Two Doors Down ~ Series Four Episode One

One of the best television comedy series is BACK, which means that BBC Two is the place to be at 10pm on a Monday night! Two Doors Down is unmissable comedy and a fabulous way to kick-start January.

The series kicked off in hilarious style with Beth (Arabella Weir) and Eric (Alex Norton) supposedly off out for a romantic meal to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary – however unbeknownst to them their son Ian (Jamie Quinn) has arranged a surprise party in their home. Co-hosted and catered by Ian’s over-eager partner Gordon (Kieran Hodgson), all the gang are there to celebrate the occasion. The gang being neighbours; sloshed Cathy (Doon Mackichan) who’s taking every opportunity to steal kisses from an unwitting Gordon, Cathy’s husband Colin (Jonathan Watson) is on hand with his usual selective blindness to his wife’s shenanigans, newer neighbours Alan (Graeme Stavely aka Grado) and Michelle (Joy McAvoy) are also present – the former in his own bubble of inappropriateness while the latter is both bewildered and ever-more assertive. Christine’s also there of course, plus her trifle which is her idea of a suitable anniversary gift as she had the tins of fruit cocktail doing nothing!

There’s a brilliant game of Mr and Mrs – cue the theme tune – which has been created by Gordon and is ever so slightly sabotaged by Beth’s unwillingness to answer all of the questions he has prepared as well as Michelle’s interruption with her own question. With the wedding theme at the heart of the topic, Cathy is pushing everybody’s buttons in her usual way, sniping at Michelle unnecessarily and causing awkwardness between Ian and Gordon when she asks Gordon if he would say yes to a proposal of marriage from Ian. Awkwardness aside, it was a pleasure to see the lovely, easy chemistry between Beth and Eric, perhaps demonstrating why they’ve been married for thirty years.

The episode is peppered with dirty dancing from Cathy and Colin, frequent demands from Christine for the trifle to be eaten and uneasiness from Michelle while Alan has no fear of making his opinion known, happy to declare that isn’t interested in Beth and Eric’s wedding album.

Two Doors Down so far seems to be living up to its reputation for brilliant observational comedy, cringe-worthy moments and fantastic characterisation. Long may it reign!

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Entertainment Views Interview: Versailles Star, Catherine Walker

BBC Two’s Versailles has recently enjoyed a third series, did you catch it? Based on the life and times of Louis XIV it stars the inimitable Catherine Walker in the role of Madame de Maintenon. Catherine chatted to Entertainment Views about the recent series and the extraordinary character she plays (wonderfully, in our humble opinion!).

Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Catherine. Tell me about the latest series of Versailles and how you feel your character has grown.

The latest series of Versailles looks at the path to absolute power. France is expanding its empire and Louis is unstoppable in his ambition. however he comes up against the church and the growing unrest of the protestants and the people of France who are suffering economically as a result of these ambitions. Maintenon is integral to this as she guides Louis on the path of Absolutism with her unwavering and zealot like belief in the divine right of Kings. There is also at the heart of the series the mystery of the man in the iron mask a secret which could unravel the very bedrock of the throne

What was your opinion of your character back when you first read the script?

When I first read the scripts I was fascinated by this women, who when we first meet her is nothing more than a nanny to the kings children, during season 3 she becomes the most powerful women in Europe. Its a fascinating trajectory. She was not of nobility but there’s was a very true love, a meeting of minds and of equals. She was the great strength behind the throne.

Why do you think Versailles has picked up such a strong following?

I think Versailles has picked up a strong following because it is such a rich story with brilliant well drawn characters. When you are working on actual historical figures they are so far beyond what could be imagined fictionally. It is also such an aesthetically beautiful and sumptuous period. It is a visual feat for the audience and the attention to detail is unparalleled.

What are the challenges of your role?

The challenges of my role was getting into the mind-set of someone who is so zealot like in their beliefs. She is a devout catholic and absolutely believes that Louis is in direct line to God. It was important to get to the root of that because all her decision making comes from there and that can lead to some very dark places as you will see in the series.

What would you say to current viewers to encourage them to stick with it?

For current viewers, I would say the series will keep surprising you.  This is the ultimate series and the conclusions for all the characters won’t disappoint. There is much still to come!

What would you say to potential new viewers to entice them to start watching it?

For new viewers I would say it’s a world that has to be seen to be believed, and much of it is based on truth. It is a rich story, beautifully told, with a great cast of characters,  filled with intrigue and darkness – but there was also much fun to be had at Versailles – they knew how to party!

Finally, if you could play any other character in the series, who would it be and why?

If I could play another character in the series it would have to be the Chevalier. Maintenon is so strict in her beliefs she doesn’t get to let her hair down and go to the party…so that would be fun.

Huge thanks to Catherine for a superb interview!

