Category Archives: ‘The Security Men’

‘The Security Men’ Review

It has been panned by critics, mainly owing to its sexist jokes, but I saw The Security Men as an enjoyable hour of farcical comedy.

VERY HOPEFUL’

Written by Caroline Aherne and Jeff Pope (both of whom penned the sublime Fattest Man in Britain in 2009), The Security Men centred on four shopping centre guards who decide to switch off the alarms, so that they can watch Amir Khan’s boxing match in peace. However, when they return to their posts, they are dealt a blow bigger than Amir’s when they discover that a jewellers’ has been burgled in their absence. Panicking, they then set about trying to get themselves out of hot water by attempting to re-enact the robbery on CCTV.

Even before sitting down to watch The Security Men, I was very hopeful. Having been written by such talented and capable writers as Aherne and Pope, and starring a great cast (reading like a Who’s Who of British comedy), I could tell that I was going to enjoy it, even if only partly.

Peter Wight played Kenneth, a straight-laced guard who it wouldn’t be unfair to assume is something of a ‘Mummy’s Boy’ (or ‘Mammy’s Boy’, as Jimmy would say). Of course, a lot of people will know Peter as Nige – one half of the idle police team in Early Doors, created and written by Aherne’s Royle Family collaborator, Craig Cash. So, in The Security Men, he was in a similar profession, but with a completely different attitude to it.

Elsewhere, Dean Andrews showed that he wasn’t leaving behind his job of protecting the public either, as he went from DS Ray Carling in Life on Mars to…Ray in The Security Men, the ringleader of the boxing-watching trio.

Even though I had seen in him other programmes before, it was difficult to watch Brendan O’Carroll as Jimmy, without envisaging him in his dress and curly wig as loud-mouthed matriarch, Agnes Brown. O’Carroll was excellent as Jimmy, and never ceased to make me laugh whenever he asked someone, ‘Would you wash your Mammy? I mean, if she was partially soiled…’

The cream of the Security Men crop, however, was Bobby Ball whose character, Duckers (a name noticeably lent from an unseen character in The Royle Family) was a welcome extension to Morris, his happy-go-lucky character in The Fattest Man in Britain. He was filthy, he was crude but, most importantly, he was funny. Whatever would Tommy Cannon say? Actually, is Tommy still around..?

A SUCCESS – UNLIKE THE MEN THEMSELVES…

Initially, I worried that one hour (46 minutes, sans adverts) would not be enough for the potential of the plot to be fully realised. However, it transpired to be ample and, despite a somewhat slow start, The Security Men succeeded in providing us with a well-thought through storyline, as well as Aherne’s trademark down-to-earth dialogue and working class characters.

While Wight and Andrews’s characters may have been more developed than those of O’Carroll and Ball, all of them were a treat to become acquainted with over the period of the programme. I particularly thought that it was a good idea for the writers to originally not have Kenneth as part of the others’ plan to watch the boxing, but end up becoming embroiled in the scheme and partly responsible for the robbery.

FAIR CRITICISM?

Having said that, you can’t please everyone and, as I said, The Security Men was criticised by the Daily Mail and the Arts Desk, with its apparently sexist jokes receiving most of the flak. I don’t believe this to be anything to condemn, though. The majority of these jokes were told by Duckers, but his personality was such that you would imagine he’d comment on his wife’s breasts and piercings, and offer a policeman a couple of the pictures of her ‘for the lads in the station’. What Aherne and Pope depicted was a male-dominated environment, so surely it is only natural for at least one of the guards to be slightly risque with his comments? I think so, anyway.

I’m not sure whether this one-off episode of The Security Men will have ITV’s Comedy Commissioner, Myfanwy Moore, rushing to order a full series and nor will it likely be remembered as a remarkable comedy-drama but it stood alone pretty well, and I applaud the writers and stars for managing to carry it off – and beating Have I Got News for You and Not Going Out, both on BBC1, in the process

What did you think of The Security Men? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show – @UKTVReviewer.

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TV Highlights (6th – 12th April)

Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV.

