TV: Revolting, BBC2

After the success of BBC Three's The Revolution Will Be Televised and various specials it’s a promotion for pranksters Jolyon Rubinstein and Heydon Prowse who now get their own BBC Two satirical series in which they take potshots at the state of the nation.

There is a bit of a change here though. Judging by the first episode at least, there is less of their trademark stitch-ups. They famously doorstepped Cameron and George Osborne but here they don’t go for so many major figures. Maybe the security services have got their cards marked.

Instead they go up against organisations – a Labour rally, a hippy festival – and poke fun at the people there. When it works it is great in a squirm-inducing way, such as when Heydon Prowse plays a UKIP member canvassing the Essex public for new policies. He seems to find people who want to bring back hanging for immigrant rapists with chilling ease.

Another development is the advent of proper sketches, sometimes interacting with the public. Rubinstein plays a distinctly Portillo-style presenter looking at the horrors of UK train travel while Prowse goes around squashed carriages offering pictures of packed Indian trains to make the bored commuters feel better.

Elsewhere Colin Hoult plays a doctor who has to be revived to finish his A&E shift – it’s a sketch that could have been done by Not The Nine O’Clock News 35 years ago but it is still pretty funny. And Rachel Parris co-stars with Prowse in a very good conventional skit about being put on hold to mobile phone customer services and falling in love with the automated voice.

I’m not sure of Rubinstein’s Instagram campaigner Duckface will become an Ali G for Generation Selfie but there is plenty here to amuse. And while the performers do come across as the most middle class men in comedy their hearts do seem to be in the right place. This is worth watching just to see Rubinstein’s Tory MP James Twottington-Burbage almost getting thumped by a disgruntled Londoner.

Revolting, 10pm, Tuesdays from January 3.


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