I must admit from the outset that I am not a fan of BBC Three. Yes it may have produced some hits such as Russell Howard’s Good News, Gavin and Stacey and The Mighty Boosh, but this was also the channel that gave use shows like Snog, Marry, Avoid and kept recommissioning Two Pints of Lager and Packet of Crisps over and over for no fathomable reason. I thus always approach the channel with caution.
However, maybe Josh will fit into the former group of shows. It does feature a pretty impressive cast for starters with Josh Widdicombe in the lead, as a man who suffers one crisis to the next while sharing a flat with his friends Owen (Elis James) and Kate (Beattie Edmondson), and being frequently interrupted by their landlord Geoff (Jack Dee). It also has a good behind-the-scenes team too, with director David Schneider, more famous in front of the camera in shows such as I’m Alan Partridge, and producer Simon Mayhew-Archer, more famous for his work in radio comedy.
In the opening episode Josh and Owen are invited to a pool party. However, Josh refuses to go because he cannot swim (partly due to his allergy to chlorine). Things change however when he accidentally gets an email revealing that an attractive old friend at university seems to have an interest in him. He thus decides to go, but not before Geoff tries to teach him to swim using nothing but an ironing board and latex socks. Meanwhile Kate’s latest date ends badly because of her terrible kissing, so Owen helps to improve the technique of the woman commonly nicknamed “The Nibbler”.
It has already been said by some critics that Josh lacks innovation, and that it does not do anything new with the sitcom format. It a shame that such criticism has been dished out towards it already because there are plenty of funny moments in the show, whether it be Kate reading out an entire list of unflattering kiss-based nicknames, or Geoff going over the top with his demonstration of various swimming strokes, which was personally speaking I think the funniest moment in show, partly due to Dee’s performance and also because of Widdicombe’s reaction to it.
I feel that Josh is certainly worth sticking around for to see where it will go next, but I do see one problem on the horizon, and it is a big one. It is nothing to do with the quality of Josh but it is more a victim of poor scheduling, as next week it goes head-to-head with Channel 4’s critically acclaimed Toast of London. Sadly it is hard to see Josh coming out on top in terms of viewing figures or reviews when compared to it.
Josh is on at 22.30 every Wednesday. Episodes can also be viewed on BBC iPlayer.