DVD Review: MOVING WALLPAPER – Series One

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This British made sitcom details the behind the scenes trials and tribulations of a television drama series from the viewpoint of the production office. Think The Office meets Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, only funnier.

Moving Wallpaper is a bizarre show, as it ran here in the UK alongside the real Echo Beach (the show within the show) and there are cameos from Echo Beach’s stars in the series. Echo Beach is a drama series set on the Cornish Coast that follows the loves and lives of the residents of a small town. The series stars Jason Donovan and Martine McCutcheon. In fact many of the ideas, thoughts and suggestions that are mooted in Moving Wallpaper appear on screen in the sister series. It’s difficult to get your head around it, but if you become obsessed with the show you can also buy Echo Beach, which is available separately.

When producer Jonathan Pope is brought in to help save the new ITV prime-time drama only a matter of weeks before its launch, it would appear that the show is doomed to fail. With Pope’s wild demands and self obsession (he won’t begin work until he gets a wet room) it looks like his free spending and crazy script demands will sink the show even before it even screens to the public. However, the show turns out to be a surprise success. Once the show is a hit you would expect that the pressure would be off Pope, not so – the writers and staff in the production office need more care and attention than the high paid stars of the series. Not only that, but the head of ITV drama trying her best to replace him due to an unfortunate incident that occurred in the past.

What makes Moving Wallpaper so enjoyable is Ben Miller’s Jonathan Pope. Miller appears to be channelling Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones’ Diary with a bit of Ben Stiller thrown in for good measure. Pope’s role model in life is Simon Cowell, so you can see what type of person he is: vain, with the belief that he is better than those around him, that his ideas are what matter and that it is his talent, and his alone, that has made the show the success it is. Pope however doesn’t have a clue what is going on around him and the success of the show is really due to the talented, if slightly weird team that has been assembled around him. Throughout the show Miller manages to make the character of Pope sympathetic and even likeable, with the rest of the cast merely there to react to his stupidity.

A funny and interesting show that despite the sarcasm has some heart at its centre, Moving Wallpaper is a success on all fronts. One of the funniest British sitcoms in years.

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