Ten Percent review – a perfectly pleasant if pointless remake of Call My Agent! | Television

I very a lot loved Ten Percent (Amazon Prime Video), the nice English-language remake of the French hit Call My Agent!, however it did appear to be slightly pointless. Much of it’s a easy remake of the French collection, so followers can be aware of storylines about two big-name stars being given the identical function, for instance, or one other discovering out she is taken into account too previous for a number one Hollywood film. It isn’t a lot impressed by the unique as it’s borrowing its garments, automobile and home.

Call My Agent!’s Agence Samuel Kerr expertise company is rebranded as Nightingale Hart, close to Goodge Street, an space of London that doesn’t fairly have the identical visible enchantment as the first arrondissement. Otherwise, it’s all as anticipated. There’s a Mathias (Jack Davenport’s Jonathan), an Andrea (Lydia Leonard, as Rebecca), a Gabriel (Prasanna Puwanarajah, now Dan) and an Arlette (an underused Maggie Steed, as Stella). There are the identical assistants, the identical members of the family, the identical actor sorts. As properly as its conceit and several other of its plots, it additionally shares among the unique’s jaunty spirit and bounce.

Ten Percent is written by John Morton, who satirised inane company buffoonery in each Twenty Twelve and W1A, although contemplating his calibre and expertise, the satirical aspect of this present is oddly toothless. Actors sending themselves up ought to be humorous, and every so often, it manages to get there. Dominic West is enjoyable as a treasured West End Hamlet struggling to familiarize yourself with an Ivo van Hove-esque screen-heavy manufacturing, and David Harewood thunders in on the finish to run away with the finale. But as a rule, it performs it too secure. Actors make enjoyable of the enterprise – it’s ageist! It’s filled with large egos! – however not themselves. It’s good to see well-known faces like Helena Bonham Carter and Himesh Patel, however there’s surprisingly little to no self-deprecation right here. For a British model, it looks like an omission, or a missed alternative.

There are some twists and upgrades that actually work. Who would be the subsequent Bond? Why have a tax inspector when she may very well be a international correspondent as an alternative? Americans meddle within the enterprise rapidly and utterly, and it appears way more comfortable when mocking bland Californian enterprise platitudes than when teasing the world its performers inhabit. “You guys are so British,” beams one significantly high-wattage American newcomer. “Thank God someone is,” says Stella, the previous hand who has been within the enterprise for ever. This trade sums up the temper of the collection. It appears to say that there’s a stuffy previous English method of doing issues, and we prefer it like that. This is why, I feel, the brokers are all too good. They sometimes make a phonecall behind one another’s backs, however they don’t seem to be practically cutthroat sufficient. They are all too ethical, even Rebecca and Jonathan, regardless of their dastardly provenance.

When it embraces its soapiness, it cajoles you into caring concerning the characters in the identical method the French model did, however beneath the froth and enjoyable, there’s a robust undercurrent of melancholy. A washed-up, troubled actor referred to as Simon Gould (Tim McInnerny) haunts proceedings, hanging round like a residing immediate for different characters’ largest fears, as filtered by his personal failures. It is a wierd selection, and he feels as if it belongs to a unique collection. If Ten Percent appears, every so often, too deferential to the showbiz world, that is its luvviest concession. It made me pine for some spiky humour to chop by the fog of those teachable moments, because the Americans may name them.

Yet regardless of my misgivings, I by some means managed to plough by your complete collection with gusto. I think that viewers who haven’t seen the French unique might get extra out of this, because the brokers’ storylines, about secret daughters and reluctant amorous affairs and buyouts and sell-offs, have a heightened sense of melodrama that’s not often seen on British tv. It’s amusing to view Lorraine and The One Show in a dramatic setting, and it’s also extraordinarily gratifying to see which British actors, previous and new, can pull off taking part in themselves. On event, this looks like a much bigger ask than you may assume. Is there any level to this? Not actually. But by the top, was I invested in Nightingale Hart? I used to be, and I hope that if it returns, it does so with extra confidence in what it will probably do when it stands alone, with out the Parisian workplace respiration down its neck.

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