Murder in Successville is by far and away one of the most unique programmes of its day. If you’re not familiar with the BBC Three show’s format, it’s quite difficult to describe… however let me inevitably try. It’s a Sin City-esque neo-noir Detective show, part-scripted and part-improvised, featuring an abundance of “celebrities” (played by actors) and one real celebrity (playing themselves). DI Sleet (played by Tom Davis) takes a celebrity guest under his wing in each episode; training them up as the new rookie detective. The celebrity guest is usually not a professional actor themselves and is thus forced to improvise clumsily along with Sleet and co.
Just watch it.
This season premiere sees Richard Osman as our special guest, with Osman being subjected to a murder investigation and art heist. The victim of the murder? Bjork of course! I suppose her zany Icelandic charm only goes so far. A priceless “Bronze Gnome” art piece has simultaneously been stolen from right under Sleet and Osman’s noses: now they’re after a thief and a killer!
Osman and Davis make an amusing team in this episode, with Osman’s dry wit beautifully contrasted with Davis’ larger-than-life performance as DI Sleet. Many of the celebrity impersonations in this premiere also hit the mark for me, most notably a brief one of Bill Nighy.
I think my favourite thing about this episode of Murder in Successville is that I got to see Richard Osman call Arsene Wenger a “wank stain”. Classic.
If you’re confused, you should be. That’s what this play-it-by-ear show is best at.
Murder in Successville is available on BBC iPlayer.