Extras EXTRAS

 
Programme: Extras
Broadcast: 2005 - 2007    (BBC2)
Episodes: 13 (2 series + 1 special)
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant, Shaun Williamson
Guest Stars: Ben Stiller, Vinnie Jones, Ross Kemp, Kate Winslet, Les Dennis, Samuel L Jackson, Patrick Stuart, Orlando Bloom, David Bowie, Daniel Radcliffe, Chris Martin, Ronnie Corbett, Sir Ian McKellen, Clive Owen, George Michael, Gordon Ramsay, David Tennant
Written by: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Directed by: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Filming Locations: Pinewood Studios
Theme Music: Tea for the Tillerman by Cat Stevens
Directed by: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Production: British Broadcasting Corporation
Synopsis:

Andy Millman gives up his day job to become an actor but finds that the lead roles elude him, so he instead has to settle for work as an 'extra' (background actor). During his time on set Millman has to work with stars such as Kate Winslet, Samuel L Jackson and Ben Stiller.

In series two Andy Millman begins filming his sitcom ("When the Whistle Blows") and moves from background artist to TV face. Despite his burgeoning success, Andy is still surrounded by the usual cast of idiots: his hapless best friend Maggie, his incompetent agent Darren Lamb and Barry "off EastEnders". Before long Andy realises fame isn't quite as great as it looks.

The final special sees Andy Millman as a big star with a new, more efficient agent and a new house overlooking Hampstead Heath. Meanwhile, Maggie has been forced to move into an even smaller flat and is doing cleaning jobs to make ends meet. Sadly, Andy hasn't even noticed.

BCG Review:

One thing is for sure - the TV critics love Extras; almost every magazine and newspaper in town has said nice things about it during its 2005 and 2006 runs, and in the build-up to the final 2007 special.

Initially we were not quite so sure about it; a view that it would appear quite a large chunk of the viewing public shared. We thought it was OK but Gervais seemed to be relying too much on obtaining comedy from ruthlessly ripping it out of the Hollywood elite rather than using the subtle humour which made The Office such a classic.

We soon realised we're probably being a little un-fair, after all the episodes were far from bad; in fact there were a few absolute classic moments (embarrassing faux-pas is what Gervais does best). The problem probably was that, sitting in the shadow of Ricky's multiple award-winning The Office, it was bound to leave a feeling of a little disappointment.

We've now managed to dislocate Extras from its predecessor and truly appreciate how good it is. Putting more focus on Barry and Darren (the agent) was certainly a good move in the second series - they were two really great characters who could have had their own spin-off sitcom should the creators have wished.

Whilst the final special may have been quite long and preachy, it was a fitting and satisfying end to a great comedy.


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