Grace Dent on TV: Vicious and The Job Lot, ITV

You could say it glorified sexual assault and stereotyped gays, but I took it as a lovely daft romp

An abundant week for new television. Two new ITV1 comedies, Vicious and The Job Lot, plus Sky One's fresh-out-the-oven fly-on-the-wall doc series on Greggs the bakers entitled, ahem, More than Meats the Pie. If one is in the marketplace for a ton of heartwarming tales about proud, industrious bakers, lovely Northern lasses popping warm cheese pasties into paper bags and old folks' gossipy coffee mornings, this is a glorious way to spend an hour. It's like one long Victoria Wood As Seen On TV sketch but with the subliminal mind-implant “Mmmm pastieeees, lovely fresh cheese scone, mmmmm ring doughnut with a neon pink glaze, all on your High Street now”.

Meanwhile, on Sky Atlantic we saw Alan Ball's new offering Banshee. Ball was creator, writer and producer of my favourite show of all time, Six Feet Under, so my hopes were inflated. Banshee, however – the tale of an ex-con and master thief who assumes the identity of the sheriff of Banshee, Philadelphia – is a tad too much running, leaping and sweating while dodging exploding cars for me. I suspect I'm not the correct demographic. This is TV for a man whose wife has gone to her mother's for a few days and, after his initial burst of “woooooh the world is my oyster!”, is now in sweat pants, drinking a cold can of lager while waiting for a chicken jalfrezi and garlic nan to arrive. My genetic make-up reacts to Banshee with the inner monologue: “Well this is a terrible pickle. He's not making anything any better for himself with all this shouting and shooting. ” Six Feet Under, Banshee is not. For true introspective wisdom about American masculinity on screen, there's a lovely long nerdy look at the subject in BBC2's The United States of Television.

More my type of television was new comedy Vicious, the panto-style tale of two heavily theatrical, caustic old homosexuals – Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi – living in a dark flat, curtains drawn, loathing everyone, with occasional visits from sublime proto-hag Violet – Frances de la Tour – who turns up to add deadpan fuel to their bitching bonfire. Broad, brash and shallow this may be, but if this isn't at least a rough outline of my life in the Starlight Home for Retired Hacks circa 2057, then something has gone very awry. I rather loved British stalwart Marcia Warren as Penelope, when the ensemble sat sipping tea at a gay wake, remembering their dead friend's terrific affection for handsome men. “Wasn't there a wife?” Penelope said, scrunching her face to remember the finer details of the 1960s, “I'm sure I remember a wife?” “Ugh, 17 years,” McKellen hissed with an airy wave.

Most of the opening jaunt of Vicious featured the aged couple making colossal fools of themselves by flirting with their new twenty-something neighbour. If one really wants something to get terrifically het up about, one could say the whole show glorified sexual assault and augmented gay stereotypes. I just took it for a lovely, daft, gay, romp full of acidic quips. It's too beautifully easy and temporarily satisfying to detest all new comedy on sight. I do it myself.

The opening titles roll, the first scene appears establishing characters in broad strokes. “Ugh, I hate everyone here!” the internet roars, 'I hate the fact this was even made, I hate everyone involved, in fact this shit-fest is the amalgamation of all that is wrong, safe, depressing and nepotism-fuelled about British TV commissioning.“ Obviously, in the case of BBC1's The Wright Way, this is not only true but an understatement, but, in most cases, it's just a show gathering momentum.

Following on from Vicious, The Job Lot, set in a West Midlands Job Centre, was really rather loveable. Russell Tovey as a beleaguered dole-claim clerk, Sarah Hadland as his anxious boss, plus an ensemble cast featuring an anally retentive toxic pen-pusher (Jo Enright, one of Britain's best character actresses), the long-term professionally idle Sophie McShera (Downton Abbey) plus the glorious Adeel Akhtar (Four Lions and Utopia). Russell Tovey's delightful “stick your job up your arse” strop, followed a mere 10 minutes later by a complete volte-face genuinely made me gleeful. In fact, I could watch Sophie McShera argue with Russell Tovey about why she can't take any of the jobs on offer for the entire episode. Tovey: “Greggs, the bakery, 15 hours a week?” McShera: “I'm wheat-intolerant”.

So, all in all, a lovely week of staring at a box in the corner of the room. Throw in a bit of E! channel's Chelsea Lately and Ryan Seacrest's dinner with the Kardashians – each one lovingly grilled for their inner wisdom (Rob Kardashian's sock company is going great guns) – and there was literally no good reason to stand up. Let's be honest, the untelevised world can be a huge let-down. I find most trips outdoors to be a flagrant waste of lipstick.

News

literature

News
Dermot O'Leary attends the X Factor Wembley Arena auditions at Wembley on August 1, 2014 in London, England.

television

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss