Pramface: An Oral Defication (…or what I did for the past six weeks)
Author – Your author
Source – yasminpaige.co.uk
A review on the first series of Pramface by the sarcastic author of this site.
Well everybody else is forcing their Pramface point of view down
my throat so I thought I would respond in kind.
So… six weeks ago BBC 3 began broadcasting Pramface. A thirty minute situation comedy which went out at 9:00pm on Thursdays. Put simply, horny sixteen year old guy (Jamie Prince – Sean Michael Verey) goes to party and looses virginity to an slightly older
drunk girl (Laura Derbyshire – Scarlett Alice Johnson) who then gets pregnant. The first series, comprised of six episodes, covers the period from loss of virginity to the birth of the child. The sex of the child isn’t disclosed in the last episode. There will be a second series where all will be revealed…
Having watched the three hours of material which have been broadcast, it is a credit to the writer, Chris Reddy, that it
remains interesting week by week when the above summary of the series is fundamentally all that happens.
Yes, there are tangential storylines… the troubled relationships of both of the main character’s parents, the friend (Beth Mitchell – Yasmin Paige) who hides her love for Jamie and Jamie’s good natured but dim-witted best friend Mike Fenton (Dylan Edwards), who bumbles through the situations that arise only to irritate the characters while entertaining the audience in the process.
The series, which is directed by Daniel Zeff, moves along at a sprightly pace and while the main storyline is simplistic the series
succeeds due to wonderful performances by all it’s cast members as well as the sharply written dialogue by Reddy and crisp direction by Zeff.
A highlight for me is the Mike Fenton character, superbly played by Dylan Edwards who brings a lot to what would appear on paper to be a very one dimensional character. The character could easily be an annoyance (think BBC’s very own Jar Jar Binks) but he is genuinly funny thanks to Edwards’ deadpan delivery and facial expressions. Edwards can also time the delivery of a comedic line to perfection. There is also a Stan Laurel-esque vunerability and innocence to Mike.
The Jamie Prince character is an extremely likeable guy and Sean Michael Verey is perfectly cast in the role. He is an “everyman” figure and our perception of him is as a well-balanced fella. Verey excels when portraying the pressure of the pregancy and the impending birth getting to Jamie and we sympathise for him. Again, there is an innocence to him.
Laura’s father (Angus Deayton) and mother (Anna Chancellor), although protrayed well, are a little clichéd and the upper middle class, curtain-twitching, cold and unloving type is something we have seen time and time again. However, their relationship towards each other warmed in episodes 5 and 6 and this may give some milage for Chris Reddy to work with.
Jamie’s parents (Keith Prince – Ben Crompton, Sandra Prince – Bronagh Gallagher) are, again, a little clichéd but are extremely likeable and their relationship (although by no means perfect) is genuinely funny.
Sadly, I felt that Emer Kenny, playing the part of Laura’s friend Danielle Reeves, is painted into a corner a little. Laura turns to Danielle for advice and support, but Danielle is not interested in the pregnancy or the responsibility it requires and scene after scene we see Danielle running away or hanging up when on the phone to Laura whenever the subject raises it’s head. This removes her from the storyline and leaves the character pretty much redundant. Sad, as Emer Kenny is great in the role… such as it is.
Jamie’s friend and secret admirer Beth Mitchell (Yasmin Paige) is interesting. We as viewers are, I think, genuinely puzzled where she will end up. The obvious relationship for Jamie is with Laura and there is obviously an attraction between them (not to mention the bond of a newborn). If Jamie isn’t an option for Beth might a “surprise” relationship develop with Mike? If not this, where does the character go? It seems to be a dead end unless the key cast members are added to in the next series.
The show has got everything required to become a hit. There is a concern that the storyline may run out of steam if stretched beyond, say, a third series. But then again, maybe, as with most great British television comedy in the past, it’s not longivity the creators are seeking.. but simply quality. On the evidence of the first series, all the pieces are in place!