TV: Bull, Gold

Bull

It feels highly appropriate that new sitcom Bull is being aired on Gold. The channel is known for its celebrations of classic comedy and there is something endearingly, instantly classic about Bull.

The series (only three parts, so not a load of old Bull in any sense) is written by comedy circuit regular John-Luke Roberts and Gareth Gwynne and stars Robert Lindsay as natty dresser Rupert, yes you’ve guessed it, Bull, who runs an antique shop. I guess all the china shops were taken.

Maureen Lipman plays Robert’s eccentric sister Beverley who chain-smokes her way through the first episode between doling out advice to new employee Faye (Claudia Jessie). Though quite why they need more staff is beyond me. The shop already employs hapless Toby (Naz Osmanoglu). But, hey, this sitcomworld, not reality and would you believe it, it kind of works.

The opening storyline involves a bit of a palaver over a missing Faberge egg, which prompts an emergency replacement trip to the local store which is run by Mr Richards (whose egg it just happened to be) played by Matt Lucas. It's a bit of a scoop casting Lucas, although maybe not that much of a scoop as Lucas’s production company made the programme. Can they replace the egg without Mr Richards catching on or will the yolk be everyone’s faces?

Bull doesn’t exactly set out to break the sitcom mould, but it does neatly straddle various different comedy generations. Former Goodie Tim Brooke-Taylor pitches up as another shopkeeper and as for Robert Lindsay, his pedigree is second to none. It really is a genuine scoop that they landed him.

The filming budget looks a bit on the tight side, but the writing is strong and the comedy is broad but also clever. There’s an elaborate knockabout visual gag at the start which is brilliant. So brilliant, in fact that they shamelessly do it twice. If you have been waiting all your life for a cross between Never The Twain and Black Books your prayers have just been answered.   

Wednesdays from Oct 21, 10pm, Gold.

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