Ruby Speaking | Review of ITVX's latest comedy, starring Jayde Adams © ITV
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Ruby Speaking

Review of ITVX's latest comedy, starring Jayde Adams

Last week Catherine Tate introduced us to one of the most unlikeable central characters in a comedy show in Queen Of Oz. Now Jayde Adams goes to the other end of the spectrum for her title character in the new ITVX comedy Ruby Speaking, a call-centre worker with a heart of gold.

She’s just too nice to do her job, keener to chat with the customers and act as an unpaid therapist than secure the sales she’s paid to land. Her colleagues, especially her equally agreeable line manager Mark (Sam Swainsbury)., like her easy-going, gently fun personality.

However, she seems just a little too bland to sustain the viewer’s interest – which is something of a surprise for anyone familiar with Adams’s often brash, larger-than-life stand-up performances. Not much really happens in the opening episode – even the threat of Ruby being fired from Hellocom, for missing every target she’s set isn’t played for big drama.

Her colleagues at the Bristol call centre are all pleasant enough, too. Tom (Joe Sims) is nominally the ambitions alpha sales dude, but he’s far from odious. The overwhelming tone of Ruby Speaking is naturalistic, with characters that are relatable and recognisably close to normal people, rather than comedy archetypes.

The only exception is Katherine Kelly as scene-stealing over-the-top boss Vicki – a personality that belongs more in Benidorm than The Office. She’s an enthusiastic bubble of corporate buzzwords and empty platitudes about ‘staff wellness’ and ‘mental health things’ mixed with a ‘alright babe’ mateyness - but with a heart of stone. 

Her aside, Ruby Speaking is built on gentleness, both of the characters and of the action, and it may be quite a big ask for a streaming show to hope audiences stick with the show and warm to its laid-back pace.

• Ruby Speaking is streaming now on ITVX.

Review date: 22 Jun 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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