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Quick Cuts, BBC Four | reviews, news & interviews

Quick Cuts, BBC Four

Quick Cuts, BBC Four

Poor debut for a hairdressing salon-based sitcom

Doon Mackichan (extreme left) as salon owner Sue, with her staff

You may have thought BBC sitcoms had sunk to the depths with Ben Elton's The Wright Way, but Quick Cuts is giving it a run for its money. The opening episode of a three-part series started last night and, while I'm not a betting woman, I'll vouchsafe Quick Cuts won't get a full run. Or should it do so, I may have to ask for my licence fee back.

Georgia Pritchett's offering, unlike Elton's monumental failure, at least doesn't have the added burden of a laughter track (at least not in the preview version I saw), so I was able to appreciate just how silent I was watching it. To be fair, I did laugh twice in half an hour, but that was because a decent comedy routine had been shoehorned into a sitcom setting. Quick Cuts is, you see, described by the BBC as “a fast-paced, quick-cutting sitcom crossed with a sketch show, set in a hairdressing salon”. No, me neither. Is it a sitcom? Is it a sketch show? Or is it a misadventure that embarrasses almost everyone involved?

The first laugh in question – let's savour it, why not? - came when a customer was talking to her hairdresser. "She's got that thing where she's afraid to leave the house."



Would that there were more of these amusing vignettes. Worse, though, was that the narrative element misfired so badly. The set-up is that Sue (Mackichan) lives with ne'er do well husband, Trevor (Paul Reynolds), whom she is for ever throwing out and then taking back. That was the running “gag” of the show.

Sue owns a hairdressing and beauty salon - which should be a fruitful setting for comedy - with a bunch of employees who fit some yawn-inducing stereotypes. There's Annie (Jessica Gunning) a fat girl - last night she bemoaned getting her hand caught in a Pringles tube - who can't find love, ditzy blonde Becky (Lucinda Dryzek), who's involved with a married man 20 years her senior but can't see it won't work, party boy Gavin (O.T. Fagbenie), who, being non-white, must of course speak entirely in street slang (but at least Pritchett hasn't made him screaming gay, so let's be thankful for small mercies), and Marianne (Jane Dowden, the only one allowed to act with any subtlety), who attracts the interest of a lovesick customer who is convinced she's a male-to-female transsexual. But then, she is saving for a breast augmentation op, so it's an easy mistake to make in this farrago.

None of this would matter if the interplay (some of it improvised) between the characters was believable and/or funny. It isn't, although I must say I loved Becky's response to Gavin when he insulted her (some nonsense about her stealing his credit card and then discovering that he had run up huge a bill by ordering off the internet when wasted). No I didn't see that coming a mile off either. “Cock off, yeah,” she said. “And when you get there, just cock off a little bit further” - which proves that swearing is funny and is clever.

But when a comic actor as wonderfully talented as Mackichan (Smack the Pony, Brass Eye and many more quality shows) is reduced to falling all over the place after her character had ingested drugs bought off the internet, doing some embarrassing auntie-at-wedding-dancing to Enya and jiggling another women's breasts for comedic effect, then you know a show is doomed. And deservedly so.

  • Quick Cuts in on BBC Four on Wednesdays
None of this would matter if the interplay (some of it improvised) between the characters was believable and/or funny


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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This was an absolutely awful piece of moronic rubbish - should be on BBC 3 if anywhere. If it was meant to be funny - it wasn't, If it was meant to be observational - it wasn't, if it was meant to be entertaining - it wasn't - I even fell asleep for 10 minutes of this very, very badly written and badly acted programme. And the 'transsexual' 'joke' was not at all funny, it was insulting to our intelligence, and to trans people everywhere. Certainly a real waste of the precious time BBC 4 has to broadcast in.

Got to say I enjoyed it. After a documentary about fracking it landed nicely. For the record Doon Mackichan did much the same dance routine only with fewer clothes on in April de Angelis' play Jumpy at the Royal Court. Must be a signature.

I hope the reviewer will be proved wrong. Unfortunately this series isn't long enough (three episodes) to build a faithful following, and will probably, and unfairly, disappear without trace. The second episode is funnier. I wish reviewers would be more gentle on fledgling comedy. No, this show is not sophisticated or particularly subtle, but it has a warm streak, and is genuinely entertaining. More of the same please!

I thought the series was very funny but took me at least the first episode toget into it. The reviewer doesn't seem to have much imagination. I felt the characters were portrayed in an appropriately shallow manner for a hair salon. I look forward to another series azs three really wasn't enough.

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