HBO Cancel Hello ladies


Stephen Merchant’s sitcom ‘Hello Ladies’ has been cancelled after just one season.
Hello Ladies was Merchant’s first series without regular co-writer, Ricky Gervais.
The series focused on Merchant’s character Stuart, an awkward Englishman looking for love in California.
A one-off special will be made to wrap up loose ends.

TV Review-Life’s Too Short Episode 4

This episode starts with Warwick flat hunting with Cheryl, his assistant. The scene is a clever reference back to Extras that seems to have been overlooked by every other critic. But then, other critics are busy bashing Life’s too short, as this is Gervais’ year for a media bashing.

The Daily Mail recently had to print a retraction after massaging the viewing figures, they only reported the overnight figures, which given the way we watch TV nowadays, are completely redundant as they don’t include viewers who record it and watch it later or people who access it via the Iplayer. It is funny that they only do it with popular shows, you never see ‘Homes under the hammer down 100 viewers’.

Anyway, in Extras, Andy Millman tried to impress a journalist from the Guardian.  Andy asked his friend Maggie to pretend to be his assistant. Warwick is trying to impress the estate agent; into thinking, he is more important than he is. The estate agent is the same actress who played the journalist.  It’s a great scene, which again showcases Warwick’s excellent comic timing. Warwick has a real knack for physical comedy and I predict will win many awards next year.

Later in the episode, Warwick turns to Ricky and Steve when he finds out his wife is having more than a professional relationship, with their divorce lawyer.
While in their office, Warwick sits in on a skype chat between Ricky, Stephen and Steve Carroll. When Ricky badmouths Carroll after thinking he had quit Skype, things take a turn for the worse. Speaking as someone who has been in this situation, it felt just as authentic and just as awkward.
Now at the midway point, Life’s too short is turning in to one of the best sitcoms the year and you know what, I’m glad the mainstream media doesn’t like it.

Life’s too short airs on Thursdays at 9:30 pm, on BBC2

TV Review-Mongels Series 2:Episode 4

We start off at Vince’s wedding reception. Nelson is the best man. Vince only wants to be portrayed in a positive way, which means Nelson had to throw his original speech out, so Nelson turns to his friends for stories about Vince.

Nelson isn’t overly impressed when Marion brings up Vince’s weekends with his son and recounting the plot to various films, such as Twilight, Tron Legacy, and Freaky Friday with himself and Vince as the main characters. It worked quite well, but the joke wore a little thin after the second joke.
Nelson tells the story of when he and Vince were stranded on an island, a traffic island in the middle of a duel carriageway.  Vince tries to cook him. Nelson manages to talk him out of it.  Nelson then stops his story, after remembering he and Vince had sex.  This section is genuinely funny, with Nelson quoting “what happens on the Island, stays on the Island”.

Eventually, the truth about Vince comes out, which leads to a brilliant musical number called, Vince Is A Massive C***. After the song, the bride tells Vince that she loves him and says, “Kiss me you c***”. Vince kills her and is now widowed.

This was a great episode, let down only by the Kali flashback. Kali had a period in her life, where she thought she was Will Smith, this consisted of her just saying the titles to Will Smith movies. Frankly, it felt beneath Mongrels the joke suited a canned laugher sitcom.

Mongrels has truly hit the ground running, I await the announcement of the inevitable third series.

Mongrels airs on BBC3, on Mondays at 10:30 pm

Review-Mongrels Series 2: Episode 3

This was my favourite of the series yet. This episode is so crammed with little gems that it’s difficult to know where to begin.
Nelson is involved in a protest against the build, of a new supermarket. He foolishly leads his fellow protestors to their deaths, but in the process, he meets an older Vixen called Eileen.

Nelson and Eileen soon fall in love, but unknown to Nelson, Eileen is Vince’s mum. Nelson seeks Vince’s blessing and asks Eileen to marry him, but the surprise proposal causes her to have a fatal heart attack. Not wanting Vince to find out that, that’s how his mother died, Nelson asks Tim to take the body back to the nursing home. Along the way, Tim loses Eileen and she is sold to Zoe Ball, as a scarf.

Like last week, it was great to see a softer side to Vince. It’s a shame Eileen wasn’t kept around for a few more episodes. The father/son dynamic between Nelson and Vince would have been interesting to explore, but I’m starting to see that nothing lasts forever in the Mongrels universe.

