TV: Urban Myths, Les Dawson’s Parisienne Adventure/Les, Miserable, Sky Arts

TV: Urban Myths, Les, Miserable, Sky Arts

Two bits of good news. Firstly, the latest run of Urban Myths, the series which tells stories of 'lost' bits of showbiz history, is on Sky Arts which is currently free to anyone who has digital channels. And secondly, the first episode is a really good one. 

Les, Miserable tells the story of comedian Les Dawson's brief sojourn in Paris in the early 1950s when in a "cocoon of despair" he tried to be a struggling artist in the French capital. Sorry, I mean he was a struggling artist in the French capital. He went there, like all of us, to write the great novel, and ended up playing piano in a more-than-seedy bar.

Of course, Dawson fans will know that playing the piano in his own inimitable style was integral to his comedy schtick later on, so it's canny to see the roots here. We also see his first forays into comedy with mixed results before he finally finds his voice. It would take another decade for him to break through.

Les, Miserable works on all sorts of levels thanks to great performances and a great script - written by Inside No. 9's Steve Pemberton, who also pitches up as existentialist icon Jean-Paul Sartre. It is directed by Steve Bendelack who has worked with Pemberton on numerous League of Gentlemen shows, so it is no surprise that the piece has a smooth, well-oiled feel to it.

And full marks to John Bradley – Samwell Tarly in Game of Thrones - who neatly captures Dawson's embryonic hangdog demeanour. It would have been nice to have seen more of Mark Addy, who bookends the drama as the older Dawson and is an absolute dead ringer for the late stand-up. A funny, touching start to a series that has lots of intriguing stories coming up. Details of other episodes here

TV: Urban Myths, Les, Miserable, Sky Arts, 10pm, Wednesday, October 7 then on catch up. 


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