Saturday 6th April

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

ITV, 7:00pm

It has been a fantastic series for Saturday Night Takeaway, which returned in February after a four year hiatus. This tenth season has seen Ant & Dec get their first number one single (‘Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble’ – the proceeds of which went to ChildLine) and consistently attract over six million viewers every week – meaning that they trounced BBC1’s The Voice last Saturday by one million.

Some features have worked better than others – the Undercover sketches involving One Direction and Piers Morgan were disappointingly poor while the opening audience participation and ‘End of the Show Shows’ have been excellent – but overall it has been a triumphant and welcome return for the only show on telly that says, ‘Don’t just watch the adverts: win them!’. Sadly, this week is the final instalment of this series, but ITV have recommissioned the show for 2014. Well it was either this or Red or Black – it was no contest, was it?

This week, Jonathan Ross steps into the voiceover booth; Little Ant and Dec grill Gerard Butler about his new film, Olympus Has Fallen; the ‘Ant v Dec’ victor is crowned; and the Jersey Boys cast perform at the end of the show – probably with help from the Geordie duo themselves.

Also today: coverage of The Grand National is on Channel 4 (1:00pm); Davina McCall puts players up against a 15ft hourglass in her new game show, Five Minutes to a Fortune (Channel 4, 5:10pm); The Many Faces of Sid James profiles the Carry On star’s life (BBC2, 7:30pm); and Ben Kingsley, Carl Froch, Audrey Tautou and Alt-J pull up a pew on The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9:20pm).

Sunday 7th April

Catchphrase

ITV, 6:45pm

If you have tuned in to ITV at any point this week, you can’t fail to have seen the trailers for the revived game show, Catchphrase.

Britain’s Got More Talent’s Stephen Mulhern steps into the shoes of former hosts Mark Curry, Nick Weir (‘Broken Leg Man’, remember?) and, of course, Roy Walker, to test contestants’ recognition of popular phrases and sayings. Of course, however, it often isn’t as easy as it seems.

The show, you may be pleased to hear, has been updated somewhat for 2013. Mr Chips looks like he’s ‘had some work done’, the graphics have been modernised and the money has improved! Yes, no longer shall players make it all the way through to the Super Catchphrase and win a couple of grand and a trip to Thailand. Instead, they could win a massive £50,000 – and a trip to Thailand…or any other destination.

I’m very much looking forward to the all-new Catchphrase beginning – not only because it is a great format which is always guaranteed to produce a few laughs (how can we forget the infamous ‘Snake Charmer’ episode?) but also it should put an end to those incessant bloody trailers.

Also today: Nick Hewer hauls an industrial saw to Sierra Leone for a young carpenter – honestly – in Nick Hewer: Countdown to Freetown (Channel 4, 7:00pm); new hidden camera show Off Their Rockers begins (ITV, 7:30pm); BBC1’s brilliant period drama The Village continues (9:00pm); and Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech premieres on Channel 4 at 9:00pm.

Monday 8th April

The Prisoners

BBC1, 9:00pm

Filmed over a year, this new series follows criminals from across the country – from those who are entering jail, to those who are currently serving time, and repeat offenders.

The first episode in the three-part series focuses on Holloway Prison. One of the repBBC & Genie Pictureseat offenders featured is eighteen-year-old Jayde (pictured, right). Jayde has previously spent time in jail six times and returns to Holloway just two weeks after her release.

The Prisoners seems to be in a similar vein to recent ITV documentaries such as Holloway and Her Majesty’s Prison – Aylesbury, both of which were quite successful, fascinating and shocking audiences in equal measure. I have no doubt that this series will have a similar effect.

The Prisoners has been postponed, owing to the BBC’s broadcast of Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister.

Also today: Lucy Worsley investigates how the ill health of monarchs has helped to shape British history in Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History (BBC2, 9:00pm); ITV’s gripping Broadchurch continues at 9:00pm; Chris Terrill speaks to people who are failing to cope with life after the armed forces in Battle Scarred: Soldiers Behind Bars (Channel 5, 10:00pm); and Made in Chelsea starts its fifth series (E4, 10:00pm).

Tuesday 8th April BBC & ACS

Later Live…With Jools Holland

BBC2, 10:00pm

Jools Holland (right) returns with another series of his musical showcases. This episode includes performances from Cat Power, the Strypes, Suede and Laura Mvula.

