Moving Wallpaper Review – The Dead (Show) Arises!

February 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

MOVING WALLPAPER, ITV1, Friday 27th February, 9:00pm Alert Me

Well, this is a surprise.

Not in the ‘Wow, this is amazing’ department, more in the ‘My God they actually brought it back’ way of thinking.

For the uninitiated, the first series of Moving Wallpaper (which showed the creative process behind making a soap) and its spin-off Echo Beach (which showed the end result) were almost universally panned for their rather inflated opinion of themselves – the latter was your typical melodramatic paff, and the former, was too full of wink-wink nudge-nudge arrogance to really connect.

As the second series opens, it’s clear to both the audience and production team that something has to change. Series Producer Jonathan Pope (The Worst Day of My Life’s Ben Miller) announces that Echo Beach has been cancelled because “It was sh*t and no-one watched it.? Well, at least they’re honest.

From there, he’s left scrabbling around on the coat tails of a boss so evil she’d make Miranda Priestly look like a Furby, and snatches a last-gasp offer to produce a new script called Renaissance – a zombie drama. While the set-up may have changed (Renaissance will only be shown once, as opposed to Echo Beach’s piggy-backing schedule), Wallpaper itself is still remarkably similar to before and tonally, it’s about as random and sporadic as a narcoleptic on a trampoline. It jumps about from witty snark to completely ludicrous physical comedy with sometimes uneasy speed and the opening 10 minutes do tend to leave you feeling like ITV weren’t sure how to fix the problems of the prior series, so decided to merely lob at the wall not only the kitchen sink, but a Jacuzzi overflowing with Red Bull.

With its media-savvy tongue firmly in cheek, I’d like to offer it up as an English 30 Rock, but it doesn’t really possess the sharpness or polished, quirky blend down-pat to compete. That said, it is promising, and when it works, it really works.

There’s a brilliantly silly slapstick scene, a number of jokes poking fun at ITV’s predominately tacky schedule and the all-too-short focus on the staff’s writing process was genuinely amusing. As far as zombie/drama/self-knowing comedy series go, there’s absolutely no way they could even begin to compete with Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set, but if it continues to build on the admittedly rocky foundations, there’s little chance it’ll be left dead (aha) in the water.

Matt Risley