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Playhouse Presents: Hey Diddly Dee

Thu Apr 18, 9-9.30pm, Sky Arts 1

Series two, episode one
Kylie Minogue, Mat Horne and Peter Serafinowicz? Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. With casting coups including Emma Thompson, Harry Shearer and Daniel Radcliffe, the first run of ‘Playhouse Presents’ established itself as an amiably eccentric short-drama strand to watch.

This series opener, written and directed by Marc Warren, is a messy curio, but not without merit. Serafinowicz is the stage star with an ego inversely proportionate to his talent; Kylie his vampish co-star with a secret; and Horne the gofer with acting ambitions of his own. All three are brought together under flailing director David Harewood (excellent) for a doomed fringe production based on Andy Warhol’s life.

It’s an odd blend of slapstick, satire and ‘Twilight Zone’-ish mystery, and showcases Warren’s direction more flatteringly than the uncertain writing. The pacing and tone are haphazard, but occasional sequences impress (in particular the Warhol ‘Venus in Furs’ montage which plumbs remarkable depths of intentional awfulness) and the performances just about hold it together.