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The Persuasionists - Billy's Cockney Cheese ideas

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David Thair | 17:25 UK time, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Persuasionists - Cockney CheeseThe Persuasionists begins tonight on BBC Two. It's a comedy about the staff of a marketing agency called HHH&H and it is written by Jonathan Thake - a man with a good idea about life in this world, as it was he who came up with a certain controversial Pot Noodle advert back in 2002.

But you have to wonder whether the team in The Persuasionists have the wit to make it in the industry quite as far as their creator. Each week Jonathan will be giving us an insight into his characters' creative lives, starting today with the ideas pad belonging to Billy (played by Iain Lee, above). So, without further ado, here are...

Billy's Cockney Cheese Ideas

Billy's Ideas Pad
Find out how the team cope with marketing this particularly niche product tonight at 10pm on BBC Two - and watch a clip now to meet some of the guys.


  • Comment number 1.

    What a load of complete boll***s. Not at all funny and a desperate effort to provide comedy. Is this really why I am forced to buy a TV licence? Someone is having a laugh = and it's not the viewers. Get rid of this crap.

  • Comment number 2.

    I have just watched this on catch up tv and I have to say this is proably the worst comedy programme I I have ever seen.

    I think they forgot the idea that comedy was supposed to be funny. This is just utter rubbish

  • Comment number 3.

    Utterly dreadful - I felt sorry for the performers as I was watching. What a waste of talent. Who on Earth thought this was funny?

  • Comment number 4.

    I would rarely turn a new programme off - I like to give things a chance. I gave this one 15 minutes (which I thought was generous). I didn't laugh once - it was on the same comedy level as Bodger and Badger and it made me angry that my license is paying for this rubbish to air. When will the BBC stop messing about and start taking programming seriously? Start being picky about what your license fee payers have on offer - this is comedy far behind it's time. I want to laugh when I get home from work!

  • Comment number 5.

    My goodness, what an awful, awful programme. Totally devoid of humour and woefully inaccurate on even the simplest of details. In over 20 years working in advertising related roles I have never, ever heard anyone refer to it as a 'type font'. Typeface, yes, Font, yes, but never the two together in the same sentence - apart from a client trying to be clever. it was bit like the 'Dobly' moment in Spinal Tap, except no one on this terrible show picked up on it. Did the writer really work for an advertising agency other than maybe in Accounts or IT, or perhaps HR? I kept looking a the clock wishing it would end it was so bad. Surely you;re not going to run the whole series are you? 8i understand Jonathan Thakes was involved in a banned pot noodle ad campaign. Maybe this should be banned too.

  • Comment number 6.

    Dire, just dire. I can't believe this dross was even considered mildy funny, let alone commissioned. Whoever signed on the dotted line for this show to be made, should be taken out and shot.

  • Comment number 7.

    The worst comedy show I've ever seen. Really. Everyone involved - particularly Thake - should be ashamed of themselves. It was witless, lazy, unfunny, cheap and very badly acted. And on top of that, it got nothing at all right about ad agencies - which is amazing when you consider that Thake was an ad man himself. I don't often feel like this about the BBC but I feel robbed and genuinely pissed off that you spent good money on this garbage. Unbelievable.

  • Comment number 8.

    It really was incredibly bad. Jonathan Thake needs to be stopped from ever writing again - this much is clear - but the BBC really should be looking at the process which led to this show being commissioned.

  • Comment number 9.

    Well that's half an hour of my life I've wasted. I had high hopes for this show but it was ytter, utter dross. What a waste talented actors too. I struggled to watch till the end, hoping in vain that I would laugh at least once. Have 'unlinked' the series link on Sky+.

  • Comment number 10.

    Will you dare show any more of these?

  • Comment number 11.

    Why make this? Any idiot could've seen that this is clearly a failure. It's unfunny, crass, obvious, unoriginal and painful. Canned laughter has never felt so unbelievable. Just who is in these focus groups the BBC use? Because this keeps happening again and again. I thought when I watched Grownups last year that it couldn't get any worse. Tragic and embarrassing.

  • Comment number 12.

    New year, same old shite. Why was this commissioned yet Buxton's (flawed but promising) Meebox scrapped?

    It's not Jarred Crimbo's fault he's been promoted beyond his means, and we all know Iain Lee hasn't got a comedic bone in his wastefully long body but the problem goes deeper. The people commissioning this tripe should be accountable - they won't, of course, but they should.

    Apart from The League of Gentlemen and The Office, the last decade was a write-off in terms of BBC comedy and judging by recent offerings it's last rites time.

  • Comment number 13.

    This is the WORST comedy show I have seen on the terrestrial BBC in a long time - and i've watched a few episodes of "My Family"! Sloppy writing, not one gag, lazy stereotypes and hammy acting (although I suppose the cast didn't have much to work with).

