Kookyville (Channel 4) – Review

This programme was billed as a sketch show with a difference, and that is undeniably true. The cast were not professional actors or comedians, and there was no script.

No broadcaster has ever attempted this before, so Channel 4 clearly decided to conduct an experiment to demonstrate just how bad a programme like this could be. An experiment about as pointless as forcing monkeys to smoke cigarettes, in order to demonstrate that they’ll get cancer.

You don’t need to be a TV producer to work out that a comedy show with no experienced comedy performers and no script is going to be a car crash. But I don’t think any of us were quite prepared for just how truly awful this programme was going to be.

Producer Andrew Newman was one of the team behind the excellent Peep Show and Fresh Meat. One can only assume that for some reason he now wants to end his career. Perhaps he wants to spend more time with his family.

Croakily voiced by 85 year old Carry On star Fenella Fielding, Kookyville featured a real-life delinquent Grannie who said ‘f*ck’ and ‘c*nt’ quite a lot – a bit like Catherine Tate’s Nan but not funny. Then there was Annie and her mum Suzanne who sat in a cafe and took the mickey out of a dwarf. Ladies, even Ricky Gervais failed miserably to make that funny, so you’ve got no chance.

Meanwhile, real-life cockneys Drew and Wicksey sat in a pub and tried to emulate Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield pretending to be cockneys. Laugh? I thought I’d never start.

Just as I was about to switch off, three Essex girls came on and talked about whether or not cows ate beef burgers. At this point, I decided to stay tuned, because I realised that I could be witnessing television history. Could this be the most misguided, embarrassing and unfunny programme of all time?

Not only was there no script, but there was clearly no script editor either. If there had been, he/she would have taken out the deeply offensive joke about Thalidomide. Also, the rather awkward and unpleasant homophobic references at the end.

Despite claiming to be unscripted, Kookyville did actually credit one writer. A person called Nichola Hegarty. Nichola’s previous credits include Gayle’s World – a little-remembered copy of Caroline Aherne’s Mrs Merton. Director Eddie Stafford has previously directed such TV reality classics as The Woman With Half a Body. I can only guess that these folks just needed to earn a bit of extra cash before Christmas.

Channel 4 didn’t even bother to come up with a title that hadn’t been used on their channel before. The name “Kookyville” was the title of a series of sketches earlier this year in Channel 4’s own comedy series Cardinal Burns. Dear God, don’t this company’s comedy department talk to each other? Lazy, lazy, lazy.

Duplication like that demonstrates a staggering lack of professionalism and experience that is baffling in such an established and well respected indie as Objective Productions. Google “Kookyville” and all you get is Cardinal Burns. I’m sure Seb and Dustin will be less than happy to apparently be associated with a television disaster of such epic proportions.

I also note that Objective Productions haven’t even bothered to list the show on the industry’s own online database IMDB. They’re probably worried that someone might post a review.

Kookyville is lowest common denominator, dumbed down TV at its very worst. In a month in which Channel 4 have also launched the dreadful animated series Full English, one does wonder at the lack of judgement and expertise currently being shown by the channel’s commissioning editors.

Comments are closed.