything sensible done in any office, ever.

Hugh Bonneville (off of Downton Abbey, and being a rubbish pirate in Doctor Who) leads as Ian Fletcher, a nice, put upon man, the sort you always see on BBC News desperately trying to spin whatever cock up has happened most recently, all the while using pointless “office-talk”. So that’s all good.

The magnificent Jessica Hynes (off of my favourite sitcom of all time, Spaced, and being very very amazing in Doctor Who) is head of brand (PR, basically), Siobhan Sharpe, a fantastic comic creation, never knowing how ridiculous and stupid she sounds, as she demands a jingle to be played over and over again, or tries to get the point of a stupid giant clock explained without losing face with the “cool” artist.

The supporting cast includes Karl Theobald (Martin from Green Wing) as a irritating (in a good way) moron, who happens to be head of infrastructure, Vincent Franklin (from The Thick of It) as a no-nonsense northerner (choice quote: “I’m not from the sanitary world, I’m from Yorkshire”) and Amelia Bullmore (from Ashes to Ashes and Scott & Bailey) as Kay Hope, the shrewish, neurotic head of sustainability NOT legacy. Apparently those two things are entirely separate, and she really thinks that actually.

Until recently, there was an amazing romantic subplot between Ian and his superwoman assistant Sally (played to perfection by Olivia Colman who I entirely adore) but since she left midway through the current series, and has been replaced by Samuel Barnett from the History Boys, it looks like that’s gone out the window. Which is a shame, since I loved it. Maybe next series?

Storylines have included a breakdown of the aforementioned giant clock (which actually happened in real life the day after the episode was first shown, amazing), a possible boycott by Muslim countries over problems with the religious buildings, and what to do with the Olympic Stadium after the games are done (again, something that’s been struggled with in the real world, making the completely genuine conclusion that bit funnier). It’s these parallels with the real world that keep it on the side of believability, which in sitcoms is all too rare. Seb Coe has already made a couple of guest appearances, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Boris Johnson pop-up before too long, despite all the jokes they make at his expense.

The last episode of the current series is on tonight at 10pm on BBC2, but the whole series is on BBC iPlayer for another week. I’ve heard that a third series has been promised to be shown before the Games actually happen too, so that’s all good. It really is very good indeed, and has only blossomed in this, it’s second series.


About rmdbutler

2007 Brit Award nominee for Best International Female
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