Vicious, Greggs: More than Meats the Pie and The Job Lot – 3 Shows to Watch This Week

Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi's catty new comedy, a behind-the-scenes look at sausage rolls and Chelsea Buns, and Russell Tovey's job centre sitcom

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Vicious

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When is it on? Monday 29 April, 9:00pm, ITV

What is it? A dream cast of Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi and Frances de la Tour star as Freddie, Stuart and Violet in this wicked new sitcom following a bickering gay couple who have become increasingly embittered after spending nearly half a century together. 

What Radio Times has to say…

ITV is pushing to invest in primetime comedy again, with loads more Benidorm in the pipeline, as well as two brand-new sitcoms tonight (see also The Job Lot). And they couldn’t be more different in style. Vicious is the more old-fashioned – studio audience, huge sitting-room with front door, left, and swing-door to kitchen, right (it’s The Golden Girls’ format) – except that, in a très moderne move, the central figures are two gay guys.

Actorly ham Freddie (Ian McKellen) and swishy Stuart (Derek Jacobi) have been cattily in love for 48 years. While activists might cavil over stereotyping, there’s no denying that the spectacle of two of our finest knights of the theatre camping it up is absolutely hilarious. Along with Frances de la Tour as their voracious mate, Violet, they make every line a zinger. Creators Gary Janetti (Will & Grace, Family Guy) and Mark Ravenhill (fruity West End plays) have a sure-fire hit on their hands. Patrick Mulkern


Greggs: More than Meats the Pie

When is it on? Monday 29 April, 9:00pm, Sky1

What is it? Ever wondered what goes into your Greggs sausage role or Chelsea bun? Here’s your chance to find out as cameras go behind-the-scenes of the baking giant’s empire, encountering loyal colleagues, grumbling customers and didactic bakers along the way.

What Radio Times has to say…

The high-street bakery’s product quality manager, John, longs to feed Paul Hollywood a plaited loaf. “Then when he’s eating it, I can tell him how he should be making it rather than what he says on the telly,” he glooms. “Sometimes it’s like he’s reading it out of Enid Blyton.” Like a good drama, every docusoap needs its characters and the makers must have rubbed their hands in glee when they met lugubrious John and larger-than-life shop manager Claudette.

Yes, this is a canny marketing campaign dressed up as warts-and-all TV, but it goes down as easily as the hundreds of thousands of sticky doughnuts and plump scones Greggs churns out every day. When the big cheeses hold a tense meeting it is high drama: should the new artisan-style bakeries stock crockery? Alas, they underestimate the picky punters of Thirsk. Claire Webb


The Job Lot

When is it on? Monday 29 April, 9:30pm, ITV

What is it? Russell Tovey and Miranda’s sidekick Sarah Hadland and Downton’s Sophie McShera lead the cast of another new ITV sitcom, about a team of hapless employees toiling with their daily chores at the West Midlands Job Centre. 

What Radio Times has to say…

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A comedy set in a job centre in the Midlands – doesn’t exactly sound like a bundle of laughs, does it? And while the script doesn’t aim to pump out one-liners like Vicious, The Job Lot has sharply observed characters played by a classy ensemble cast. Among them are Sarah Hadland (Stevie from Miranda) as neurotic manager Trish; Russell Tovey as daydreamer Karl, so fed up with his dead-end job he’d almost rather join the dole queue; and Jo Enright as Angela, the Rosemary West of careers advisers. Patrick Mulkern