Shiny Shelf

Trevor’s World of Sport

By Eddie Robson on 15 August 2003

It takes something quite significant for me to turn over from ‘Scrubs’ – although this only involved the minor sacrifice of having to watch it later on video. So, what’s so good about ‘Trevor’s World of Sport’?

Having now watched the first episode, the answer is ‘Not much’: however, what led me there in the first place was the presence of Paul Reynolds. A fine comic actor who has been grossly under-exploited since the lauded Children’s ITV drama ‘Press Gang’ came to a close ten years ago, Reynolds returns here in a role much like that of Colin in ‘Press Gang’: an amoral, shiftless, wheeler-dealing creep.

The good news is that he’s as good at it as he ever was. In fact – and I’m not the first critic to say on this – even if ‘Press Gang’ means nothing to you, he is still the main reason to watch the show at all. In fact, if he was the central character then this might be the best BBC1 sitcom in a good few years. As it stands, it’s a little above average.

The script is not too bad, although ‘Teachers’ offers more laughs every ten minutes than this raises in its full half-hour and it suffers from the plague of the modern BBC1 sitcom, which is a sense that it has been steered driven towards lightness and transparency: in other words, it plays a little too safe. There’s no chance that you won’t get any of the jokes in this show, but there’s often a chance that you won’t find them funny.

There are also two actors here who aren’t quite living up to their potential: lead Neil Pearson was at his best in ‘Drop the Dead Donkey’ playing a slightly pathetic compulsive gambler, and accordingly the role of Trevor is a bit too clean for him. With a few minor adjustments the role might actually have been better for Andrew Lincoln, who has the right look to play the show’s devil-may-care racing driver but doesn’t quite manage to communicate the character’s descent into insanity (Simon Pegg could probably have done it).

Even so, what really prevents ‘Trevor’s World of Sport’ from achieving real quality is the production style. ‘Teachers’ adopts a heightened, glossy style to accentuate the humour, whilst ‘Black Books’ relies on the theatrical crackle of performing in front of a live audience. Pitched somewhere between those, ‘TWOS’ appears pedestrian despite the inclusion of the dream/fantasy sequences that now appear to be obligatory in TV comedy.

Even so, it’s a substantial cut above embarrassing drivel like ‘My Hero’ and if Reynolds gets more work out of it then it’s all been worthwhile.

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By Eddie Robson

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