Phoebe waller-bridge

Classic tangled thriller: Sky’s Gangs of London reviewed

There were plenty of TV shows around this week designed to cheer us up. Sky Atlantic’s Gangs of London, however, wasn’t one of them. After decades of desensitisation, it’s not easy for any film or television programme these days to make its screen violence genuinely horrifying. Yet, by my reckoning, Thursday’s first episode managed to do it at least twice before the opening credits had even rolled. By the time they did, it was clear that two terrified Welsh lowlifes from some kind of travellers’ camp had been tricked into carrying out a hit on Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney), London’s most powerful criminal boss — rather than, as they’d fondly

Let’s talk about sex | 25 July 2019

Every so often an idea for a show will come along that is perfect, and therefore should never be made. A sitcom based on Julian Assange’s time in the Ecuadorian embassy. Or a gender-flipped version of What Women Want. These are concepts to treasure, to return to, to discuss with friends. Once made flesh though, they disappoint. And this is what happened with the podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno. Here’s the concept. One Christmas Jamie Morton is asked to review a self-penned manuscript by his dad, which turns out to be astonishingly bad erotica written under the pen-name Rocky Flintstone. Morton recruits two old friends — BBC Radio 1

When Fleabag was a play everyone slagged it off – except The Spectator

Over the past six weeks something odd has happened. Head to the culture pages of any newspaper and you can’t miss it: the increasingly frantic praise for Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s smash-hit sitcom, has reached crisis point. What started as a collective love-in is now full-blown hysteria. After Monday’s finale, critics resembled devotees of a religious cult as they rushed to outdo each other with their tributes. One was literally speechless: Fleabag having ‘raised the bar so utterly’ that ‘all one could do was shake one’s head in appreciation’. The Guardian, rarely outdone in these things, published a guide to help its readers ‘survive after Fleabag’. The commentariat, it seems, is

Comedy returns

BBC2’s MotherFatherSon announced its status as a classy thriller in the traditional way: by ensuring that for quite a long time we had no idea what was going on. At first it looked as if the focus would be on a missing teenager whose phone we saw abandoned in the woods. But then we cut to an American called Max (Richard Gere, no less) arriving in London by private jet on an apparent mission to choose our next prime minister. Then to a younger man running fast and screaming. Then to a veteran female journalist being sacked — and not only because she’d just lit a cigarette at her desk.

What Phoebe did next

After the all-conquering success of Fleabag — her brilliant dark comedy about a smart but rudderless young woman in London — Phoebe Waller-Bridge could presumably have done whatever she wanted for her next TV project. And what she wanted to do next, it now turns out, is very odd indeed. Killing Eve (BBC1, Saturday) — which Waller-Bridge has adapted from a novel by Luke Jennings but doesn’t appear in — has its moments of recognisably ordinary life. But not many. Near the beginning, for example, Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) woke with a Saturday-morning hangover and unwelcome memories of her karaoke performance the night before. Yet within minutes she’d been called

Close encounters of the Eighties kind

Stranger Things is the most delightful, gripping, charming, nostalgic, compulsive, edge-of-seat entertainment I’ve had in ages. Like a lot of the best TV these days, it’s on Netflix, which I highly recommend so long as you can cope with the technical complexities of getting it to appear on your screen in the first place. Yeah, I know, all you bastard millennial types sneering at Granddad for his inability to do stuff that’s like so totally easy and obvious. But if like me you grew up in an age when there were just three channels and an on/off button, it’s a bloody nightmare grappling with this future where there’s an Amazon

Rape, porn and Cheesy Wotsits

Interesting times at Soho Theatre. One of its outstanding shows of last year, Fleabag, was an offbeat Gothic love story written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The director of Fleabag, Vicky Jones, has penned another offbeat Gothic love story. And it stars Waller-Bridge. The action plunges us into the weird, manipulative love life of beautiful Jo and her slick older lover Harry. Up goes the curtain and they’re copulating to porn while sharing a bag of Cheesy Wotsits. Harry’s old flame Kerry bursts in and announces that she’s been raped. Harry and Jo console her, rather perfunctorily, and then use her distress to start swapping cynical, sneering accusations about their

Theatre review: Fleabag’s scandalous success

Suddenly they’re all at it. Actors, that is, writing plays. David Haig, Rory Kinnear and Simon Paisley Day are all poised to offer new dramas to the public. But someone else has got there first. You may have spotted Phoebe Waller-Bridge playing a secretarial cameo in The Iron Lady. She’s a rangy Home Countries brunette with rosy lips, large inviting eyes and an angular, forthright face that suggests intelligence, amusement and a hint of subversive sexual power. Her immaculate skin is as white as a snowdrop. All in all, she’s perfectly set up for a steady career in frocks and pearls playing Downton gold-diggers and hyperventilating Jane Austen virgins. But