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Count Arthur Strong

Mon Jul 15, 8.30-9pm, BBC2

By Gabriel Tate
Series one, episode two
You can see why ‘Count Arthur Strong’ has been granted a second series already. The Graham Linehan factor. The evidently tight budget, smartly expended. And an edge that tends to be missing from pre-watershed sitcoms. It remains a slippery beast, at once anachronistic (Arthur’s body induces nausea at a life-drawing class) and forward-thinking (Arthur is introduced to the internet, with disastrous results).

Steve Delaney’s word-mangling, monologue-dispensing throwback might have struggled to sustain a TV sitcom alone, but stalwart support from Rory Kinnear (as Michael), among others, adds essential layers to the comedy. And a superbly sustained gag about Michael’s inadvertent racism keeps the chuckles bubbling along, climaxing in a Jack the Ripper tour by ice-cream van that defies easy explanation by a humble TV reviewer. Odd, but undeniably likeable.

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