If any of the writers of Newzoids are paying attention, THIS is how you write a topical comedy show.
Ballot Monkeys is set on the campaign bus for the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, Labour and UKIP (Green’s once again get overlooked), with prospective MPs and campaign workers trying their best at getting their message to the public.
On the Tory bus, campaigner Martin Frost (Hugh Dennis) is getting sick and tired of people liking Boris Johnson; Lib Dem Kevin Sturridge (Ben Miller) is just fed up of everyone taking the credit for everything the Lib Dems have done and getting no coverage except for reversing their view on tuition fees; the Labour bus has problems with their campaign posters, ranging from Ed Miliband decisively stabbing his brother David in the back and portraying David Cameron as a Page 3 Girl; and on UKIP’s battle bus, campaigner Gerry Stagg (Andy Nyman) keeps having to stop candidate Kate Stadnen (Sarah Hadland) from making all sorts of racist cock-ups, such as suggesting Nigel Farage should slay a dragon with a Muslim’s face on it.
Created by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, who have considerable experience in writing sitcoms to a tight deadline with their work on Drop the Dead Donkey, this series certainly made me laugh more than Newzoids did. Despite the fact they are writing to much tighter deadlines than their ITV rivals, Hamilton and Jenkin are able to make a much funnier show. Much of the humour that I personally found best was visual, such as Labour’s poster ideas, or Miller’s character trying to keep calm by looking at a photo of Michael Gove.
There were some nice moments too outside of the visual, such as in the Labour party bus when it was brought up that Chilcot was being delayed and MP candidate Jack Pardew (Trevor Cooper) suggested it would not be released until Tony Blair got Alzheimer’s.
Probably my favourite character in the show was Nyman’s UKIP man trying to keep everything under control, a seemingly impossible task when it seems that just about everyone in the party apart from himself or Farage is a bigot. I hate UKIP personally, but you can’t help but feel sorry for the character.
Of all the satirical comedies that have cropped up during the election so far, this has been the best by far.