TV Review: Twenty Twelve (Series 2)

Despite an excellent Samuel Barnett, the second series of Twenty Twelve isn’t quite at the level of the first, though still very enjoyable

“I’m not from the sanitary world, I’m from Yorkshire”

Perhaps inevitably, the second series of Twenty Twelve doesn’t quite live up the revelatory quality of the first, the tinkering with the formula knocking the exact chemistry of the ensemble ever so slightly off-balance. Split into two (although you wouldn’t know it watching it now), the final episode ran just a couple of days before the Opening Ceremony of London 2012, and the show’s success was such that it made the move from BBC4 to BBC2.

In many ways, the recipe for John Morton’s mockumentary series didn’t change. The Olympic Deliverance Commission continued their hapless march towards the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games, battling their own ineptitude and institutitional intransigency as personal ambition sets up against religious rights, the Royal Family, the nation’s comparative lack of interest in women’s football and sportsmen’s innate lack of personality to name but a few.

Sam Barnett’s hyper-efficient Daniel, the replacement for a distraught Sally (Olivia Colman) is a genius addition to the team – enjoy! – but for some reason, Morven Christie’s grasping Head of Legacy Fi Healey feels like an extra body too many. The subplots of her flirting with Ian and jousting with Kay prove extraneous, pulling focus from an existing ensemble who just don’t need the extra business of someone else.

That said, we’re still blessed with seven funny episodes here, blessed with some genius supporting performances – Selina Griffiths’ almost-wordless nods as a royal aide, Robin Weaver’s highly-strung Deputy Asst. Commissioner Rachel Crane, the ever-excellent Jason Watkins as a vicarious vicar. And the knowledge that W1A is still is excitement indeed.

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