Versailles series 3 and 1-3 box set arrive on DVD 13 August

 

Photo Credits: BBC Pictures

Two Doors Down, Series Three, Episode Six ~ Review

New neighbours! Just the ticket to round off what has been a phenomenal series of the hit television comedy. The highlight of my Monday evening which will be much missed. If you haven’t watched this third series of Two Doors Down, you have missed a treat. Surely a fourth series will be on the horizon. Here’s the low-down from Eric, Beth, Colin, Cathy, Christine and the people who’s moved in across the road…

Alan & Michelle

Two new characters are introduced into the street and they’re soon being welcome into Beth (Arabella Weir) and Eric’s (Alex Norton) home. They’re invited there by Christine (Elaine C Smith). Alan (Graeme Stavely) and Michelle (Joy McAvoy) seem to be a fairly ‘normal’ couple, Michelle’s worried about making a good impression – Alan doesn’t seem bothered either way! Not too long into the episode, we discover that Alan likes his food (eating three twixes one after the other is one example!) and thinks he’s scored when Beth says he can have a hot drink and a Fanta! Michelle, meanwhile is clearly embarrassed by his ‘devil may care’ attitude and also has her hands full when Cathy (Doon Mackichan) arrives on the scene.

Meeting Cathy…

Colin (Jonathan Watson) knocks on the door in his usual neighbourly fashion, on his way to the dump and checking in to see if he can take anything for Beth and Eric. Of course once he spies the new neighbours in the lounge, he’s sitting down with them and inviting Cathy over to meet them. Cathy waltzes in expecting applause, I think! She compliments Michelle on her jeans just to incite a compliment in return, which doesn’t come. However, things soon start to go wrong when Michelle is frog-marched to Cathy and Colin’s house to see what they’ve done to the place. The kitchen in particular causes ructions.

One of the lads

It was amusing to see Christine staying behind with the lads while the tour of Cathy and Colin’s house took place. Even cracking open a Fosters while she indulged in the out of date banana loaf that she’d bought as an offering for Beth (it was only 19p!).

Having a dig

Cathy and Michelle are certainly not the best of friends and our favourite neighbourhood alcoholic is getting ore and more riled by the new couple o the block. Alan and Michelle have been talking about removing the porch from their house and they’ve got the equipment there to do it – so guess who decides they’re off to help remove said porch there and then….? What makes the scene all the funnier is Colin offering to take the remnants to the dump! That’ll certainly teach Michelle for insinuating that Cathy’s kitchen is impractical…

So long, farewell, f**k off!

Meant in the nicest possible way (have you seen the outtakes featuring Elaine C Smith? Clip is in the link below) – I will be so sorry to see this series go. There’s definitely an open door for another hundred episodes if you ask me!

Bloopers and Outtakes

 

Two Doors Down, Series Three, Episode Five ~ Review

BBC Two’s Two Doors Down took the comedy to another level following a pub quiz and antics in Amsterdam. What a hoot of an episode, I’ve had to watch it twice just because I can’t smile wide enough when it’s on the television. A brilliant sit com with exceptional writing and a perfect cast. Here are a few highlights:

Post-Quiz Party

Eric (Alex Norton), Beth (Arabella Weir), Colin (Jonathan Watson) and Cathy (Doon Mackichan) have been to the pub quiz and they’ve got a ‘terrible bottle of wine’ as a runner up prize. It’s in Cathy’s bag for safe keeping! As hot drinks are offered by the usual hostess (Beth!), Cathy requests a large Vodka tonic. Naturally! The main topic of conversation centres around the fact that a male fox is called a dog, which was apparently not a known fact to any of the party.

Chips!

The party wouldn’t be complete without Christine (Elaine C Smith) and she’s soon on the doorstep and in the living room with the gang, even though she’s supposed to be en route to hospital to take in some thing for Pat, who’s come a cropper as usual. Colin’s already been on the quest for home made chips and put-upon Beth is kitchen-bound yet again. What more excuse does Christine need to linger longer, chips all round then! I love how something so simple can become such a big deal and hilariously funny too.

Amsterdam

Ian (Jamie Quinn) and Gordon (Kieran Hodgson) have been on a weekend break to Amsterdam, but they’ve cut it short. Why? Well, Cathy wants to know and she’s soon making herself comfortable in the kitchen with the boys in the hope of catching the juicy gossip. Eventually it’s revealed that Ian has got up to naughties in a bar they went into and Gordon is seething.

Party Pieces

Despite Ian and Gordon’s set-to, any animosity seems to be quickly forgotten once party pieces are the order of the night. There’s Cathy doing ‘the crab’ and offering to teach it to Gordon. Eric is keen to show off his magic trick and Colin has a James Bond impersonation, not the best one it has to be said! The funniest party piece emulates from Beth though as she makes a cat noise…. anyway….!

