Tim Renkow

Tim Renkow

Nominated for best newcomer in the 2014 Chortle Awards; and finalist in the 2013 Chortle Student Comedy Award.
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A Brief History Of Tim

iPlayer review by Steve Bennett

A comedy centred around a guy with cerebral palsy… a bit of worthy, inclusive box-ticking from the BBC, making sure disabled people are shown in a positive light? You’d only say that if you don’t know Tim Renkow.

In A Brief History Of Tim – one of the BBC Three Comedy Feeds released as part of the corporation’s Landmark Sitcom season – the comedian is shown as an incurable arsehole, messing about with impunity, believing, rightly, that no one will call him out on his bad behaviour because of his disability.

Playing a heightened version of himself, Renkow is shown as a piss-taker from the start, making a pub customer (Alastdair Beckett-King) feel guilty for using a disabled toilet. Elsewhere he pays a cab driver in coppers and a paper-clip, knowing he’d be too uncomfortable to challenge him.

But while there’s comedy in causing the well-intentioned to squirm in their political correctness, there’s more to Renkow’s character than this. All his mucking about is shown as the failings of an arrested-development manchild, not willing to take responsibility for the big things in his life: getting a job and sorting out his immigration papers.

Everyone’s trying to help him to get on, even if he doesn’t want to, preferring to while away his life reading, and sketching X-rated comics – some of which are about Professor Stephen Hawking, maybe justifying the punny title.

Renkow’s American mom (Sopranos actress Lorraine Bracco) doles out the tough love via Skype: ‘Get out of bed you crippled fuck,’ she lovingly tells him. Meanwhile, Richard Ellis plays a recruitment adviser Idris, patiently trying to help with gainful employment.

There are some great lines – ‘Maybe I’m not disabled,’ Tim says. ‘Maybe land’s just not my forte’ – and some slapstick, too, as he tries to manipulate his walking frame through a revolving door.

This one-off iPlayer short also features a lot of comedy circuit cameos, including Evelyn Mok as a smirking barmaid Ava enjoying Tim’s wind-ups, David Mills as a uptight office worker and the victim of another of Renkow’s pranks, and Abbie Murphy as an awful pub customer.

There’s a lot to enjoy here – and at just 16 minutes, this is an all-too brief history of Tim. More please!

• Watch the Comedy Feed here.

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Published: 5 Sep 2016

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