Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I wonder how long this new BBC redesign will last. I thought only BBC Three was getting a revamp, but I noticed that even BBC One now has a thoroughly annoying between-programmes ninety second news blip complete with loud music and flashy graphics for all those viewers totally devoid of any sort of attention span. Of course, BBC Three used to have this kind of "news" programme, but it's now been replaced with some sort of bizarre round up of what other news networks are talking about. What? Why do I need a minute of some slack-jawed ex-model shouting the headlines from the Chinese state news service at me?

Anyway, Phoo Action, then. One of BBC Three's new young, hip, yoof drama pilots, it's based on a Jamie Hewlett kung fu comic strip, and I'd assumed that "Jamie Hewlett" and "kung fu" were sure signs of greatness.

What they did, it seems, is take Hewlett's designs and bolted them to, to... I don't know what it was, but it wasn't much good. It should have been funny, but it wasn't. It should have been fast, but it wasn't, and it should have been much more manic than it was. You could see signs of the limited budget around the edges in stuff like the locations, but that doesn't excuse the ponderous yet empty script, the leaden directing and the non-committal acting. The closest thing to which I can compare it is the old Batman series, but Phoo had none of that show's energy and enthusiasm, and you never got the impression that Adam West was embarrassed by what he was doing. It's a shame, because if they had come out with a more impressive first episode, then the BBC could have had something truly unique on their hands. Perhaps it will get picked up, and the actual series will be better, but I'm not confident.

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