    It horrifies me that this trash was commissioned while genuinely innovative (and FUNNY) comedy like "Cowards" (which you can be sure cost a hell of a lot less to produce than "Persuasionists") get put on the long-finger for recommissioning.

  • Comment number 14.

    Oh, and how come Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle (which received all across the board rave reviews and an increase, week by week, in viewing figures) wasn't automatically recommissioned? Presumably because you'd wasted your money - sorry, *our* money - on utter garbage like The Persuasionists. Pathetic.

  • Comment number 15.

    I couldn't believe how truly appalling this program was. I thought perhaps a program set in advertising/PR could be very clever (like the comedy with Stephen Fry, 'Absolute Power', which was an incredibly clever comedy), but this was without doubt the worst comedy I have ever seen in my life.

    I am really not sure whether it was the writers, the actors, or both, but it was auwful. The only reason I didn't switch off was because I thought it could only get better (as it certainly couldn't get worse), but it never did. The bad characters, the "plot lines" (and I use the term cautiously), the laughter tracks, they were all just horrible.

    I hope the BBC does not show the rest of this series.

    PLEASE BBC, never air this EVER AGAIN.

  • Comment number 16.

    Worst thing I've ever seen! Stop showing this. Burn it. Erase it from history. Fire everybody involved in making it.

    How on earth did it get to the stage of being broadcast? Who read the script and thought "yeah, let's make it"? Who when making it thought "yeah, I'm happy to put my name to this"?

    STOP IT!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    What a dreadfully unfunny programme. Absolute rubbish. What a waste of time and money

  • Comment number 18.

    Terrible. Utterly terrible.

  • Comment number 19.

    I love Adam Buxton and I quite like Iain Lee...but this show is mince. Script, direction, acting...all terrible.

  • Comment number 20.

    I've just watched this having recorded it.

    I really really really wanted it to be good and wanted to enjoy it.

    I like all of the actors/actresses.

    I like the BBC.

    It's rather rubbish isn't it ?

  • Comment number 21.

    I have to say, I loved the Persuasionists. It reminded me of the good old 70s and early 80s sitcoms with a twist of the modern...a mixture of Rush hour and the Office. With Adam Buxton in it, it can only be 'Brills'. Give it a chance everyone before you slate it.

  • Comment number 22.

    What I like about this wonderful show is that it's exactly the way Andy Millman's Character in Extras made that terrible sitcom which got panned by the critics in the programme. I can imagine all those wonderful Television Producers just squeezing this one dry of any comedy.
    Or is it a clever joke on us, did they make it terrible on purpose? Is it a subtle comment on society that we can no longer have whatever we want, like a good sit-com?

  • Comment number 23.

    I thought that it was quite funny

  • Comment number 24.

    Weird seeing Iain in character. It's not fair to say he has no comedic talent, this material is simply not up to his or Adam Buxton's level. Listen to Iain's radio show. It's the funniest thing on radio (well, a toss-up between him and the now defunct Adam and Joe show).

  • Comment number 25.

    I can't help but feel bad for Dr Buckles. I know he probably reads these comments and it must be very hard for a person to take so many negative reviews, in fact if anything Adam was one of the few things that actually made this worth watching.

    Personally I think Adam Buxton is a comedy genius. Admittedly I agree that this isn't one the best things he's ever done but I hope this doesn't discourage him from continuing with his own work of comical greatness. I hope he returns with Joe to 6music soon where he is missed by many.

  • Comment number 26.

    To say this programme is terrible is an understatement. The head of BBC comedy deserves a black mark on his CV. The script is shockingly bad, how dare the BBC waste license fee money on something that clearly would have looked terrible at the point of reading the script. This is the most unfunny show I've ever seen, you feel patronised that the makers thought that childish inane "jokes" would appeal to the British mass market.
    The actors are poor as well. Adam Buxton is someone I've always considered a talented comedic actor, but in this show he's possibly the worst of the lot; his pointlessly OTT performance is cringe worthy and reeks of desperation. Other criticism could come by looking at the pitiful character of the Australian boss, cue truly awful and relentless Australia "puns".
    Truly the worst thing I've ever seen on the BBC. Embarrassing to think that our national broadcasting service would create such rubbish.

  • Comment number 27.

    It's ok, and to comment so harshly so quickly isn't constructive. Talk about an over-reaction. Licence fee blah blah blah. It's much more inventive than anything you'll see on ITV, and does dare to try to be something different.

    You mostly agree that the actors are a talented bunch, so how about some encouragement for them? The nature of this sitcom means that Adam Buxton has to play it OTT. Name me a lead in a popular sitcom that doesn't. I think he plays 'hapless' brilliantly.

