OK. So. BBC Three. It’s been hit and miss in the past. But the BBC’s “experimental”area for those new ideas, those budding writers, and those little-known comedy faces (and voices) has really come up trumps with this one.
Their new series takes on the task of combining puppets with real people, and scores a huge hit. 2 foxes, a pigeon, a cat and a dog meet with a variety of other creatures, and interact with the occasional human.
The anthropomorphism gives the animals a really familiar feel, while retaining their sense of animal. You can easily imagine them as humans, although the show would be meaningless and, frankly, not very funny if they really were. A scouse pigeon becoming a born-again Christian?
The writing is absolutely superb. It has touches of Eddie Izzard, combined with a decent helping of Blackadder style wit. The deadpan delivery of some lines is only exaggerated by the juxtaposition of, say, a fox in a tie.
The fact that the first episode featured none other than CBBC’s original puppet master Toby Anstis (better known, perhaps, as Otis the Aardvark’s devoted sidekick) was a stroke of utter genius. Similarly, replacing Del Boy and Trig in the bar scene from Only Fools and Horses with two foxes. Proper comedy references, in the most irreverent style. I only hope there’s more to come!
There is a little part of me which hopes that the lampoon of “Strictly Dog Dancing”, where owners take classes in dancing with their dogs, has its roots in real life. In a way it’s too funny to have been dreamt up as a comedy device.
The sad thing is that, great though this series is, I can’t see it making it on to the big boys’channels. It’s a little too cultish, and perhaps a little too racy - without that mass appeal. Still, so long as this series live up to my expectations - and there follows a second season - I’ll be happy.
Mongrels. Check it out.
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