What the Fox?!

With the talk of the evening having been what a male fox is called and Gordon surprising the gathering with the right answer, it’s apt that Cathy should find a fox outside when the gang are encouraging Gordon to jump over a hedge. Gordon’s hedge jump isn’t too successful and neither is Cathy’s foxy encounter!

Two Doors Down, Series Three, Episode Four ~ Review

It’s Beth’s (Arabella Weir)  birthday in BBC Two’s Two Doors Down and a low key jaunt for a pub meal has been organised, with the birthday girl, Eric (Alex Norton) and the boys about to set off, it was inevitable that Christine (Elaine C Smith) would rock up. Of course she goes with them and has a comment to make at every turn. Here’s a few highlights of one of the funniest episodes so far (and that’s saying something, this show is comedy genius at its highest possible level):

Musical tables

It’s up to Beth where they sit when they arrive at the pub, because it’s her birthday they’re celebrating. So naturally they have to sit where Christine wants to sit!

A bit fishy

With three member of the party wanting fish and only two left, someone has to choose an alternative. Well Beth shouldn’t because it’s her celebration, and Christine isn’t going to change her mind either. The result? Eric is served an empty plate so that Beth can share hers! Happy Birthday Beth!!

Detox(ish)

Colin (Jonathan Watson) is also in the pub (where else would he be?!) and his wife is away on a detox spa break – although she’s not really detoxing. Who would believe that Cathy (Doon Mackichan) could stay off the booze anyway? A detox break is wasted on her, as she would rather get wasted!

Pished

Colin’s well and truly ‘pished’ so he’s all over Eric, especially in the loos! Plus he’s a liability generally and the gang can’t wait for a taxi to arrive to take him home.

Bye bye birthday cake

Just as Colin is about to leave (reluctantly) in his taxi, the boys produce a birthday cake for Beth and their drunken friend heads straight back into the pub. Naturally he manages to create a disaster with the ‘Tesco’s Finest’ cake and it lands on the floor. In fact the mess reflects Beth’s celebrations – it’s a farce, the funniest farce on television!

W1A ~ Series Three, Episode Two

Yes exactly yes! I’m not being negative or anything but… there is absolutely nothing to be negative about in this top class BBC comedy programme. There’s more bikes, more of David casually thieving ideas and more of Will looking blank – it’s W1A time…

Picture Shows: L-R Faiza Rajah (PRIYANGA BURFORD), Ryan Chelford (BEN BATT), Lucy Freeman (NINA SOSANYA) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Jack Barnes

Cycling Shorts ~ So Will (yeah, crap) had this idea – ok, cool, no worries, and Izzy has been driving it forward. Jack has interfered and made a pilot with unwitting Will’s help and as if that wasn’t hard enough for Izzy to get her head around, David Wilkes has had his paws on it yet again and shown Anna (yes exactly yes) the footage that Will has collated. It’s doomed!

Anna on a bike (yes exactly) ~ In what I see as a bid to get another step closer to Ian – Anna, the most unlikely cyclist has a folding bike! How long before every member of the BBC staff is traveling by bike? It’s definitely a strategic move from the has so little to say for herself, with hilarious consequences too.

How do you solve a problem like Ryan? ~ After his disastrous appearance on Match Of The Day, Ryan has been pulled back into the BBC to potentially join the line-up on Question Of Sport. It’s Lucy’s idea, Siobhan doesn’t even know it’s a programme, but Simon (and Tony I expect, after his mindfulness break) are buzzing with it. However, when the meeting happens and Ryan’s new agent appears (Siobhan!) there’s suddenly the suggestion of Top Gear 2 instead. Embraced by both Ryan and Siobhan as they take a selfie together!

Picture Shows: L-R at BBC NBH reception. Faiza Rajah, (PRIYANGA BURFORD), Lucy Freeman (NINA SOSANYA), Ryan Chelford (BEN BATT) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Jack Barnes

Zoe & Chloe ~ The Charter renewal is in progress and Fiona Craig is in the building in charge and flanked by Zoe and Chloe. Zoe and Chloe are like the female version of Ben and Jerry. Genius!

Lucy’s lament ~ Lucy is the token put upon member of the BBC team and it seems that leaving her role to take up a job in a Gardening Centre is still not entirely off her mind. Although Ian is wondering if she’ll apply for the new role – and we all know that Lucy’s likely to get lumbered with that job, even if she doesn’t want it. From Better to Empowerment? Or will she be pulled by the call of the compost?

