When The Windsors originally aired I didn’t have high hopes for it, a spoof of the Royal Family didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would be that interesting but while they left The Queen and Prince Philip out of events they tore in to the rest of the family with glee. Written by George Jeffrie and Bert Tyler-Moore (responsible for Pete versus Life and Star Stories, and they also contributed to Big Train, Ruddy Hell It’s Harry and Paul and Tracey Ullman’s Show amongst many other series) it appears we’re not going to get a third batch of episodes which is a real shame given how surprisingly great it was.
But now the duo are back with a new one off comedy which I hope the BBC will give a full series to. Set on Richard Branson’s island paradise of Necker it sees a group of celebs pay extortionate amount to holiday in a discrete location, with the famous individuals including Daniel Craig (Tom Basden) Elon Musk (Jamie Demetriou), JK Rowling (Samantha Spiro), Adele (Morgana Robinson), Daniel Radcliffe (Richard Goulding), Brian Cox (Dustin Demri-Burns) and Greg Wallace (Al Murray). Harry Enfield plays Branson as a posh twat with psychic powers (or at least the ability to tell when one of his trains is in trouble) who can’t help involve himself in the lives of the stars he’s surrounded by.
Compared to The Windsors the satire is a little less harsh on the celebrities featured, which is partially a shame when it comes to obnoxious fuckers like Richard Branson (he is a tax avoiding shit who donates to the Conservative party after all) though at least they take the piss out of his terrible train service and attempt at a Cola drink, while Brian Cox calls him a star fucker at one point and he can’t help but agree in a very funny moment. The rest are mostly affectionate parodies though, with Daniel Craig fed up of being Bond but unable to turn down the money, Adele feeling she doesn’t deserve to be famous, JK Rowling an angry sweary type and Brian Cox a slightly annoying intelligent man (so it’s a pretty faithful representation. then). Only the portrayal of Daniel Radcliffe as a desperate for work virgin seems a little mean, but then as it’s not representative of reality I imagine he’d find it fairly funny.
There’s various minor plot lines running through the episode with Richard Branson’s secret space travel plan the strongest as he attempts to persuade Cox to join him without revealing what he’s really up to , and Craig’s attempt to seduce Adele just so that she’ll write the next Bond theme is decent too, especially considering it includes a tense game of Connect 4 with Greg Wallace at one point. JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe hanging out together, and eventually fucking, is perhaps the weakest but it’s still reasonably daft, and while some of the stories are resolved there’s enough left open to suggest that a full series could be an enormous amount of fun, and if they do get it hopefully they’ll lay in to Branson even more.
The main thing is that it is really funny throughout, there’s the odd joke which is a bit poor, with JK Rowling implying she “Takes it up the shitter” being grimmer than the rest of the material, but most of the time you’ll be giggling away quite happily. It could be accused of attacking easy targets but very little of the humour is mean spirited and the whole thing has a ridiculously silly feel to it which makes it a pleasure to watch. All of the cast are on top form with Enfield, Spiro, Murray and Robinson especially turning in superb performances, and if the BBC don’t commission further episodes it’ll turn out the rumours are true and those who run it really are as stupid as some of the characters featured here.