Full English – Review

Full English – Channel 4, Mon 12 Nov, 10.50PM

Spoiler Alert: This show is terrible. The next few paragraphs will explain why, but those five words are an accurate representation of the show’s writing as well as a synopsis of its merit.

There will be no apology for spoiling the plot of the first episode, because even if you haven’t yet seen it animated in two dimensions and colour co-ordinated by every Premiership referee who ever wronged your team with his inadequate eyesight, the premise has long lost any humour it once had.

To try and develop 25 minutes of comedy from the clichéd insight that a personal, often manipulatively emotional narrative on a reality TV show is more important than the contestant’s talent is to beggar belief. Any attempt to parody a script that has existed in its current form for nine series and been derided for much longer is going to struggle unless it can re-invent the genre.

An episode with this storyline might be acceptable as a fifth or sixth episode when the writing staff is struggling to come up with new material in a success-shortened time frame, but as a series pilot it promises nothing but black box memories.

This new sitcom is clearly trying to reach the same audience that Family Guy does in the US; but Full English’s ‘edgy’ humour only extends to a borderline homophobic quip about dance groups on X Factor “with urban names to make them sound less gay.” Yet homophobia is only genuinely controversial if you are so sheltered that you don’t believe that it still exists.

At least when Roy Chubby Brown and others perform their illiberal routines, they’re preaching to the same choir that failed to elect Mitt Romney; a demographic so close to death that any change is treated like an assassination attempt. It doesn’t even have the “Moylesâ€? defence of modern interpretation where the word is used to mean “uncool,â€? only the kind of incisive gender stereotyping common to drill sergeant motivational speakers.

Fundamentally, Full English is a poor imitation of ‘Monkey Dust’ for an audience too young to stay up long enough to watch it, and too old to be conned into persevering with something this mediocre.

If any good can come from this characterless sitcom, it is the certainty that at least one child will see it and conclude that if this is all that is required to get a series commissioned, their dreams are well within reach.

Nick Arthur