Sport on TV: Olympic pastiche ticks all the boxes in race against time

One of the dilemmas of writing a topical comedy must be that your script can be overtaken by events. The makers of a new sitcom about the London Olympics, Twenty Twelve (BBC4, Monday) might have been bemused by the apparent ability of Locog, the real organising committee, to deliver on time and on budget. Not many laughs there.

But then came the clock, which was supposed to count down 500 days to the start of the Games – until it stopped on Tuesday, a day after it was launched. This was a gift from the gods which Mount Olympus itself would have been hard-pressed to deliver, because the first conceit of this new series was a big clock that is launched 1,000 days before the Games. Suddenly the programme is looking like a time bomb, and Seb Coe, who is slated for a guest spot on the show, may soon be developing a nervous tick. Well, they say that comedy is all about timing.

Grumpy artist Anthony Preston designed the fictional timepiece and, like most British modern art, no one understands how it works until they discover on the launch day that it actually counts backwards from 5pm on 27 July 2012 to an utterly irrelevant date in the past. "It's kind of a dynamic thing, constantly in motion," says PR consultant Siobhan Sharpe of the Perfect Curve agency, excellently played by Jessica Hynes in full ditzy flow. It's a sign of the times, as are the torch-bearers she proposes: Bruce Forsyth, Sir Alan Sugar, Gok Wan, in "a list that accurately reflects Britain today".

Meanwhile Kay Hope, like the clock, is dealing with the future. She is trying to identify a suitable tenant for the Taekwondo Centre when the Games are over, and wants to give it to Rudolfo's Travelling Circus as a permanent home. Then it's pointed out that she hasn't asked the British Taekwondo Control Board. Perhaps Gok Wan Do might be interested.

And Graham Hitchens, in charge of logistics, implements a Traffic Light Phasing trial in the capital which brings the city to a standstill. It's like "doing open heart bypass surgery with the patient still alive", he says.

No doubt Boris Johnson will be tuning in each week, and like Coe he may have a cameo role. It's no surprise that he would play himself, though. After all, it's hard to imagine a fictional character who could be quite as much of a buffoon as BoJo. It simply wouldn't be believable, even in a comedy.

* Thank goodness for the England cricket team – again. Their Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em levels of ineptitude at the World Cup have left us enthralled in what has otherwise been an interminable and extremely dull tournament. We should not berate them for their clownishness. After all, they were simply splendid in annihilating the Aussies in the Ashes, and now they're managing to transform the least interesting format of the game into an insane carnival of emotions. Keep it going, lads, we're right behind you – and the sofa.

* Rio Ferdinand was not allowed to go to Africa to promote Comic Relief (BBC1, Friday), we're told, because he can't make himself cry. James Corden's latest amusing sketch was obviously written before Fabio Capello stripped Rio of the England captaincy. That strange upper lip has probably been quivering ever since.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most