Friday, 03 February 2017

Tracey Ullman’s Show

The welcome return of a comic genius to our screens

Written by Ben Felsenburg

I have to confess i was left stony-faced all too often by the first series last year of Tracey Ullman’s Show (BBC1, Friday, 9.30pm). Marvellous though it was to see a great Ben-Felsenburg-colour-176British talent returning to these shores from Hollywood, the indifferent material was a poor platform for her comic genius. Well, someone must have given the writers an absolute rocket, for Ullman’s back but this time with a panoply of pin-sharp zingers.

The impressions are, of course spot on, but they’ve also got a pleasingly acid edge, from Clare Balding the incorrigible camera- hogger to Nicola Sturgeon recast – with only a small leap of the imagination – as a villainness fit for a James Bond movie with a plan for Scotland to take over the world. Look out, too, for the return of Ullman’s particularly dastardly version of dame Judi Dench, only this time her fame may not be enough to save her from the slammer.

There are also some new and less starry characters: my particular favourite is the MI5 officer who acts for us all by using the full force of her secret agents to mete out punishment to the delivery man who left a ‘sorry but you were out’ card without ringing the bell.

Ullman inhabits every sketch with such precision and timing that you could imagine almost any of her characters having a full series of their own. It’ll be an absolute scandal if she’s not given a starring role in a drama very, very soon but for now the laughs are on Tracey. 



A cottage hospital in India for locals and expats is the setting for a heart-warming drama with Amrita Acharia and Amanda Redman.

THE MOORSIDE (BBC1, Tues, 9pm)
Sheridan Smith stars in this two-part dramatisation of the bleak true- life tale of the disappearance of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews.

ROOTS (BBC4, Weds, 9pm)
Laurence Fishburne and Matthew Goode are among the star names in a four-part epic saga of the African-American struggle for freedom.

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