Playhouse Presents: Damned, TV review: Yes, it's formulaic - but it's my kind of formula

 

The professional social services depicted in Playhouse Presents: Damned, the latest in Sky Arts 1's series of one-off comedy-dramas didn't seem to care.

Written by Morwenna Banks and Jo Brand (who also starred), this was Brand's mordant hospital sitcom Getting On transferred to the offices of a council's children's services.

The tropes of this type of comedy were all in place, including restless camera work and naturalistic acting. Brand and Alan Davies played social workers who have been round long enough to instantly recognise a prank call when someone phones in to say they've found a baby in the meat section of Tesco.

Also involved were Rebekah Staton and Kevin Eldon, the latter as Martin, who used to work in the office before suffering "mental health issues" but who's now invited himself back and making himself so useful that no one cares.

Yes, it's formulaic in its way – but when the constituent parts are The Thick of It, Twenty Twelve and Getting On then it's my kind of formula. Damned is so primed to be made into a full series that it might detonate of its own accord – I hope Sky (or someone else) is there to record the explosion.

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