Power Monkeys Episode Six ~ Channel Four

So we reach the final episode of Power Monkeys, Channel Four’s EU Referendum-based comedy series. There were a number of highlights in the final instalment, Spencer’s (played by Kevin McNally) wedding with the missing bride being one of them. Although I have missed the No Thank EU brigade being based on their bus and I definitely missed Spencer’s waistcoat, this week! Still, there’s no denying that the poor b*gger has wound up married to a Visa grabber.

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The tale of the Tories ended in tears – ironically!

Life in Putin’s camp is both hilarious and mysterious at the same time, with the imminent demise of Alexi (Alec Utgoff) being the central storyline there, his disappearance leaves Oleg (Ben Willbond) confused and a bit scared!

Brett (Robert Wilfort) has been fired from his job with team Trump, meanwhile, the bewildered Trump supporter dared to pause before he concurred with his boss that they were going to win. Bea (Ayda Field) is quite delighted with her execution of Trump’s orders, but she ends up with egg on her face at the end of the programme!

The Tory party are possibly the most entertaining, though, Sara (Claire Skinner) turns violent and attacks Preeya (Archie Panjabi), Oliver (Jack Dee) and Tony (Anthony Calf) which does distract from her rumbling stomach, somewhat! Ruby (Liz Kingsman) predictably rocks up after the main drama is over.

It’s been a witty and highly observational series with a fantastic cast and a clever script writing team. Despite my initial thoughts, I’ll be sad to see the back of Power Monkeys.

Photo credits: Channel Four

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Power Monkeys Episode Four ~ Channel Four

Post-vote episode and Priya  (Archie Panjabi) from the Brexit bus has offered Michael Gove a blow job! Or more accurately, Spencer (Kevin McNally) has managed to get hold of her unlocked phone, and what with him still being drunk (on cider, probably!) there is nothing but mischief ensuing.

In the other camp, Oliver (Jack Dee) ironically, has bet on Brexit’s triumph and won (in sterling!). Ruby (Liz Kingsman) is clueless as ever and hasn’t even voted!

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The No Thank EU Bus celebrate Brexit’s win! Credit: Channel Four

The episode was mostly dominated by the Brexit bus, unsurprisingly, with Priya looking forward to becoming a government minister and Spencer’s outlandish insinuations about those who have voted to remain. The team aboard the bus have become a tight comedy foursome and they’ve collectively grown on me over the course of the series so far.

The Tories are preparing for Priya’s return, which is not looking likely to be welcomed and I have enjoyed the continual recurrence of the bitterness felt by Sara (Claire Skinner) in relation to the one night stand with Tony.

Trump’s jet has landed in Scotland, bewildered Brett (Robert Wilfort) is in his own bubble as usual, this time he has been spotted flamenco dancing by Trump. He’s also had a row with the printer and is blaming the Chinese for their workmanship. The partnership between Wilfort and Bullmore has fast become a partnership to be reckoned with. The Trump jet remains my firm favourite, overall.

Two episodes left to go and I am won over, this viewer will be sorry to wave goodbye to the monkeys, even though my initial reaction wasn’t as bananas as I had anticipated.

Power Monkeys Episode Three ~ Channel Four

A slightly belated write up of this week’s Power Monkeys, and what an apt day to be posting on! The result aside (and what an interesting episode the result will make for, next week!) this week’s episode was mostly concentrating on the characters themselves, I felt. Naturally, aboard the Trump jet reference was made to the Brit who attempted to assassinate the wannabe President, and discussions about preventing Brits from gaining access to Trump were had. I still think that Brett, played by Robert Wilfort, is a great character, his lack of understanding and awareness beyond the Trump campaign is so insular that it’s funny.

The Russians were also on form, with Ben Willbond as Oleg playing a delicious prank on President Obama, the pairing with Alex Utgoff as Alexi is getting better every week. The tongue in cheek references are always so close to the bone, and probably more accurate than we would believe.

There’s still an undercurrent with Tony (Anthony Calf) and Sara (Claire Skinner) following their one night stand, and Oliver (Jack Dee) is in the dog-house when he mentions a trigger word “Nutter!”.

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Kevin McNally and Jack Dee Photo Credit: Channel Four

Kevin McNally stole this episode for me, he steps his character of Spencer up another gear each week. His comments about Nigel Farage were hilarious and his complete disregard for Gerry (Andy Nyman) and his recent bereavement was notable, whether intentional or not!

Overall, this week’s instalment appeared to feature more character based stories than those that made the news, but it’s still becoming an impressive piece of telly.

Power Monkeys Episode One ~ Channel Four

With the EU Referendum on the tip of everyone’s tongues, on every channel known to man and all over social media like a rash, this seemed an ideal programme to rip the proverbial out of the impending chaos. With a cast boasting Jack Dee, Amelia Bullmore (whom I personally loved in BBC One’s Twenty Twelve), Claire Skinner and Kevin McNally, I felt that Channel Four’s latest comedy series was going to be on to a winning formula.

In this follow up to Ballot Monkeys which was trotted out for the Elections last year, the format is unusual in itself as the majority of the script is written on the day to enable it to be as topical as can be. Therefore this first episode included the extension for voting registration and Muhammad Ali’s funeral among other news of the day.

There are a vast array of characters, some of which were well rounded and a few of whom made me snigger. Contrary to my preconception, nobody made me laugh out loud, I kept waiting for the moment that elicited the guffaw of all guffaws, and it didn’t come. That said, I do believe there is potential for the series.

Jack Dee is ideally cast as Oliver, who runs the Tory Unity Unit and is thoroughly cheesed off, who else could play that over-riding emotion with more spirit than Mr Dee? Andy Nyman reprises his role of Gerry and Ruby,played by Liz Kingsman is also back. I couldn’t help but see the funny side of Spencer played by Kevin McNally, sporting a waistcoat that Ginger Spice would be envious of and a ginger wig (which she may also be slightly jealous of, who knows?!). His to-ing and fro-ing from the ‘No Thank EU’ bus with a drill in his hand was simple yet inspired comedy and it would be a good gag to carry through.

If I had to pick favourites, my vote goes to the scenes on Trump’s campaign jet, where Amelia Bullmore (Lauren) and Robert Wilfort (Brett) are in the midst of making Trump more appealing to American women! I was particularly impressed with Wilfort, my memories of his previous performances mainly revolve around his role of Jason in the hit comedy show, Gavin and Stacey, so I was interested to watch and look forward to more from the debacle cabin!

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Robert Wilfort who plays Brett in Power Monkeys. Photo Credit: Wikia

In conclusion, I think I expected too much from the first episode and possibly set my own bar too high. I’m willing to give the series a go, if not only for the fact that most of the content is written on the day. Kudos to writers, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkins for originality and potentially some light relief from propaganda overload. To achieve a broadcast-worthy programme in such a short space of time you also need the perfect cast and crew, so pats on the back all round, there. I shall watch episode two with an open mind and hope to be impressed.

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