Tom Davis

Tom Davis

Tom Davis played several characters in The Morgana Show on Channel 4 in 2010, and in 2011 made his own Comedy Lab pilot for the channel, Warm-Up Guy.
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Murder In Successville review

TV review by Steve Bennett

It takes a lot of hyphens to describe Murder In Successville, BBC Three's new comedy-reality-cop-drama-impressions-improv-pastiche show.

Stella Street is surely its closest relative, the John Sessions and Phil Cornwell Nineties comedy in which all the residents of one suburban street just happened to be A-listers.

In Successville, which the BBC describes as Midsomer Murders meets Sin City, Mary Berry runs the Soggy Bottoms strip club, Vladimir Putin owns the gun and Boris Johnson is the retired scoutmaster. And every week there's a murder to be solved by the gruff hard-bitten DI Sleet, played by Tom Davis, who recruits a real-life celebrity to help him crack the case.

For episode one, Made In Chelsea's Jamie Laing is the sap thrust into this confusing world to investigate the slaying of restaurateur Bruno Tonioli. 'He hasn't got a fucking clue what's going on,' says police chief Gordon Ramsay, as played by Liam Hourican. But then nice-but-dim Laing probably doesn't have a clue what's going on in Tesco, let along this high-concept show.

Davis forces his guest into various scenarios designed to embarrass – in their very first meeting Laing is persuaded to French-kiss his own hand – as they try to unpick the none-too flummoxing clues. Was it Tonioli's vampish wife, Darcey Bussell (Cariad Lloyd), The Harry Styles Gang or the Kray-like Carr twins, Alan and Jimmy?

The result is rather a mess, but with enough funny moments to make it an endearing one. Colin Hoult's Jimmy Carr is definitely the highlight, communicating only in that menacing, asthmatic noise he calls a laugh, as Luke Kempner gives a sinister twist to his alleged sibling's high-pitched camp.

Laing is frequently paralysed by panic, but the footage of him corpsing as he struggles with a scene in which he goes into the Styles lair wearing a wire is surprisingly infectious, while Davis has a combination of brash bluster and playful likability to hold it together as much as it's ever going to hold together.

You get the impression that he's well aware how preposterous all this is and plays with it – likewise for many of the live circuit up-and-comers in the cast – which also includes Tom Stourton, Frances Barber, Tony Way, Gemma Whelan and Jenny Bede. It's probably too inconsistent to be a must-see, but top marks all round for trying something different.

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Published: 6 May 2015

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