Elsewhere, Kali has lost her spot on the fence to an African pigeon. Which leads to this week’s musical number, Immigration Nation. Which fitted the episode well. Kali tries all kinds of tactics to get rid of him and then joins a flock. Which after seeing human street-gangs, she believes will help her out. When this doesn’t work out, she tricks the immigrant pigeon into calling Eileen a slag, which prompts Vince to kill him, thus solving her problem. This was a funny subplot, which showed just how manipulative Kali could be when she isn’t getting her own way.

The other sub-plot involves Destiny and Marion, Destiny is angry with Gary after he takes her to the vets, so she pretends to run away, Gary finds him and takes him in. Which leads to bitter sibling rivalry between Destiny and Marion. It was great to see Destiny and Marion fight it out, like well, cat and dog.

Mongrels has hit the ground running this year, a third series is surely a must. This is fast becoming the television highlight of my week, its the only instance I’ve ever wished a British series was 22 episodes.
It won’t be long before we hear the word “American” quickly followed by the word “Remake”.

Mongrels airs on Mondays, 10:30 pm on BBC3

Mongrels: Series 2-Episode 2

The main movie parody here is Shaun Of The Dead. Destiny is in heat and it has turned every local dog into a sex-crazed zombie. Nelson, Destiny, Marion, and Vince lock themselves inside the pub.

I didn’t really like the main plot involving Nelson and Destiny, that could be because I haven’t seen the first series. I didn’t quite believe that a fox-like Nelson would fall for a dog like Destiny. It felt forced as if it were crafted just to suit the plot of this episode.

Nelson is trying to date Destiny, Destiny is hungry and knows that Nelson has access to food. There is an amusing moment which was a parallel to prostitution and what she would do for a dog biscuit.

It was the subplots that I found most interesting. It is Kali’s birthday so she celebrates by eating a badger on the road. A rickshaw driver runs it over and she wants revenge. She decides that the best way to do this is to blow him up. She then realises that the rickshaw driver had a seven-year-old son and feeling guilty she hits the bottle. Well, a brandy filled straw.

She decides to attend his funeral, so guilt-ridden she sits on his coffin and confesses. However, the rickshaw driver was a bird lover. The widow and her son think that Kali is the reincarnation of the driver and are overjoyed to see her. Kali’s mood is then lifted and she flies away, hitting the son in the face.

It was great to see an aloof character like Kali realise the consequence of her actions. The writers managed to capture her depression extremely well, I genuinely felt sympathy the murdering bird.

Back in the pub Marion has discovered a karaoke machine and attempts to throw a party which doesn’t go to plan. Vince hogs the karaoke machine after he discovers it helps with his Tourette Syndrome. Seeing a character like Vince belt out show tunes was funny. It was nice to see a softer side of him, even if it was just temporary.

The pop culture references are great in this episode, as well as the obvious Shaun Of The Dead, there is a nice moment where Marion reveals he lived in a house with the Being Human characters. This included a cameo from Russell Tovey, which now means he has starred in all three of the only three shows worth watching on BBC3. Whilst not as laugh out loud as episode one, episode two raised more than a few smiles. I hope Mongrels clears up come comedy award season.

Mongrels airs on Mondays at 10:30 pm, on BBC3

Life’s Too Short-Episode One

While I never got into The Office, I have always been a fan of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s other work, like their X-FM radio show, their podcast and Cemetery Junction. So, when they returned to their mockumentary-style sitcom format with Life’s Too Short, I was excited to see what they had in store.
Unlike the ordinary people who got their 15 minutes of fame in the late ’90s, the show focuses on a Z-list celebrity, Warwick Davis, playing a fictionalized version of himself. Davis is in a financial mess, with debts amounting to £250,000 and a divorce that’s taken its toll. He begs Gervais and Merchant to cast him in a new project, but they try to shake him off.

While the first episode didn’t make me laugh out loud, it was still enjoyable and funny. I think comedy is a challenging genre to get right, which is why I prefer to write reviews instead of sitcoms. Nevertheless, the show had its moments, like Liam Neeson trying out improv comedy about AIDS, with his quip about being cast in Schindler’s List because he always makes lists being a particular highlight. Davis also showed some impressive comic timing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he won a few awards in 2012.

Overall, while the premiere was a bit shaky, Gervais and Merchant on an off day are still better than most of what’s on TV. I’m going to stick with Life’s Too Short and see where it goes.



