TV Review: The Mind Of Herbert Clunkerdunk, BBC2/BBC iPlayer

TV Review: The Mind Of Herbert Clunkerdunk, BBC2/BBC iPlayer

Spencer Jones already has one BBC series on the go, Mr Winner, and now he has another. Following a successul pilot we get four new excellent views inside The Mind Of Herbert Clunkerdunk, a lovable idiot with an inventive streak that never stops.

Each episode is only ten minutes long but there is plenty going on there. The first instalment, in which the family are having a clear-out to go to a car boot sale – a cue for lots of good old prop comedy – has the feel of a punky pop video, with Clunkerdunk breaking into song and playing a toy guitar at the drop of a hat.

If you want to see a singing megaphone you've come to the right place. In fact all sorts of inanimate objects come to life here, from talking shoes to a front door that tells Clunkerdunk that he has stepped in some dog pooh. In fact pooh is one of the subplots here as sooner or later everybody in the family steps in it – including long-suffering but also slightly madcap wife Bobby, played by Lucy Pearman.

The chatty objects hark back to The Young Ones, the Muppets and even further to HR Pufnstuf (if you are really old), but they still feel fresh and original here. There is also great use of iPad technology and comedy regular Dominic Coleman pops up as geezerish mate Jonny Wallop sporting ping pong eyeballs – as does everybody else in one hilarious scene.

Elsewhere Herbert is getting stressed because he is late delivering a jingle for the local taxi firm. His dry runs are more excuses for quickfire musical interludes which build to a top quality pay-off.  

The combination of lunacy and pastel-coloured musical instruments makes this sound a lot like a children's programme and kids may well enjoy it. It's odd that the BBC has decided to schedule it so late at 10pm, but that may be because there are some darker undercurrents too. At one point Herbert's son's appearance might just give you nightmares.

Anyone who has seen Spencer Jones live – he is in Edinburgh at the moment with a new show – will already know how inventive he is. What is particularly impressive here is how, like The Mighty Boosh, he has transferred his stage madness so well to the screen. Even the credits are an excuse for more gags. Jones simply doesn't miss a trick or a chance of a laugh anywhere.

The Mind of Herbert Clunkerdunk, Sunday, August 4 & 11, 10pm, BBC2. All four episodes are available on iPlayer now here.

 

 

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