Jack Patterson Jonathan Bailey
Ryan Chelford Ben Batt
Ian Fletcher Hugh Bonneville
Faiza Rajah Priyanga Burford
Tracey Pritchard Monica Dolan
Jerry Guildencrantz Ivan Gonzalez
Siobhan Sharpe Jessica Hynes
David Wilkes Rufus Jones
Izzy Gould Ophelia Lovibond
Chloe Rose Matafeo
Ben Rosenstern Max Olesker
Anna Rampton Sarah Parish
Fiona Craig Pooky Quesnel
Clive Cook Derek Riddell
Zoe Emma Sidi
Will Humphries Hugh Skinner
Lucy Freeman Nina Sosanya
Simon Harwood Jason Watkins
Neil Reid David Westhead
Narrator David Tennant
Producer Paul Schlesinger
Director John Morton
Writer John Morton
Executive Producer Jon Plowman

Morgana Robinson’s The Agency ~ Episode Review

The series finale was a cornucopia of the best bits from the series, so I wasn’t sure a final episode was necessary if there was no further material? Not that it wasn’t fun to relive some of the best of what Morgana has had to offer over the past few weeks, the woman is a force to be reckoned with, and the show has been an undoubted triumph in my opinion.

morgana-2

I have said throughout all of my previous reviews that Mel and Sue have been my favourites, and they remain so as this series comes to a close. To be able to impersonate one half of one of the nation’s most popular presenting duos is surely a challenge and achievement in itself, but to manage to impersonate both halves so effectively has been a joy to watch. Equally, Natalie Cassidy, much as there has been a lot of time concentrated one her, is an impersonation that seems to come so easily to the comedienne. Joanna Lumley was another highlight and the storylines that were created around the ‘characters’ were clever and almost believable. Finally, when it comes to the females, Robinson sounds more like Fearne Cotton than Fearne Cotton does. The pace of the voice as well as the sound and quality are all unbelievably perfect.

Taking on male impersonations can be no easy feat, and I haven’t always been entirely convinced by Robinson’s delivery of these. Greg Wallace is my favourite if I have to choose one that I wouldn’t mind seeing again. Hat’s off to the lady for entertaining the idea of including male celebrities, though.

Do I want more from this incredibly talented lady? The answer is a resounding… Yes, my love! Do I like it or not like it? I LIKE IT!

Morgana Robinson’s The Agency ~ Episode Review

The penultimate episode of Morgana’s inspired comedy, and there was no Mel and Sue! How very dare you, Ms Robinson! That aside, this instalment was back to the original format which involved a whole range of Morgana’s brilliant impersonations.

Greg Wallace was back on the menu and with hilarious consequences, having list his ability to like and not like things. Joanna Lumley was up for an advert and hadn’t learned the script, no would she eat the yoghurt at the end of the shoot. She’s definitely one of the best in the programme and when the Patsy from Ab Fab excerpt was also thrown in, it really was a comedy genius moment. Every scene in this show is so well structured, detailed and jam-packed with laugh-a-minute antics.

morgana_robinson__i_don_t_like_my_gregg_wallace_impersonation

I was slightly put off by the return of Natalie Cassidy, as the previous week’s episode had been all about her, but the idea of putting her forward to present The One Show and it all going horribly wrong was actually worth seeing. I think that Cassidy’s impersonation comes so naturally to Robinson that there is still much mileage in this one. It was well worth the wait for Miranda’s appearance in Game of Thrones, adding slapstick to the otherwise straight-laced drama, what a hoot! Or as Miranda would say “awks!”.

So, we come to the final episode next week, and if I get many more side-splitting moments from Mel and Sue, as Greg Wallace would say “I like it”, another episode focusing on Natalie Cassidy? “I don’t like it!”.

 

Morgana Robinson’s The Agency ~ Episode Review

We’re getting rather too close to the end of this laugh-a-minute series for my liking! This lady is so extraordinarily talented that she is literally blowing me away each week. This time, Fearne Cotton was on the receiving end of the vast majority of the humour. It is incredible how much Robinson looks like Cotton when she plays her, let alone sounds like her. The social media digs were hilarious and on point, these scripts are brilliantly constructed.

Danny Dyer also came a cropper again, claiming to be seeing little people in his back garden. I’m still unconvinced as far as the impersonation of Dyer goes, but the storylines that are given to his ‘caricature’ are genius and Robinson does do a good job of Dyer’s gait.

Joanna Lumley is used significantly, again and the facial expressions that Robinson manages to emulate are superb. Certain asides to the camera certainly make me do a double take when she takes off the star, and the plot for the government film was easily one of my favourites of the series, so far.

morgana-robinson

Then there was more Miranda, an impersonation which I personally feel is one of the best in the programme. Her documentary with the police was a joy to watch and one of the most appealing elements of Robinson taking off Miranda, is that she’s not somebody that impressionists have taken on, before.

My only complaint about this episode is that there wasn’t enough Mel and Sue for my liking! I feel a Christmas Special spin-off with just Mel and Sue is beckoning… please?

Photo credits: BBC

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