Last Monday BBC2 aired episode two of The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff, a Dickens spoof in which the hapless hero Jedrington Secret-Past (Robert Webb) behaves haplessly in a world where street signs advertise things like Urchin Pies, and characters have names like Miss Primly Tightclench, Pussweasel and Dr Wackville.
It should be good. Bleak Expectations, the Radio 4 show that came first, certainly was. But somehow it … isn't. It's really one joke stretched out over four episodes. The script is crammed with gags but they all feel a bit samey, meaning that the major source of fun lies in spotting which Dickens novel they are drawn from. Most importantly, and perhaps most fatally, Bleak Old Shop of Stuff seems not to genuinely appreciate or love the thing it is satirising.