Also today: Kay Mellor’s excellent The Syndicate continues (BBC1, 9:00pm); Helen Czerski hosts Pop! The Science of Bubbles (BBC4, 9:00pm); and the fifth episode of The Matt Lucas Awards, postponed from last Tuesday, is on BBC1 at 10:35pm.

Wednesday 10th April

Victoria Wood’s Nice Cup of Tea

BBC1, 9:00pm

Viewers may be more accustomed to seeing Victoria Wood serving up tea in the canteen of HWD Components as one of the dinnerladies but in this two-part series, the multi-talented comedienne delves into exactly why us Brits are such obsessive drinkers of the stuff.

Over the course of two one-hour episodes, Victoria (below) travels the globe and speaks to stars such as Matt Smith and Morrissey in order to discover what our fascination is with tea, as well as its importance in history – how was it discovered and how exactly did it generate wars, but also help us win them?

Concludes tomorrow.BBC & Keo Films

Also today: Frank Gardner’s Return to Saudi Arabia (BBC2, 9:00pm) follows the BBC security correspondent as he returns to the country where he was shot almost nine years ago; 24 Hours in A&E is back on Channel 4 (9:00pm); Matt Morgan’s sublime The Mimic concludes (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and so does Anna & Katy (Channel 4, 10:35pm) which, considering the huge talents of its stars, has consisted of mainly below-average sketches this series.

Thursday 11th April

Celebrity Juice

ITV2, 10:00pm

The ninth series of the anarchic panel show continues as host Keith Lemon welcomes Catchphrase’s Stephen Mulhern, Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding and TOWIE stars Joey Essex and Sam Faiers to join in the fun.

This series has been consistently great but there is one thing: isn’t it time to give Jedward the push?

Also today: Channel 5’s Trauma Doctors (9:00pm), as the title suggests, follows doctors at one of the UK’s leading trauma centres; and new series The Sex Clinic explores the lives of some of the patients at London and Birmingham’s sexual-health clinics (Channel 4, 10:00pm).

Friday 12th April

The Security Men

ITV, 9:00pm

Four security guards’ idleness is exposed in this one-off comedy, written by Caroline Aherne and Jeff Pope.

After the four guards decide to switch off the alarms in the shopping centre where they work in order to watch the darts, in full widescreen, HD, surround sound glory, they are horrified to discover that a theft has taken place at a jewellers within the centre. The men then create an elaborate ploy to get themselves off the hook.

As well as having been written by Aherne and Pope (who collaborated on 2009’s beautiful The Fattest Man in Britain), The Security Men features an all-star cast: Brendan O’Carroll leaves Agnes Brown’s dress behind to play Jimmy, Early Doors’ Peter Wight is Kenneth, Mount Pleasant and Not Going Out regular Bobby Ball portrays Duckers, and Life on Mars star Dean Andrews plays Ray. Take Me Out’s Paddy McGuinness also pops up as PC Clarke, who investigates the aforementioned burglary.

I’m really looking forward to The Security Men. I’m fans of all of its stars and think the plot is packed with comic potential. However, at only sixty minutes in length, I am slightly worried that that potential will not be fully realised. Fingers crossed, though, it will be better than Caroline Aherne’s most recent TV venture: the abysmal 2012 Royle Family Christmas special.

You can read my review of The Security Men here.

Also today: Brian Blessed is in the host’s chair for perhaps the most eagerly anticipated Have I Got News For You since Angus Deayton’s sacking (BBC1, 9:00pm); physicist Isaac Newton is profiled in The Last Magician (BBC2, 9:00pm); although there are twice as many of them than necessary, comedians Jon Richardson, Rhod Gilbert, Lee Mack and Rob Beckett all compete in another 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Not Going Out, which has been recommissioned for a seventh series and two Christmas specials, continues (BBC1, 9:30pm); Alan Carr somehow bags an exclusive chat with troubled former footballer Paul Gascoigne in Chatty Man (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Michael Buble, Amanda Holden and Jack Dee are on The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Are you particularly looking forward to any of these shows or is there something else from the world of TV which you want to have your say about? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show – @UKTVReviewer.