'Bleak Shop' really is

Now and then, one falls in love - platonically - with amusing men.

Most recently for this column, those amusing men have been David Mitchell and Robert Webb, whose show That Mitchell and Webb Look has been on Sky.

The two comedians were also behind Peep Show, which provided 22 minutes or so of relief each week from the cruel drudgery of life.

TMWL had some regular highlights, including "A Prayer and a Pint with Donny Cosy".

Each week Donny would host his short Christian show somewhere completely inappropriate, like Tehran, Tokyo or recently at the Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

It would always end with a hymn that goes:

"All I want to do, All I want to do, All I want to do is praise him.

All I want to do, All I want to do, All I want to do is praise him.

What do I want to do?

What do I want to do?

What do I want to do?

Praise him.

Who do I want to praise?

Who do I want to praise?

Who do I want to praise?

GOD!"

It makes me laugh, even without Phil and Meg McQueen from Sussex - not as it earlier appeared, from Bumsex.

You had to be there.

It was with this unfettered hilarity fresh in my synapses that I approached the Bleak Old Shop of Stuff, beginning on December 2 on UKTV.

I wasn't put off by reviewer Zoe Williams, of the Guardian.

I wasn't put off, because I'm sure the Guardian hires really fancy people who are well connected and say amusing things at dinner parties, instead of doing what I do - becoming quickly uncomfortable, drinking too much and then getting quite nasty at someone vulnerable who has recently suffered a death in the family that everyone knew about but me.

Why wasn't I told?

I'm sure the Guardian hires people that don't like television at all.

I'm sure.

So I set aside Zoe's comments, which noted the show "just isn't funny".

I ignored the sub-headline that described it as "bland and unfunny".

I sniffed at the soooooo clever reviewer from the fancy-schmantz paper that slagged it off so easily.

Because besides Mitchell and Webb being involved, Stephen Fry and Adrian Edmondson feature.

Not only that, it's a parody, of sorts, of Charles Dickens, which makes it literary and highbrow.

Bleak Old Shop of Stuff draws its title from Bleak House and The Old Curiosity Shop.

I watched it.

For about 15 minutes.

It just isn't funny.

It has great comedians involved but ... but ... it's bland and unfunny.

Good night.

 

- Charles Loughrey.