DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Moving Wallpaper / Echo Beach: Series 1 - the 'Jonathan Pope for Prime Minister' review

"Donovan looking out for his credibility... must be round here somewhere!?"

Moving Wallpaper / Echo Beach: Complete Series 1 Box Set (15)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Welcome to the future of television… Moving Wallpapers / Echo Beach is a fully contrived marketing man’s dream – take one fairly mundane Cornwall based soap opera (Echo Beach) and then ram raid it by driving a superb, witty and truly funny behind the scenes companion show (Moving Wallpaper).
The result is perhaps the funniest thing to hit ITV in years – neither of the shows are stunning on their own but together they form a symbiotic joyous union that will suck you in and happy slap you till you proclaim it the greatest thing ever.
Of course you don’t have to buy this double bill box set, both of the series are available on their own but if you do that you’d be limiting your pleasure and missing the point.

The humour is amplified only when you watch how the two shows interact… Basically in Moving Wallpaper we get to see the show (Echo Beach) being written – how it evolves and all of the blood, sweat and tears that goes into creating it. Ben Miller plays Jonathan Pope – the guy tasked with making Echo Beach a success and he’s created an amazing, iconic comic character that deserves to be watched. Echo Beach would be nothing without Moving Wallpaper even with Jason Donovan and Martine McCutcheon hamming it up like their lives depend on it.

Moving Wallpaper demonstrate how television satire works at its best, blessed with quality characters such as Raquel Cassidy as a wonderfully nasty TV suit named Nancy and a special mention should also go to Lucy Liemann (who you might recognise from The Bourne Ultimatum). But basically it is Jonathan Pope who steals not just the show but the whole series…

Echo Beach could have existed as just another surf, sun and sex melodrama but it would have probably sunk without a trace. Coupled with Moving Wallpaper however, the series suddenly comes alive and all sorts of fun can had watching the machinations of how the writing team’s efforts pan out in their creations… Basically one group write it, the other live it, but if you look closely there are some parallels between some of the fictional characters and their ‘real’ counterparts.

If you didn’t catch this on TV, treat yourself to the box set – there are some nice extras too and these you can’t get on the single show versions including: Interviews, Deleted Scenes and Outtakes.

DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10):

Arbitrary final rating: öööööööö (8)
- Quality comedy from mediocre soap... genius overall!?

Liable to make you:
"book a holiday in Cornwall"

DM Poster Quote:
“the people of Echo Beach fear Jonathan Pope... their lives are in his hands!"

"the kids of Echo Beach... future stars?"
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