TV Review: Crims, BBC3


Well, this new sitcom certainly cuts to the chase. Luke (Elis James) has barely uttered a sentence while sitting in his car when his mate Jason (Kadiff Kirwan) jumps in and informs Luke that he is his getaway driver just as a posse of police cars pulls up and blocks their exit. Before you can say “how do you plead?” Luke is walking into the ill-named Sunnybank View Young Offender Institute and asking guard Dawn (Cariad Lloyd) if he is going to be bummed.

Crims has a pretty good cast – see above and below – and a pretty good writing pedigree. Adam Kay is best known as half of pop parodists Amateur Transplants and Dan Swimer co-wrote Grandma’s House and they certainly pack in the gags, many of them with a high smut content. Jason and Luke end up sharing a cell and the first thing Jason does is work out a wanking rota.

There were early reports – by me probably – that this was going to be a Porridge for the new Millennium. It isn’t, of course. If anything it takes its cue more from Scum. There’s no “Who’s The Daddy?” moment though. Instead the violence and menace is played strictly for laughs. Luke has to hand over his trainers for a pittance and when he is accused of being a grass he has baked beans flicked at him.

It’s Elis James that is the clear star as wimpish Welshman Luke. He has an air of a young Martin Freeman about him as he works out a strategy to cope with life in the “bumatorium”. Kadiff Kirwan is also very watchable, even if his idiot wannabe player Jason feels a little less original, while Cariad Lloyd and Al Murray lookalike Ricky Champ from Him & Her as wardens are top value.

The script, meanwhile, is fast-paced and funny. And educational. Crims is worth watching just to learn a whole new meaning to the term 3G. It's sexual slang, but I won’t reveal exactly what it is here in case you are planning to watch on iPlayer, which you should if you missed it. Let’s just say that 4G in the same context would either be impossible or illegal. 

Crims, BBC3, Thursdays, 10pm.

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