99 Lead Balloons

Lead Balloon

The World Against Me

The second series of Jack Dee’s BBC2 comedy, Lead Balloon, is now well underway and thankfully, after a pretty shaky start, it’s right back on track. There’s something refreshing about portraying what is essentially Jack Dee’s on-stage persona in a domestic situation where he can be even more grumpy and put-upon than usual and, most effectively of all, play off the people around him. In the latest installment, “Points”, anti-hero Rick has been penalised with points on his licence for speeding and after unsuccessfully trying to pursuade Mel and Marty to take the points on his behalf (for fear of reaching 9) he finds out that Magda has recently started driving and, playing upon her apparent naivity, he pursuades her that points are a good thing.

The payoff, that was sadly missing from episode one, is delivered beautifully while the little side story about the library benefit is well realised too.  It’s the cast of characters that make this little series such a laugh as each of them out-do Rick in their own unique way.  Marty is funnier, Mel is smarter, the kids always get the cash from him, Michael in the cafe is nicer and even Magda manages to be more grumpy.  (Just noticed something… why do most of these characters have names begining with an “M”?).  In its way it’s a very old-fashioned comedy and I can’t watch without thinking of Tony Hancock, and that’s no bad comparrison.

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