Review: Behind The Filter, BBC Three

Review: Behind The Filter, BBC Three

This one-off 15-minute sitcom pilot from comedian Phoebe Walsh was scheduled to launch in early June. No specific reason was given for its delay, but now it has finally emerged on BBC Three it has been well worth the wait.

Well worth the wait on one condition, that is. If you have been waiting all your lives for a cross between Fleabag and David Brent. Walsh plays Ruby, in her late twenties, still living with her parents, and so directionless the only possible career move she can think of is to start a podcast (like the rest of the world). The episode follows her as she fumbles her way through the first episode of Feminism In Your Ears...

The candid Fleabaggy tone (though with the comedy more foregrounded) is set from the very start when we catch Ruby masturbating. Not once, but twice. Either her libido is in overdrive or, more likely in this case, she has nothing else to do with her life. Her parents, played by Pippa Haywood and Dominic Coleman, are getting increasingly impatient with her. Overprotective mum Frances worries about Ruby's health and halitosis, but actually seems to care more about their lodger Abdul, played by Omar Malik

There is a Brentish desperation to Ruby's attempts to be popular and part of the cool gang. She is smitten with podcast interviewee Barney (Edward Bluemel) but is also so keen to hit it off with activist Charlotte (Patricia Allison) that she claims to be a queer person of colour. The subsequent podcast interview is filled to the brim with cringe moments as Barney and Charlotte have an immediate natural rapport and awkward third wheel eager-to-please Ruby simply gets in the way.

While there might be hark-backs to other shows that doesn't mean that Behind The Filter is overly derivative. The script, by Walsh and Guardian journalist Harriet Gibsone, is full of well-observed, well-delivered foot-in-mouth lines. In this short one-off we quickly get a real sense of Ruby and her family. There's no reason why this could not spin out into a series. Though if every episode is going to open with as much rampant rabbit as this one maybe they should stock up on batteries. 

Watch now here.


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