Twenty Twelve Review: Gold

TWENTY TWELVE: Friday 30th March, BBC2, 10pm

The second series of this critically acclaimed mockumentary following the Olympic Deliverance team attempting to organise the Games is equally as hilarious, if a little more self-assured, as its first installment.

With clear inspiration from The Office and Peep Show, the eye-watering awkwardness of the office environment and peculiarity of the individuals who work to “tension the last few guy-ropes and tighten the canvasâ€? of “London’s tentâ€?, as project chief Ian (played by a magnificently downbeat Hugh Bonneville) likes to label the Olympic mission in his customary office jargon, Twenty Twelve is both surreal and delectably quotidian.

The first episode follows a near-diplomatic crisis when the Algerian Olympic Delegation threatens to pull out of the Olympics because the Shared Belief Centre does not face Mecca. France and Morocco become embroiled in the controversy, causing Ian and his team frenziedly to make comments in favour of “multiculturalityâ€? to anyone who will listen.

This results in Ian having to visit the Foreign Office to conduct a disastrous four-way video conference involving Seb Coe and the Algerian representative Dr Benhamadi, in order to avoid “literally a minaretâ€? in the middle of the Olympic Village. The tension and bizarre authenticity of this scene is exquisite.

A wickedly cruel under-secretary of state becomes increasingly frustrated when both his underling taking the Fast-Track programme “at his own speedâ€? and Ian’s hapless employee (who is attending instead of meeting Boris Johnson, because he doesn’t “know any Latinâ€?) fail to get the video links working.

Particularly amusing is Jessica Hynes’ ditzy PR girl, Siobhan, who baffles her haggard colleagues with a reluctance to “whack this racoonâ€? and assertions that they are in “a barrel load of shit hereâ€?. This performance is drolly complemented by Nick, Head of Contracts, a perpetually incredulous Yorkshireman played by Vincent Franklin, who in this episode is hassled by the “sustainableâ€? or “whateverâ€? new hand driers installed in the offices.

Yet the programme’s highlight is the relationship between Ian and his PA and general dogsbody (“I’ll just do your knucklesâ€? – she dabs his hands with a wet cloth during his important phone call) Sally. Olivia Coleman deftly executes this role as discomfited and tongue-tied, bringing complexity and a certain sadness to her character, as we try to work out whether she is madly in love, or simply furious, with her boss.

Making a hilarious mockery of the Olympic preparations, the Deliverance team may even be more fun to watch than the “women’s ping pongâ€?, “Russian Orthodox weightliftersâ€? and athletes who “throw stuffâ€? they refer to as participating in the actual Games.

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