X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Culture House Daily

First look at the BBC’s BBC mockumentary W1A

20 March 2014

12:05 AM

20 March 2014

12:05 AM

So, OK, here’s the thing with W1A: it’s just as brilliant as 2012. So that’s all good.

By which I mean the two most memorable characters from the BBC’s Olympics mockumentary – Siobhan Sharpe and Ian Fletcher, whose catchphrases bookended the paragraph above – are back in the BBC’s BBC mockumentary. Last night’s first episode saw Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) appointed as the corporation’s new Head of Values, reunited (against his will) with brand expert Sharpe (Jessica Hynes). Their first crisis was who should present Britain’s Tastiest Village, after Clare Balding had to pull out due to filming commitments on ITV’s How Big Is Your Dog?


John Morton, the writer of both series (I mean W1A and 2012, not Britain’s Tastiest Village and How Big Is Your Dog?), is beyond great. He’s in the ‘makes it look so easy you think you could do it’ league. His characters are so perfectly formed that you assume they really exist, and all he’s had to do is follow them round and take notes.

Mind you, you could say Morton had a head start with W1A: he’s presumably more than a little familiar with the BBC’s internal workings, something that would make him simultaneously the luckiest and unluckiest man in the world. Several of last night’s jokes weren’t actually jokes. Fletcher, for instance, had to go on a course before he was allowed to work in New Broadcasting House. Real members of staff at the real BBC have to do this. Really.

Auntie is also beyond satire when it comes to her jargon. When I worked there in the late 1990s, the TV commissioners said they wanted their programmes to have ‘the smell of now’. We pitched them a TV version of a radio show I was involved with: they took 9 months to make a decision. By which time the smell had gone off somewhat.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close