We DON'T Recommend: Watson & Oliver
Forget My Family and Two Pints of Lager, I think I've found the nadir of British comedy in BBC2's new double act - Watson & Oliver. I'd rather sit through a 48 hour Cannon & Ball marathon than endure a third episode of what has to be the most woefully unfunny sketch show I've ever seen.
Not one sketch hit the mark in the first two episodes - from the 'Kiera Knightley' impersonation right through the the violin crescendo of the second episode, Lorna Watson and Ingrid Oliver's debut BBC2 show failed to raise any more than a grimace. This isn't 'so bad it's good' stuff, this is just awful. It's not that Watson and Oliver aren't funny - indeed, with the right material I'm sure they're hilarious; someone must have thought so to get a six-episode order but whatever they did have has been completely lost by the time they hit the screen.
You can see the pair angling themselves as the new French and Saunders, indeed at times Lorna Watson seems to be channelling Jennifer Saunders with her funny bone removed and you can see Dawn French making the "sexy" violin piece actually work. You can almost tell that the leading ladies here don't even think their material hits the mark and as a result they try too hard by mistaking gurning for comedy. The first episode even saw the guest star steal all the laughs - and if they can make someone like John Barrowman actually appear funnier than the lead act, there's obviously something amiss.
The question that really needs to be asked, of the hundred or so people listed in the credits, were there any that actually watched what was happening and said "You know what, this isn't working"? We also need to ask the Beeb's head of comedy Mark Freeland if he really thinks this sort of thing deserves a place on BBC Two. Given the show is filmed in front of a live audience, didn't someone realise that the often complete silence hinted that what they were doing wasn't very good?