Category Archives: TV Reviews

Miranda Review

Miranda Hart, love her or loath her? That was the question asked in a newspaper survey this week. Astonishingly 90% opted for the former. I had never seen Miranda before, I had never wanted to. Having seen her promoting the show on several chat shows I found her to be one of the least amusing and appealing ‘comedians’ I have ever come across. However, there are clearly a lot of people out there who disagree with me so maybe it was time to let her change my opinion. The sitcom is now in its second series, there had to be some winning formula, or not.
Well it turns out Miranda is a very tall woman who runs a joke shop. The shop scenario can work, look at Black Books but my first impressions were not good. The canned laughter suggests the target audience is one that requires prompting. I certainly did. The jokes are basic, old fashioned and predictable. But for a few sexual references it wouldn’t be out of place on CBBC. The most irritating thing is when Miranda addresses the camera as if you’re her best friend. I’m not and I wish she would stop.
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, it’s clearly not aimed at me and I can understand how some people may find it charming. Having never seen it before its possible I missed some running jokes or interesting character relationships, it’s hard to see though. It’s basically an inoffensive, unimaginative hark back to 70’s sitcom. Maybe that’s what people want at times like this but fans of alternative comedy will find Miranda excruciating viewing and I for one will not be watching again.

Tramadol Nights Review

The pre-broadcast warning said it all,“Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights contains very strong language and uncompromising content which may cause serious offence”. Mr Boyle is not for the easily offended. Most viewers will have already known this from his stint on ‘Mock the Week’ where, lets just say he divided opinion. Boyle is the comedian who says what you might think but dare not say, and far worse. He quit his regular post on Mock the Week last year, saying he was fed up fighting with the other comedians to get his jokes in. This is his opportunity to show what he can do on his own.
The program begins with Boyle in familiar territory doing a stand up routine in front of a live audience. It is trademark Frankie, cutting and always verging on the ultra-offensive. It takes a brave person to sit in the front row at one of his shows, as several members of the audience immediately found out. One woman was told she looked like Boy George in a chemotherapy wig, another man accused of being a child killer. Several thousand Michael McIntyre fans hoping for half an hours jocular observational comedy immediately switch over.
Tramadol Nights is more than just a showcase for Boyle’s stand up ability. It is for the most part a sketch show. This is new territory for the comedian and it was interesting to discover how his style would translate to the format. For me it was with mixed results. As with all sketch shows the quality varies, some funny bits, some not so. The surreal elements were enjoyable in particular the use of cartoons but watching Boyle playing a character turned out to be strangely uncomfortable viewing, maybe because I’m so used to him playing himself.
Frankie Boyle could be described as a fairly one-dimensional comedian, his talent is in ‘taking the piss’. There is little in the way of observational comedy or storytelling in his live act, or in this show. But I suppose every comic has their own style and the truth is Boyle is brilliant at what he does. Existing fans will enjoy Tramadol Nights but I doubt it will win him any new ones.