It doesn’t seem that long ago that Sky1 was just about The Simpsons, Malcolm in The Middle and Lost. Tonight, with the first episode of Spy – preceded by an advert for a new Craig Cash sitcom and followed by the latest instalment of An Idiot Abroad – Sky1 has proved that at the moment, they are right up with there with the stalwarts of British comedy. Spy has the potential to be the jewel in this crown too, if this opener is anything to go by.
Spy is unique, well made and funny – from the start. The first episode depicts our broken-family-man Tim (Darren Boyd) as he tries to find himself by finding another job. One mistaken corridor later and Tim finds himself in front of an MI5 selection panel, handsomely fronted by a bearded Robert Lindsay. The most interesting thing about this introduction to the series, is that Spy seems to be a family sitcom with the Secret Service thrown in, rather than the other way around. This is a much more difficult way of doing things, and credit must go to the writer, Simeon Goulden, for devising the show in this way. We also had a cameo from half of our Wish List stars, Ginger and Black, who put in a sterling performance behind the desk at the Job Centre.
On the family side of the show, Tim and his son Marcus have a dynamic like no other; Marcus is an (overly) intelligent, smug, mouthpiece for his mother, at war with Tim’s life decisions and begrudgingly living with them. One of the best jokes of the episode was the subtle one that “pick me up from football”, and bearing in mind that Marcus is pre-teen, actually meant the little smart-arse was refereeing! With Marcus, his mother and her new boyfriend (also Marcus’ headteacher) we have the ideal backdrop for Tim’s new job, and we’re set for a series full of custody battles, snide remarks and, strangely, excessively-affectionate olive branches from the boyfriend.
Boyd is simply brilliant as Tim. His delivery is excellent on his lines as well as the physical comedy, and while Lindsay wasn’t overly present in this episode, it is fair to assume he’ll be equally adept alongside him. Put all this together with an exquisitely crafted first episode, and we may have a classic on our hands.
Spy returns next Friday (21/10) at 8:30pm.