FM Review: White noise

February 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

15fmFM, ITV2, Wednesday 25th February, 10:30pm Alert Me

FM is ITV’s first serious attempt to jump on the Brit comedy bandwagon, years after Channel 4 and then the BBC got it rolling. The show’s stars come from diverse stock, in terms of quality. Chris O’Dowd of the IT Crowd is the lead, an inept DJ called Lindsay with an astounding capacity for faux-pas, joined by Kevin Bishop of the Kevin Bishop Show and Nina Sosanya, who was a bit player in Nathan Barley.

It seemed somehow inevitable that FM could strive for nothing much more than mediocrity. I have an unreasonable affection for Chris O’Dowd – he’s like a cuddly Irish puppy – but seeing him dressed up like Jefferson Hack was just weird, and the scripting let him down.

The show is a thinly veiled hybrid of Extras and Nathan Barley, but sadly without the genius of Ricky Gervais in its cringeworthy moments and the fierce, bizarre focus of Chris Morris’s satire. Without the attendant nous of those masters of modern comedy, it falls flat on its face. Add to this the fact that Kevin Bishop is no Martin Freeman, Nicholas Burns or Stephen Merchant and there is little to redeem the show.

Probably the highlight for an unashamed indie kid like me was the live performance of the Guillemots in the “studio”, but asking Fyfe Dangerfield, their eccentric leading man, to tentatively approach Sosanya’s producer, Julia, for a date was a major mis-step.

The show seems to be riding on the back of its celebrity cameos – there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot more to it than the fact that Marianne Faithfull, Guillemots and Justin Hawkins pop up. There’s certainly nothing groundbreaking here in comedy terms, and it’s barely worth a giggle – more than anything I was left frustrated at the waste of O’Dowd’s talent, in particular – and the less that is said about Kevin Bishop the better.

By Chris Harding