The Cambridge Geek

Incredible Women

Now on the seventh series of Incredible Women, in which Jeremy Front interviews a range of fictional women, all of whom are Rebecca Front. This one is a little different however, with a change in the format, which is usually one woman per episode. Jeremy spends a nominal 24 hours with each interviewee, staying over for the night and trying to learn as much as he can about what makes them special.

This time though, he's spending the week, with all five episodes about the same person.

Jessica Kennedy is a candidate to be the first female director general of the BBC. She's had an impressive career, being in charge of think tanks, musical endeavours, the application of democratic thought, and is now the Principal of the Zinoviev School of International Relations (not officially a Cambridge College). A high flyer, through and through.

However, no-one is entirely sure about what she's done to gain these positions. While her CV is astounding, it's somewhat lacking in the qualifications you might expect. And she's not very forthcoming on the answers to Jeremy's questions, even when they're trapped in a car together. Her answer to "how do you get all these opportunities?" being "oh the usual way" isn't terribly helpful to someone who's trying to make a documentary out of you.

Also helping Jessica to avoid answering questions is Eva (Emma Sidi, doing a rather smashing job) as her PA/security officer. Eva is a force to be reckoned with, constantly on high alert, keeping an eye out for any possible threats, and being excellent at handling luggage.

This series feels a lot more about Jeremy than Rebecca's character, from his initial journey to Cambridge, via the slightly annoying park and ride (traffic here is definitely an issue) to his acquiring of both avocados and a smashed avocado recipe from a hipster-friendly street market. He also gets put through the ringer to quite an extent, finding himself in tricky situations with a car, an unfortunate carabiner disaster, and damage to his child's suitcase.

There's also a major change in the mechanics of the show, with each episode beginning with a thriller style "previously on" and a dramatic theme. It seems to be going for a spoof suspense angle, which I think is a bit of a reach.

I will confess to not being as impressed by this series as previous. I think the story format has worked for a long time as single episodes, and this feels stretched, with various padding that I think it could have done without. Jeremy as the buffoon still works wonderfully, but I would have liked more meat on the story of Jessica, as opposed to the hints taking most of the place of plot.

I suppose you can draw a parallel between Jeremy's frustration with not getting his interview and the audience's frustration at a hidden tale, but I mostly found it underwhelming from a story point of view. The end ramps up the action, but doesn't really give you much of an emotional payoff.

See what you think of it, and these two have certainly delivered enough top-notch work over the years that the next series will still be an automatic listen, but I can suggest trying the previous ones as well. (Because it's Jeremy Front, the shows actually manage to be available somewhere other than the iplayer, so if you're interested in the previous, they're all here.) It's also worth remembering that even if the arc isn't particularly thrilling, the three main players are delightful.

Score 3

Tagged: Radio Comedy Cast Sitcom News/Political