    A harmless way to spend 30 mins, and I for one will give it a chance.

  • Comment number 28.

    The writing, production and direction are to blame for this travesty. It treats the audience like idiots.

  • Comment number 29.

    Apparently the creator of this show used to work in advertising. He really shouldn't have given up his day job!! Because this is completely awful. Unfunny and dated jokes, bad acting and characters. Surely there are hundreds of talented writers out there (both tried/untried) who could do a better job. Shame on the BBC 'Comedy Unit' for wasting around £100k of our licence fee on each episode.

  • Comment number 30.

    Adam Buxton is a good and talented man, don't waste him on this drivel.

  • Comment number 31.

    I went to a read-through of two episodes of this - in its former "The Scum also Rises" guise - last year.

    It was SOOOOO painfuly unfunny that I had since forcibly erased all memory of the evening from my brain. I can see why they had to resort to canned laughter because a real-life audience - like that at the read-through - wouldn't find anything remoteley amusing about a single line. It might have got a laugh in the early 90s when held up against shows like The Brittas Empire...but I thought we had moved on since then.

    I initially overlooked the BBC's ill judgement in allowing it to get so far, as I assumed alarm bells would be raised when someone listened to the audience recordings from the read-though (easily mistaken for a blank tape) - or just read the script - and bin it before wasting more of our licence fee.

    Bad news...the two awful episodes I heard haven't yet aired! Save yourselves!

    BBC - please stop this now and NEVER hire any of the writers or production staff ever again.

    The only good thing about this show is that it would provide excellent fodder for Charlie Brooker to tear apart in a future Screen burn!

  • Comment number 32.

    Thank goodness the beeb have done the right thing and pulled it from the schedules

  • Comment number 33.

    Really? It's gone? I turned on last night for another incredulous gawp at this incredible gaffe to discover a genuinely entertaining re-run of Grumpy Ol' Women. I thought it might be a scheduling glitch but my heart lifted at the thought that a grown-up had made the right decision and removed what was becoming an unhealthy weekly shot of schadenfreude. You didn't even have to raise a polite chuckle because the show had already been so lavishly pre-laughed for you.
    Pity the actors, though. They got a paying gig and good luck to them but this will be no adornment to the cv. There will be no defence in 'we were only following directions'. The only heartfelt laughter they will hear is fellow thesps sniggering behind them.
    If the Beeb wants to revive 70's style trad sitcom, please look to The Likely Lads or even George and Mildred before On The Buses and The Dustbin Men, Love Thy Neighbour and Mind Your Language...

  • Comment number 34.

    It`s not been pulled from the schedules, it`s been moved to 11.20pm on Thursdays. I think the BBC have said something about it not being "mainstream" enough (ie: everyone hates it).
    Anyway, where are the rest of Thake`s insights into the creative lives of his characters? He seems to have only managed two. Maybe he is in the woods with Adam Buxton.

  • Comment number 35.

    *-sigh-* Yes, found it on iPlayer last night but fell asleep at some point early on. Even that morbid fascination with others' self-delusion that makes X-Factor auditions hard to resist has worn off now. Not for my sake but for theirs, please make it stop.

  • Comment number 36.

    Jonathan Thake. Writing embarrassingly one-dimensional Australian characters spewing creaking cliches with oddly New Zealand accents is one thing, but don't ever have them use the word 'Abo' for Aboriginal. It's utterly offensive in that country, the equivalent to using the word n*gger to describe a black person.

    You're not just unoriginal, you're ignorant.

  • Comment number 37.

    Am I really the only person in the country who thought this was hilarious? (Well no - I recommended it to my mate Matt, and it cracked him up too.) Simon Farnaby's performance in particular had me in stitches. The whole "walking through a door" scene was a work of comedy genius.

    Mind you, I've been watching it online because I don't really watch the TV much any more - "mainstream" TV just totally bores me. So I just use the IPlayer every now and then to see if I've missed anything good.

  • Comment number 38.

    All I have to say is thank God for iPlayer! Without it I would have missed out on this hilarious show! I don't really understand some of the comments on here - yes Greg is probably the most unfunny character there and yes some of the comedy is slightly forced and crude, but for the most part this is a brilliant show! Jarred Christmas particularly makes me erupt in laughing fits, especially in this first episode, and Simon Farnaby never falters for a second. Bring on a second series!

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm shocked when I read comments saying this was funny.
    But I still love Dr Buckles. He needs to write this. It can only improve.

  • Comment number 40.

    The Persuasionists is the Best comedy since Father Ted . It has a Psychological basis . It lampoons common Human personality traits in a subtly silly way . The Characters and Dialogs are caracatures of real human quirks ,and psychological twists .
    Brilliant .Brilliant ,BRILLIANT


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