I’m a newcomer to Mongrels, somehow I missed the first series, which is strange as this is one of only a few shows worth watching on BBC3.

So, what’s Mongrels about?

It is a puppet-based show for adults, as a grown-up Sesame Street and is the closest thing we have in the UK to Family Guy.

Mongrels follows the exploits of a middle-class fox called Nelson (Rufus Hound), Nelson’s foul-mouthed cousin Vince (Paul Kaye), Streetwise pigeon Kali (Katy Brand), a dumb cat called Marion (Dan Tetsell) and a dog called Destiny (Lucy Montgomery). They all live in a pub garden on the Isle of Dogs.

The episode starts with a flashback to Nelson’s childhood where he witnessed his grandfather die during a fox hunt. Now an adult Nelson is in therapy. A former bully from Nelson’s school days turns up. The bully is dying and wants Nelson to put him out of his misery. Nelson reluctantly kills him and asks Marion to get rid of the body. Nelson and Kali share a psychiatrist who accidentally lets it slip. Kali spreads the gossip around the beer garden and Nelson is seen as a hero in the eyes of his friends.  Nelson is then recruited by a secret society of foxes that are planning to assassinate the four remaining dogs that were part of the hunts. Nelson is promised an iPhone and a £30 House of Fraser gift card if he completes the mission. Nelson tracks the four dogs down, but can’t quite bring himself to kill them, so he takes them back to his den under the pub.

What Mongrels excel at is the movie parodies and quick-fire out of the moment sequences that Family guy is famous for. The parody here is any Nazi hunter film that you have ever seen. The dogs speak in German accents and take their own lives when they think Nelson’s bunker is under siege.

The episode’s subplot involves Destiny being signed up to a celebrity dog walking service. She pretends to be Cuba Gooding Jr’s London dog and falls head over heels with John Terry’s dog. After John Terry’s dog turns her down, Destiny decides the only way forward is to treat him mean. John Terry’s dog is completely obsessed with her. Destiny then tells the other dogs to follow her lead, which they all do and this results in the dog’s trust. A passer-by sees the injured dogs and phones the Dogs Trust taking the dogs away.

The episode is genuinely funny. The flashbacks and Grange Hill references had me in stitches, the musical number that Destiny sings is also a genius piece of comedy writing. It’s safe to say that Mongrels has a new fan.

Mongrels airs on Mondays, at 10:30 pm on BBC3

Audio Review-Fight for the Remote

Episode 1: The Oral Fixation Summation.

Fight for the remote is a new audio sitcom from Fantom Films.

Jon (Andrew Hayden-Smith) and Alice (Ayesha Antoine) are a couple in their late twenties living together in London. Alice is ambitious while Jon is happy with his place in life.

This sitcom will strike a chord with anyone in a long-term relationship. On a Friday night, I often have the pizza/kebab chat that Alice and Jon have near the start. At times I actually felt as if the writers, Julia Dawn and Mark Adams, had hidden a microphone in my living room and just transcribed what they heard.

Jon and Alice have friends that help guide them on their journey. Jon has married-Dave (Daniel King) as his sex-obsessed best friend (we all have one of those) and Alice has her man-chasing friend and work colleague Karen (co-director Helen Oakleigh). The performances are great all-round; even the supporting characters get really great lines. The cast was clearly having a great time whilst recording.

We’re introduced to Alice’s mother (Ellen Thomas) via telephone.  She’s a Hyacinth Bucket type that doesn’t believe Jon is good enough for her daughter and feels he is a bad influence that will lead her towards “partaking in the wacky-baccy.”

Happy Azziz (Neil D’Souza) is another great character. Azziz is the local newsagent/kebab shop owner that slightly oversteps the mark every time Jon and Alice visit him (“Happy pleasuring, my friends”). Camp Raymond (Keith Flood) is also great; he’s the inappropriate, permanently-drunk client of Alice.

The thing that makes Fight For The Remote so great is that it is so universally recognisable. Anybody with a live-in partner will instantly identify with the situations and characters; I saw a lot of myself in Jon.

The writers have managed to capture the essence of the long-term relationship perfectly. The script is sharp and well written. It effortlessly manages to bridge together the bigger issues and challenges that couple’s face with the smaller, more trivial subjects such as Deal or No Deal. From the title of the episode, you can guess it’s adult humour which deals with sex, frustration and love. Overall this is a genuinely funny comedy that deserves a lot of success.

Download this episode for free from Fantom Films.