'W1A' gets off to a half decent start, but is unlikely to reach the heights of its predecessor Twenty Twelve.
As Sarah Parish appeared on the One Show on Wednesday ahead of new comedy 'W1A's' debut episode, there was much to be made about how good the BBC is at poking fun at itself. Only, it's not really, and the team that brought us 'Twenty Twelve' don't appear to have gone anywhere near far enough with their latest offering.
Hugh Bonneville And His Team in 'W1A'
Sure, the first episode brought about a passing reference to the Jimmy Savile affair as "a learning opportunity" but other than that, it seems as though the writers missed a golden opportunity to tap into the endless mine of material that the corporation has offered up over the past couple of years.
"I wouldn't say W1A is a disaster; it suffers from having to follow Twenty Twelve and other BBC series - in particular The Office even a decade on, and The Thick of It," said The Independent's Sean O'Grady, adding, "This mockumentary needs a bit more "mock".
"The script was witty but wordy, barrelling from one informal chinwag to the next, while starry names stacked up: David Tennant narration, Carol Vorderman cameo, mentions of Alan Titchmarsh, Jeremy Paxman and Clare Balding. It was trying a little too hard and verged on smug, with celebrities queueing up to prove what good sports they are and the Beeb slapping itself on the back for being self-satirising," wrote Michael Hogan of The Telegraph.
Hugh Bonneville as Ian Fletcher in 'W1A'
John Crace of The Guardian wrote: "W1A came billed as satire: a show that would dare to laugh at the BBC by exposing its idiocies. But it's too cozy for that; indeed, by showing the BBC as an organisation that can laugh at some of its foibles, it neutralises any genuine criticism of its practices. It feels as if it was written by an insider looking out, rather than by an outsider looking in."
The new four-part series stars Bonneville as Ian Fletcher, who we last saw heading up the Olympic Deliverance Commission in Twenty Twelve. Now, he's the Head of Values at the BBC, with tasks including the license fee renegotiation and charter renewal in 2016 and 2017 respectively.