I have long been an admirer of Tom Davis’s work: Murder in Successville is one of my favourite programmes (see my review of that here), and he is excellent as the Landlord’s muscle in Plebs. So I sat down on Monday to take a look at his new show on ITV2 written by Davis and fellow MiS writer James De Fronde – Action Team.
Action Team is a big budget spy spoof which draws obvious comparisons with the Austin Powers series (although I watched the original Casino Royale with Peter Sellars a couple of weeks ago and I have more than a suspicion that both the above owe a lot to Sellars and also Carry on Spying). It has the same cringe inducing scatological crude humour – opening with a cock shot of Davis over a dying agent – as the Mike Myers films, but actually the plots feel more coherent and tight than Powers. It is, fortunately, much more than just cock jokes and stinkfinger sexual slapstick, which would grow stale very quickly. A good spy spoof is quite current given the Cold War vibe around today, and this is very good.
The cast is excellent (Davis does a double turn as Agent Logan Mann and his nemesis Vladimir Shevchenko); Laura Checkley (fabulous in Detectorists) as weapons guru Monica; Kayode Ewumi as a work experience kid Huxley, the Horrible Histories Jim Howick as Graham the sniper, and Vicky McClure (This is England and Broadchurch) as their boss Ruth. These are fabulous actors who play it straight next to Davis’s Logan – an agent whose self-confidence is as high as his competence is lacking – and give it a real classy feel. This is understandably helped by enough cash for explosions and graphics, sets, costumes and production feel of a movie rather than half hour sit-com. Fair play to ITV2, they have been ambitious with commissioning new British comedy and it’s produced some real crackers:Plebs, Timewasters, the Job Lot and even Cockroaches (Haters gonna Hate but I enjoyed it). Action Team is another to add to that list.
Anyone who has read my books knows that I love a good fart gag as much as clever satire (go read Swift, the two are not mutually exclusive) and Action Team is a clever parody that held my interest and made me laugh out loud as well as a lot of chuckling over the opening double bill. Action Team is definitely a hit for me (fucking brilliant was my initial reaction) I just hope we still get more Murder in Successville and Davis in the new series of Plebs this year. Action Team is on ITV2 at 10pm on Mondays.
This Deceitful Light, book 2 of the Blandford Candy Histories, is available on AMAZON