When was the last time you laughed while watching ITV? In disbelief doesn’t count, by the way. Well, while we wouldn’t suggest your sides are in danger of splitting, this new sitcom double bill features one uproarious campfest and one promising misfire. You may well crack a smile…
First up at 9pm, ‘Vicious’: Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi have a ball as a bitching couple living in a cobwebbed, sepulchral flat, lusting after hunky new neighbour Iwan Rheon, confiding in best friend Frances De La Tour and hamming it up wherever possible. It’s a very traditional studio sitcom setup, made watchable by its stars and enjoyable by a waspish script. Also, in its combination of old age and homosexuality, it could be argued to have broken a little ground. Not that creators Mark Ravenhill and Gary Janetti much care about that: this show is all about low blows and easy laughs – at which it excels.
‘The Job Lot’ at 9.30pm is a gentler, more deadpan prospect from three first-time writers, following the travails of the employees and clients of a Midlands job centre. Sarah Hadland and Russell Tovey do their best in the leads, but it’s a familiar premise lacking in one-liners. It does show occasional promise, especially during one protracted sequence unravelling the absurd red tape apparently wrapped around the jobseeking process. But it’s good-natured and well performed, if light on laughs.
One of London’s best Middle Eastern food halls, Green Valley has a comprehensive deli counter offering numerous possibilities for quick after-work suppers. The fresh produce area includes squat round Lebanese pears, dainty aubergines, stumpy cucumbers, plus the likes of dragon fruit, guava and young coconuts, as well as freshly prepared juices. All meat is halal-certified, and some comes ready-marinated. In the freezer you’ll find molokhia (a high-nutrient green vegetable used especially in soups and stews) and ready-made kibbeh in chicken, lamb and almond varieties. In addition to the eye-catching display of baklava, the sizeable pâtisserie section includes thickly layered gateaux and tubs of rice pudding.
Venue says: “Established in 1986, we are one of London’s largest, best-stocked and renowned Lebanese and Middle Eastern food hall and delicatessen !”