Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Bob Servant

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Created by  Neil Forsyth
Original language(s)  English
Country of origin  United Kingdom
No. of series  2
Directed by  Annie Griffin Simon Hynd
Starring  Brian Cox Jonathan Watson Rufus Jones Pollyanna McIntosh

Bob Servant Independent, renamed Bob Servant, is a British television sitcom written and created by Neil Forsyth. The first series of six episodes was broadcast in 2013 on BBC4 and repeated on BBC2 Scotland, starring Brian Cox in the titular role and Jonathan Watson in the role of Frank. The show is set in Broughty Ferry, a suburb of Dundee. The second series, renamed Bob Servant, was broadcast in 2014 on BBC1 Scotland and 2015 on BBC4.

Contents

Plot

When Broughty Ferry’s MP is decapitated in a car crash, the resulting by-election receives an unlikely candidate. Local cheeseburger tycoon Bob Servant (Brian Cox) launches an eccentric campaign, managed by hapless right-hand man Frank (Jonathan Watson). Over the series, Bob and Frank battle with slick English candidate Nick Edwards (Rufus Jones) and his wife (Pollyanna McIntosh) for the votes of a bewildered Broughty Ferry public. The series also sees appearances by Derek Riddell as a local minister, Greg McHugh as a radio DJ, Shirley Henderson as a failed love interest for Bob, Alex Norton as Bob’s childhood nemesis and Sanjeev Kohli as a leather jacket salesman.

The second series of the show revolves around Bob and Frank’s lives in Broughty Ferry post-election. They restart their historical burger van business only for a wedge to be driven between them when Frank starts a romantic relationship with his swimming instructor Dorothy (Anita Vettesse). Bob faces further struggles with his doomed romantic pursuit of Council official Megan (Daniela Nardini) and ongoing issues with nemesis Hendo (Alex Norton).

Main characters

  • Brian Cox as Bob Servant
  • Jonathan Watson as Frank
  • Rufus Jones as Nick Edwards
  • Pollyanna McIntosh as Philippa Edwards
  • Kevin O'Loughlin as Police inspector
  • Production

    After the success of his Bob Servant books and BBC Radio series The Bob Servant Emails, Forsyth was asked by the BBC to adapt Bob Servant for television. He decided on the by-election premise as "a premise that gives Bob's pompous behaviour and endless need for self-promotion some sort of platform, yet I didn't want him to leave Broughty Ferry" Initially a BBC Scotland project, Bob Servant Independent became the first BBC Scotland sitcom to go straight to a network transmission for a number of years, an omission which had become a point of contention in the Scottish media. The show was filmed in Glasgow and Dundee in 2012. The second series was also filmed in Glasgow and Broughty Ferry, in 2014.

    Reception

    Bob Servant Independent received an overall positive response. In The Times David Chater called it "a total joy from start to finish — original, sharp, superbly acted and gloriously funny" and Andrew Billen said Cox gives a "stupendous performance, so calculatedly over the top, yet so irresistible". The Radio Times praised the "very funny, bewilderingly silly script" while The Scotsman called the show "likeable and amusing" with Cox's performance "infectious". However, some reviewers felt the character of Bob Servant had been better served in the radio series and books. The Independent felt the opening episode had "rough edges" and the Guardian, while noting there were "good moments", felt that "delusional interior worlds are much easier to create – and a lot funnier – when they are done as a series of soundscapes or monologues". The Dundee Courier printed a critical review of the opening episode, written by Forsyth in the guise of Bob Servant.

    The second series of Bob Servant was positively received. The Daily Record, who called it “one of Scotland’s finest comedies” described it as “beautifully written, perfectly acted it was a master class in how to squeeze real laughs out of viewers while still creating character and moving the story along”. The Radio Times praised the way Cox “manages to make Bob sympathetic no matter how deluded and bonkers he becomes” while The Herald noted that Forsyth’s decision to move Servant out of the political arena had made the character “more believable, and more fragile”.

    The series received large viewing figures and was the most watched BBC Scotland comedy of the year.

    Awards and recognition

    Bob Servant Independent was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA in 2013 and for a Royal Television Society Scotland Comedy Award in 2014. The second series, Bob Servant, won the Royal Television Society Scotland Comedy Award in 2015.

    DVD release

    Bob Servant Independent was released on DVD and download on 4 March 2013.

    References

    Bob Servant Wikipedia


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