Glorious send-up | James Delingpole

January 31, 2010

Bellamy’s People (BBC2, Thursday) began life in 2006 as a spoof Radio Four phone-in show called Down the Line presented by ‘award-winning’ Gary Bellamy (Rhys Thomas) with the Fast Show’s Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse playing the various callers.

Now it has moved to TV and its satirical target — not before time — are all those programmes where celebrities drive round the country meeting people and saying, ‘Isn’t Britain brilliant?’ So, in his classic Triumph Stag with a Union flag painted on the bonnet, Bellamy gets to meet his giggling northern fan club, cheeky-chappy plasterer, a Pakistani community leader (‘What does a community leader do, exactly?’ Bellamy asks, without getting a very satisfactory answer), and a cheerful elderly gentleman who thinks it’s terribly important to keep up with modern trends, by using the internet and so forth, and not to dwell on how much better the past was because in many cases it wasn’t.

Though it does have its broad-comedy moments — like the two elderly Mitford-style sisters who have divided their stately home exactly down the middle, one side dedicated to Stalin and the other to Hitler — it’s mostly much more subtle observational stuff.

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