TV Review: Twenty Twelve (Series 1)

The enduring lightness and laughter of Series 1 of Twenty Twelve make it an ideal lockdown watch

“OK. Here’s the thing. OK? The thing is… OK. Here’s the thing with this. OK. The thing is…”

Though it is actually nearly a decade ago now, 2011 does seem like another lifetime. And it is worth remembering too that pre-Olympics, many of us (particularly those who live and work in the capital) were sceptical about what havoc the 2012 Games would bring (I had a whole meeting about how dedicated traffic lanes would impact on some training I was meant to be running…).

Into this unknown, mockumentary Twenty Twelve – written and directed by John Morton – was broadcast (on BBC Four natch, those sceptics abounded) to coincide with the 500-day countdown to the opening ceremony. And a new British comedy classic was born, one which still holds up well now that things are, well, different.

There are many reasons why it works so well. The biting script (David Tennant’s narration is just genius), the short episode count, the quality of the guest players (Karina Fernandez’s translator, Paul Hilton’s drama coach, and Georgie Glen’s school receptionist all stood out this time round for me).

But it is the core ensemble that really make it click and I’d forgotten just how much the show sits around the meeting table with them. Hugh Bonneville, Amelia Bullmore, Olivia Colman, Vincent Franklin (he’s from Yorkshire), Jessica Hynes and Karl Theobald are all excellent from start to finish as they deal with the inane bureaucracy that comes with the Olympic Deliverance Commission. 

And though I’m loathe to play favourites, Jessica Hynes’ PR would-be guru Siobhan Sharp is an absolute masterclass in her every utterance, eyeroll and swipe of her phone. I can’t help but giggle every time I think of the 2012 jingle. A perfectly bingeable treat.

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