Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, Phoebe Sparrow, Kenneth Cranham, Noel Clarke, Zoe Wannamaker, Fenella Woolgar.
There is always the excitement of the award season, the chance to hedge your knowledge of the subject at hand and become, for a moment, respectful of the judge’s decision, or to swallow hard, slap the top of your forehead and wonder where on Earth the reasoning and intelligence went when the victor is announced. And the winner is… sometimes the person you least expect it to be and the thought of back-handers, future projects and who was fancying who, who owed who, who wanted who, and the winner is, sometimes already decided..
To tackle the subject of award ceremonies and who gets to judge the fates of those who often never even ask to be considered, is perhaps a risky venture for any programme, comedy or not, to consider playing with; it can be too close to the bone, it can be found to mimic the actual procession of the so called anointed ones, but then parody is its virtue and when you can have Samantha Fox and Mick Fleetwood being so mismatched and wooden on stage presenting the Brits, it is surely possible for comedy to rip apart anything it wants.
Inside No 9′s And The Winner Is…is a performance in itself, a sense of the positive in a world shackled and shaped by the watch word of opinion, one person’s virtue placed against the tide of another’s attitude. It is like social media or the argument in the realms of the snug of the public house, except in the world of entertainment and sport it is loosely debated over tea, biscuits and with inclusivity the very watchword of the endeavour.
To tackle the words of opinion makers is as beautifully masterful as you can get; to enhance the proceedings with snide remarks, back handed compliments and exposing the misdeeds of too name but a few is only ever really enjoyable when it is done with sincerity and guile. In the hands of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, And The Winner Is… requires no explanation at the thinly veiled drawing of characters, aging actors, once in demand script writers, television pundit, directors, all with their own agenda, and there in the middle of them all, the stay at home television viewer whose opinion may count for very little but to whom it is their world, maybe more so that those who deal with the medium on a day to day basis.
Whilst not having the amount of television hours behind her as her esteemed colleagues, including the exceptional Kenneth Cranham and Noel Clarke, Phoebe Sparrow shone with particular resounding success as Jackie, the young woman to whom being in such esteemed company was a thrill in itself. Ms. Sparrow caught the attention as she tried her best to not fall into the same habits as the rest of the room and it was particular joy as the now familiar pay off line made its entrance to the episode’s narrative.
And The Winner Is…certainly in this series, Inside No 9.
Ian D. Hall