Sunday, May 14, 2006


Let the Fun Begin

Funland begins tonight at 10.30 on BBC2. After airing last year on BBC3, it was nominated for a BAFTA last weekend – Bleak House beat it to Best Drama Serial, but it was an impressive debut. It’s disturbing but very funny, and every episode starts with someone in a gorilla costume plummeting to their death from Blackpool Tower. How can you resist? If you want one reason to watch, it’s Judy Parfitt – a fantastic actress given the role of her life as the most monstrous and cunning villain. Some might notice there are attractive people with their kit off, too.

Back to the BAFTAs, and wasn’t it fantastic to see Doctor Who win Best Drama Series, with two related awards besides? The best it had previously done was, as far as I can make out, to be beaten at the height of its brilliance – the dark fusion of horror, wit and religion of 1976-7 – by Noel Edmonds, and that was only for a children’s BAFTA. I hope that means the sneering’s been given a good kick goodbye.

At the risk of sounding a heel, though, I’d like to argue against the win for an actress who was not just excellent in the role she won for but as a memorable Doctor Who guest star last year. So, much as I liked Bleak House’s Anna Maxwell-Martin, I’d have given Best Actress to someone else. Fellow nominee Gillian Anderson almost stole that show, but I love a great villain. Just as Charles Dance should have won Best Actor for his magnificent Mr Tulkinghorn but wasn’t even nominated, Funland’s Judy Parfitt didn’t get a nomination for Best Actress but should have walked it (if you’ll forgive the pun). In the year Doctor Who finally returned, her character Mercy Woolf was the most fabulous monster I saw on TV. I was gripped by many of Funland’s seedy thrills, but Mercy is awesome. Tune in and watch her.

Just don’t watch with Mother.

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