TV: New On Two – Famalam, BBC2

After a lot of fairly trad sitcoms the latest pilot in the BBC's current raft of newbies is a sketch show. And although it is new Famalam feels like it has been around for a while. In both a good and bad way.

The ideas here are pretty mainstream. Email scams, sci-fi horror movies, CSI send-ups. The twist is that the cast is mainly black, so in some sketches race is integral though in others it isn't. For example in the sci-fi skit the gag is that they know that the black crew member always gets eaten first ("I've watched a lot of movies..."). Meanwhile the Nigerian Prince who wants to give away his piles of gold is a real Nigerian Prince who wants to give away his piles of gold, but for some reason his emails keep getting deleted by their recipients.

It's certainly well-paced. If you don't go for one sketch another will be along too. There's a running gag featuring shoestring African movie trailers, a group of rappers who keep trying to film their sexy videos in public places and grime artist Scribbler P presenting his version of black history ("some of the white people were getting vexed").

There are a few duds and it is not always as original as it could be, but the hit rate is very high and the cast, who don't seem to come from the usual Edinburgh Fringe/Footlights comedy circuit – Vivienne Acheampong, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Samson Kayo, John Macmillan, Tom Moutchi and Roxy Sternberg – very impressive. Inevitably this is going to be compared to shows like Goodness Gracious Me and The Real McCoy, but if anything it is far more like The Fast Show.

Famalam, BBC2, Wednesday, September 20, 10pm. Catch up here.

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