Tag Archives: bbc one

TV Review: The Gruffalo’s Child

31 Dec

Image: BBC

The short film which I’m reviewing today has a slightly younger target audience than my usual subjects, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was one of the best things that I watched all Christmas. I could say something pithy about my inner child here, but actually I think it has more to do with the fact that it’s narrated by Helena Bonham Carter (say what you like, in my eyes the woman can do no wrong!).

The Gruffalo’s Child is based on the picture book by Julia Donaldson and is the sequel to her bestselling book turned short film The Gruffalo. For those who haven’t seen that, watch it before reading: it’s wonderful, and the sequel won’t make much sense without having seen it! And the all-star cast, including Rob Brydon as Snake, Robbie Coltrane as the eponymous Gruffalo and James Cordon as the quick-witted hero Mouse, returns for the sequel, joined by Shirley Henderson as the Gruffalo’s Child.

At the beginning of the film, the Gruffalo tells his daughter the story of the Big Bad Mouse, making it clear that he has lived in fear of the tiny creature since the end of the original. But his child, less fearful and more sceptical than her father (and perhaps believing the story to be no more than a cautionary tale to keep her out of the woods), sets off to find this terrifying creature, meeting our old friends Snake, Owl and Fox along the way. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say this: Mouse proves to be just as adept at thinking on his feet as in the original, with hilarious results.

Created for children though it may be, the charming illustrations and delightful rhymes of The Gruffalo’s Child is a treat for people of all ages. (And there was me thinking that I could finish this review without being pithy!)

The Gruffalo’s Child can be viewed on BBC iPlayer until 7:54PM on Friday 6th January.

TV Review: Absolutely Fabulous “Identity” (20th Anniversary Special)

30 Dec

Image: Radio Times


For the second time tonight I watched the ‘Christmas’ special of Absolutely Fabulous. The word ‘Christmas’ is placed firmly in inverted commas here because, despite being shown for the first time on Christmas day, this episode is not remotely Christmassy. What it is is sublime. Seeing Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley parading about on screen as Eddie and Patsy, it’s difficult to fathom that it has been six years since they last played these characters. All the old favourites are back too: Bubble (Jane Horrocks) is on delightfully stupid form, Saffy (Julia Sawalha) is uptight as ever, and security systems have been installed to prevent Eddie’s mother (June Whitfield) from selling everything she owns.

So if there is no mention of Christmas, what is this episode about? It revolves around Saffy’s release from prison (yes, Saffy!), where she has rather unfortunately found a friend in Patsy’s ex-drug dealer, Baron (Lucy Montgomery). But, as always, the main plot is only half of the story, and the episode is filled with the sharp humour and relentless popular culture references which we’ve come to expect from Absolutely Fabulous. Saffy returning from a two-year stint behind bars provides the perfect opportunity for the characters to outline the highlights of 2011, including a hilarious reenactment of the Royal Wedding from Bubble and comments on the Kardashians (“They’re multiplying like head lice!” “Look at this fat one at the end, very soon she will split like an amoeba and become two Kardashians.”) and the London riots (“There’s nothing wrong with a bit of extreme shopping!”) by Eddie and Patsy. There is also a cameo by Sofie Grabol, star of Eddie’s new favourite show The Killing.

This is the first of three new episodes set to air this year for the 20th anniversary of Absolutely Fabulous‘s creation, and I for one can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in the next two installments. I have been deprived of this show for far too long!

“Identity” can be viewed on BBC iPlayer until Sunday 8th January. The second 20th anniversary special, “Job”, will air on Sunday 1st January at 9:40PM on BBC One.