Reader reviews: What YOU thought of Vicious

RadioTimes.com readers have put fingertips to keyboard to review ITV's new sitcom Vicious - and here is what they have to say...

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Reader reviews: What YOU thought of Vicious
Written By
Ellie Walker-Arnott

We asked you to tell us what you thought of new ITV sitcom Vicious, and you ardent telly fans certainly didn't hold back.

Picking our favourite from your high-quality, hilarious musings was a tough job. We could have published them all, but we could only pick five. (Who came up with that stupid rule...?!)

Anyway, here they are...


Rosie, 29, London, says...

It sounded like it was going to be terrible - ITV offensive comedy horror. But it wasn't. It was fab. A guilty pleasure, akin to watching Corrie with a cup of tea and a kit-kat.

YES, there was a rape joke and YES if you tried really hard you could find the old queeny stereotypes horribly offensive. But it got away with it, just about. I even laughed out loud AT THE TV - that never happens...

Of course Frances De La Tour was superb - does the woman ever age? She must be a hundred and ten. Although admittedly she did have some of the weaker lines - Zac Efron? C'mon, that's lazy comedy. Whereas THE best line - delivered with aplomb - was, of course, "well the Chinese ARE very shy..."

I can't even begin to explain the context. Just watch it next week. You'll either be mildly offended or highly amused, or both - and that's not bad for a Monday night.


John Samson, 61, Edinburgh, says...

According to the accompanying laughter track, the following line delivered by Frances de la Tour is hilarious: "What are you doing letting a complete stranger use your toilet?  He might come out and rape me."  Nauseating.

Drama schools should use ITV's much heralded Vicious to demonstrate that even the finest of actors cannot generate mirth without a funny script. Thespian royalty Ian Mackellan and Derek Jacobi may flounce and mince more theatrically than John Inman in Are You Being Served? but their performance lacked the wit which the writers of comedy classics supplied.

Two camp men being waspish do not a sitcom make.


Sophie, 23, Bolton says...

In an age where darker comedy is thriving, with viewers collecting HBO comedies like Pokémon cards, it could be easy to wave Ed Bye’s new ITV comedy Vicious off as old-fashioned. But that is exactly how the show charms.

Ian Mckellen's sardonic vigour and Derek Jacobi's only-dogs-can-hear-him-now overacting may seem tired on paper, but the outward result oozes with endearing nostalgia rather than lazy stereotyping. The script is splashed with 70s' style snark (had the 70s dared commission a sitcom starring two homosexual senior citizens) and every punchline comes free with an eyebrow raise. The end scene too is again nothing new; (a meddling mother coming to stay!) but the familiarity works.

Alongside the chemistry in the perfect casting, Vicious nails a tone that many new comedies choose to avoid in favour of attempting edginess. The reason why Vicious succeeds, is because it doesn’t try to be something it’s not.


Toby Hancock, 15, Oldham, says...

Having Sir Ian McKellen AND Sir Derek Jacobi on one TV Sitcom is a writer's dream, a once in a lifetime opportunity, one which a script writer must grab with two hands. However, Gary Janetti has failed to even put one finger on it.

His lazy script ruins the talent and experience of his cast - how dare he make SIR Derek Jacobi stereotypically weep and force Frances De La Tour to painfully flirt with Iwan Rheon, the only half-alive aspect of the show.

But the most annoying aspect of the script is how confused it is. It's Will & Grace meets Miranda meets The Golden Girls, and that's like putting custard on sausages. Having an innocent giggle about Zac Efron, then joking about rape sits uncomfortably with me.

On reflection, Janetti has travelled in the comedy TARDIS back to 1973, something TV has spent 40 painful years running away from.


Mark Wardle, 36, Barnstaple, says...

You want a clever politically correct slab of humour with pathos…? Then ITV’s new comedy “Vicious” isn’t for you!
If, however you like your comedy broad, brash and smothered in waspish high camp, get your pout on and your seatbelt fastened for a rollercoaster of caustic put-downs, beautiful over-acting and the bitchiest one-liners this side of Frankie Howerd!

The show revels in its clearly slightly dated humour,  the ‘last used in Rising Damp’ sets, and oh well, yes, the portrayal of gay men, but Sir Ian McKellan and Derek Jacobi – reminiscent of Steptoe & Sons’ love/hate relationship - ensure that laughter is never far from our lips.

Frances De La Tour equally excels as the man-hungry fag hag, in fact the only let down was Iwan Rheon’s awkwardly underwritten character.

Whilst there is nothing new about the premise, when it is executed as well as this it doesn’t matter.


A big thank you to everyone who sent in a review - we really enjoyed reading them! If you've got a taste for sharing your opinion, or these clever Radio Times readers have inspired you to put pen to paper (or, more accurately, fingertips to keyboard) keep your eyes peeled for the next Radio Times Reader Review....

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