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I TALK W1A

Most of you wouldn't believe me if I said that the BBC had made a comedy about people working at the BBC. Well, guess what? ...they have, and it's called W1A.

Technically a new comedy, W1A also serves as the sequel to the brilliant Twenty Twelve which ran for two series in the build up to London 2012, with the final episode airing three days before the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. The tone of W1A is almost identical to that of Twenty Twelve, which is no bad thing as Twenty Twelve won a BAFTA for 'Best Situation Comedy' last year, and I see no reason why W1A can't and won't follow suit.

It's no surprise to regular readers that I'm a fan of the BBC and the programmes they make, so for me a sitcom based inside the BBC featuring BBC employees was always going to be right up my street. The only problem might've been if the programme didn't live up to my expectations. But luckily, having watched the first episode, it lived up to, and exceed expectations.

Once again David Tennant is on hand to provide excellent narration for the series. Also returning and a familiar face for those of you who saw Twenty Twelve, is Ian Fletcher, played by Hugh Bonneville, in his new role as Head of Values for the BBC. Ian Fletcher no longer has a Personal Assistant, which means that sadly Olivia Colman who played Sally in Twenty Twelve, will not be returning for W1A. "BBC4 is like a Marmite channel. The problem with Marmite is that nobody eats that shit." - that's right, Siobhan Sharpe is BACK. Played brilliantly by Jessica Hynes (The Royle Family, Up The Women), Siobhan was easily one of the funniest, characters from Twenty Twelve, and I'm so pleased that she's back for W1A.

And if you thought the BBC4/Marmite one-liner was good, just WAIT - because there are plenty more where that came from as the series goes on. She really is the Queen of one-liners. It's not all familiar faces from Twenty Twelve though. There are also a raft of new characters, including Jason Watkins (Trollied) who plays Simon Harwood, Director of Strategic Governance.


His first task is to show Ian Fletcher how to fold a bike up properly although later scenes suggest Ian took absolutely none of Simon's advice on board. There's also Sarah Parish (Peak Practice) who plays Anna Rampton, Head of Output and Monica Dolan who plays Tracey Pritchard, Senior Communications Officer.

And not forgetting the Intern, Will Humphries, who is played by Hugh Skinner who let's just say isn't the sharpest tool in the box, and if he lasts the series I'd be very surprised. Bring Sally back I say.The under-representation of Cornish people on the BBC, losing Claire Balding and meeting Carol Vorderman for salad to talk about a potential new show Britain's Tastiest Village, are just three of the brilliantly bonkers things that happen during the first episode.

If you're a fan of Twenty Twelve, Getting On and The Thick Of It then this will 100% be for you. And even if you aren't a fan of those shows (first of all, why not?) - a sitcom about people working in the BBC made by the BBC is surely a big enough draw to watch?

Undoubtedly people will watch this and think "Is it too close to the bone?" or "Should the BBC really be satirising themselves in this way?" - Well to answer both questions, no it's not and yes they should. The BBC have been in the news a lot recently and it was only a matter of time that a sitcom about the corporation was made.

Luckily for the BBC, they got there first, so of course they're in full control over what is and isn't shown. That's not to say the show is 'safe and boring' - it isn't. It's everything I expected a sitcom about the BBC to be - and more! In fact, writer John Morton has recently said that he was pleasantly surprised at the free reign he was given with W1A, and how the BBC hardly interfered at all.

Unlike Twenty Twelve and the London Olympics, the BBC don't have a shelf-life (unless you're talking about BBC Three, but that's a whole other issue), so there's potential for W1A to run and run... and I'd really like it to. It'd be a shame to lose it after just four episodes.

We may only be in March, but already BBC Two have made some brilliant comedy this year. Inside No 9 and House of Fools were both brilliant and Rev, which returns for a third series next week is on course to be the best series yet. So with all that plus W1A, BBC Two do seem to be spoiling all the comedy fans out there at the moment.

W1A airs Wednesdays at 10pm on BBC Two

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