TV/Online: Flat TV, BBC Three

Since BBC Three went online it has had identity problems. A show such as Cuckoo might be good but it doesn’t seem to chime with the bold new future of online viewing. On the other hand Flat TV, which originated on the web, feels exactly like the programme you might expect an online channel aimed at a young audience to make. In both a good way and a bad way.

Tom Rosenthal and Naz Osmanoglu play over-excitable flatmates Tom and Naz living with landlord Mikey (Ethan Lawrence) in a suprisingly palatial pad. Their days are spent lolling around drawing dicks on faces, wearing lizard suits, lusting after female neighbours and bidding for tat on ebay. The closest thing to a plot in the first episode is the protracted wait for Tom’s ebay purchase to arrive so that he can put it on his “Fresh Plinth of Bel Air.”

We’ve had plenty of post-studenty sitcoms recently. Badults and Josh have both had a crack at this well-trodden genre. Flat TV does try to do something different, with constant cut-aways to the stars in other TV programme formats commenting on the mundane events in their flat as if they were of earth-shattering importance.

The concept is not particularly original. Obviously Peep Show offered an inner monologue sidebar and more recently Stop/Start tried a similar post-modern thing. Even Miranda had her Garry Shandling-style looks to the camera. A closer comparison might be the Raef Spall sitcom Pete Versus Life, in which daily activities were commentated upon as if they were dramatic televised sporting events.

Tom and Naz do add the reasonably modern twist of behaving as if they are in reality TV shows. So when they want to have a sulk about the other one’s latest childish behaviour they do it in Big Brother's Diary Room. And Naz has an invention - the Swiss Army Hat – which he is convinced is going to wow Peter Jones on Dragon's Den.

The best things Flat TV has going for it are the amiable performances and its huge amount of energy. This Usain Bolt-paced episode lasts only 20 breathless minutes but packs in more gags than a conventional thirty minute sitcom. Some of them are cheesy and plenty of them revolve around knobs and wanking. But if you have a short attention span and like utterly childish comedy this will feel as if it was written just for you. In fact if it wasn’t for the knob and wank gags Flat TV could probably be a brilliant children’s programme.

All four episodes of Flat TV are available online. Also on BBC2 at 11.25pm from Sunday May 29.

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