The Cambridge Geek

Madam Mayor

A new pilot, this time about the borough of Mansford, and its new mayor, Lizzie (Brenda Gilhooly). Around her are a collection of councillors, voiced almost entirely by people you are going to have heard a lot of on the radio recently.

Michelle Collins is mostly TV, but Elis James has been on a lot of things, Harry Hill has done the very excellent Life on Egg and Jack Dee of course hosts I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. In this show however, other than James, they're all entirely hapless, as they try to organise a grand opening for their new statue commemorating the Queen.

How do you drum interest for a lump of old rock, you might ask? Easy, you get a celebrity to do it. And who's more like the Queen in bearing, manner and recognition to a Radio 4 audience? Why, Jenny Murray, of course.

Unfortunately, none of them know Murray, so they're going to have to fake it.

And so begins a relatively conventional farce plot, with a few misunderstandings over intentions, some utterly unwise romantic entanglements and traffic cones. It's competently written if not especially sparkling. The actors make this what it is, and though there's a certain amount of clashing (put two strong character voices together and they don't always gel), there's enough joy in hearing from them that it gets away with it.

With a weaker cast, this probably wouldn't have grabbed my attention as much, and it's not particularly helped along by the somewhat pointed satirical jibes about "will of the people" and useless politicians. The value in farce is that it's an escape, a form of comedy that doesn't demand much but merely offers silliness. Combining that with a bit of anti-Brexit feels a little unnecessary. (Not that I'm anti-anti-Brexit, I've made my feelings clear, but this didn't need it.

Might get a full series, but I'd be looking forward to this set of people the most, so we'll see whether they survive the transition.

Score 4

Tagged: Radio Comedy Cast Sitcom News/Political