Peep Show (Channel 4, 2003-2015)
I still remember how I discovered Peep Show. I was watching Channel 4 one day in 2003 when I saw a trail for the first series for the first time, and I recognised the two people featured in it as the comedy double-act in the Play UK sketch show The Mitchell And Webb Situation (I was clearly in the minority on that one) and I was pleased that they had got their own sitcom so I was a fan right from the first episode, and it has gone on to be one of my favourite sitcoms in recent years.
The original idea of Peep Show was that the show would mostly consist of Mitchell And Webb’s characters sat in their flat discussing various things about their lives and occasionally commenting on what was being shown on their TV screen in a similar style to Beavis And Butthead, but this idea was dropped. Which seemed to turn out for the better, because Channel 4 would never go on to commission a show that just essentially consisted of various people sat at home talking what they were watching on TV, would they?
When Peep Show began it was fairly low-key, being shown in a late-night slot and Mitchell And Webb were still fairly unknown by most viewers at the time. The style of the show is definitely something different. Firstly, everything is seen from the point of view of the main characters, so when people talk to them it’s as if they look right into the camera. Also, we can hear the thoughts of the main characters, so we get a better idea of what they really think about the things that are happening around them.
David Mitchell plays Mark, he is someone who works at a company called JLB Credit. He seems to be very bored by his job and gets frustrated by everything. What keeps him going is that he very much admires his boss Mr Johnson who he thinks is the idea of a successful businessman, and also his colleague Sophie (played by Olivia Colman who also appeared in The Mitchell And Webb Situation) and they eventually marry and have a child.
Robert Webb plays Jeremy, who is Mark’s mate and lives with him. He is a little more relaxed than Mark, and in the early series he spends most of his time in his bedroom making terrible dance music tracks which he thinks are terrific. He often hangs around with Super Hans who is a really bizarre character, who is supposedly in a band with Jeremy but they don’t get on much.
As the series pass, lots of other characters turn up and things begin to get rather complicated. There’s Jeremy’s ex-girlfriend Big Suze who reappears on the scene after he broke up with his American girlfriend Nancy, and Mark also falls for another of his work colleagues, and often ends up humiliated in various ways. There are also lots of other great characters including Toni, Jeff and Dobby.
There are so many great moments in Peep Show, but one of my favourite episodes is in series two where Mark bumps into a seemingly nice woman at a shoe shop, and manages to track her down at her university and pretends to be a student to try and stay with her, while the professor who has never even seen Ghostbusters looks on (who was played by Peter Capaldi).
Peep Show is now Channel 4’s longest-running homemade sitcom, with a ninth series beginning later this month which I am very much looking forward to. The show has also gone on to win some awards and has increased in popularity over the years. As well as this, Mitchell And Webb have also worked together on other projects including BBC2 sketch show That Mitchell And Webb Look, and the film Magicians, and I’ll review those too soon. I have also enjoyed the Peep Show scripts book and some of the DVD extras have given an interesting insight into the making of this great sitcom.