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Count Arthur Strong

Count Arthur Strong

Mon Jul 8, 8.30-9pm, BBC2

By Phil Harrison
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Series one, episode one
The challenge for much-loved radio institutions transferring to TV is introducing themselves to a new audience while keeping the loyal fanbase onside. On the basis of this series opener, ‘Count Arthur Strong’ could go either way. As always, Steve Delaney’s doddery, malapropistic and memory-challenged ‘showbiz legend’ manages some funny moments, but this still feels almost aggressively old school in its format and furthermore, very much like a show that might as well still be on the wireless.

The story arc involves Rory Kinnear’s author Michael Barker attempting to write his father’s biography. His father Max, was Count Arthur’s comedy partner. And so it begins. Oddly, this show may be redeemed by its promising minor characters: Kinnear is amusingly prissy and pedantic, and we like the look of Chris Ryman as café owner Bulent too. Still, the jury’s out for now.
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