It is somewhat ironic that BBC3 is doing some of his best material after going online only. After the really bright dark drama Thirteen comes this comedy is fresh, perfectly sharp, original and very, very funny. At first glance, it seems to be another comedy about modern people who fight against the sexual mores in contemporary London, but what makes it different is that it is told exclusively from the point of view of a woman Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). Usually in comedies Richard Curtis for example, women are elegant, well-behaved and bland beyond belief. This is the opposite – that is sexually voracious, very badly behaved, has a continuous battle with her sister “perfect” and a bad relationship with his father (the great Bill Paterson). She does everything we never see in women who normally do screen – masturbating first, even in a hilarious scene about Barack Obama. She is also desperate in her work, running a terrible coffee (real CAFF in Tufnell Park no less) having a guinea pig escape permanently within it. She also seems to be making up their prices, accusing him of “London” for their £25 tomato sandwiches.
What the program does is intelligent writing, but also the performance of Phoebe Waller-Bridge. constantly taking the camera has a quality Peep Show, where we got to hear what he really thinks of someone before hearing what they actually say to them – two very different things. She can do amazing things with friends of the actors, the raised eyebrow, the small smile, upturned lip, gaze with innocent eyes open. It is crucial that has charm in abundance, without the show would become an erotic show with women rather than men, a kind of Women Behaving Badly. Throw in some great real comedy as Hugh Dennis and the sublime Olivia Colman as the evil stepmother and is an absolute delight. There sings the show will become darker later in the series – is not a dead partner to start business – but now it’s really fun stuff.