So what did you think of W1A, the BBC’s satire about itself from the makers of Twenty Twelve and narrated by former Time Lord David Tennant?
It had big shoes to fill. I loved Twenty Twelve, but this was a more than capable successor. It had some nicely judged moments I thought, and the return of Siobhan Sharpe showed how missed this gobbledygook spouting idiot (played again to perfection by Jessica Hynes) was from our screens. As head of daytime factuality Anna Rampton, Sarah Parish did a pretty good job of channelling one or two TV ice maidens she or Morton may or may not have met on their travels (I’ve heard some gossip but will say no more).
Star Hugh Bonneville was on top form as the BBC’s new head of values Ian Fletcher. But the actor has spoken about the series as a love letter to the BBC? Was it? Did that not make it a bit soft? Did the Olympics not get a harder time in Twenty Twelve? I rather thought so. But some of the satire – like the real life appearance of Carol Vorderman – was suitably daring at times.
There were lots of BBC in-jokes about waste-of-time staff briefings, the open plan work environment at New Broadcasting House, meeting rooms being named after famous comedians and the difficulty of getting a meeting with (real-life) director general Tony Hall. The central plot revolved around regional antagonisms within the BBC (specifically our Cornish friends).
Perhaps it could have been a harder hitting satire, but all in all it made me laugh. And even if it was a bit of a self referential exercise in the BBC showing what a good sport it could be and have a jolly good laugh at itself, it was a very good one.