An ambaslidor's life is like James Bond, right? All glamorous soirees and solving diplomatic issues over cocktails? Well, not quite... Starring the award-winning comedy duo Mitchell and Webb, and with an all-star ensemble cast including Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes and Tom Hollander, Ambassadors is a sharply written comedy about a British Embassy where things are a little more Yes, Prime Minister than Spooks. Keith Davis (David Mitchell) is the newly appointed British Ambassador to the fictional Central Asian Republic of Tazbekistan; oil rich, corrupt and ruled over by The Prez - a dictator with a penchant for vodka fuelled hunting parties. Standing beside Keith is his small but appealing gang; Neil Tilly (Robert Webb), the long-suffering Deputy Head of Mission; Caitlin, the no-nonsense Head of Consular Affairs; Natalie, a beautiful local employee who understands the Tazbeks, but can't quite get it right about British eccentricities, and then there's POD (Matthew Macfadyen) - nicknamed Prince of Darkness - Keith's superior at the Foreign Office, and Isabel - Trade and Political Secretary who has her eye on the top. Keith's doctor wife Jennifer (Keeley Hawes) is there to support him, even if it means making small talk with lecherous local officials the Embassy need to impress. These guys haven't seen a Ferrero Rocher in years.
This is intelligent humour at its finest. The wit is (for me) not laugh out loud, but is pleasant and gentle. It is silly, clever, satirical and political. It relies a bit heavily on racism and xenophobia generalising on corruption and brutality in the Russian southern states, making it remarkably un-P.C.
Absolutely hilarious, well-written, intelligent, well-funny BBC 2 TV comedy
- Ambassadors: Series 1 review by PV
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You rated this film: 5
This is the funniest thing to come out of the BBC since the series '2012'. Set in the fictional (but true to life) corrupt central Asian state of Tazkbekistan, it follows the adventures, trials and travails of a the new Ambassador and his more experienced deputy.
It is short - 3 parts - but each part s a real classic, whether part one about The Mighty Ibex and the Helicopter Contract, or part 2 with Prince Mark's visit to get the Oil Contract (based on Prince Andrew, I hear, or part 3, about the Insurgency and the 'Paisley Visit'.
The British ambassador has to put up with a lot in this most junior of junior postings in the diplomatic service - a mad dictator, corrupt officials, Royal visits, constant nagging from London, a mad Northern Irish vetting official (brilliantly played) called 'Mr 21' after his obsession that officials should drink now more than 21 units of alcohol - a week (what, not a day???) - and worse, the French. Watching how the political, moral and personal aspects twist and turn and occasionally collide is hilarious - I bet the writers had a ball writing this!
Series 2 will shortly be broadcast in BBC 2, I hear - though why the idiotic BBC puts it on so late on that channel is anyone's guess.
Forget drivel like 'Miranda' or dreadful ethnic sketch shows. THIS is where the real comic writing talent at the BBC resides.
Rent this + laugh your head off at an intelligent, well-made, superbly-written drama. 5 stars with a bottle of Tazbekistan vodka thrown in!
I shall ask my old school friend - now British ambassador is a corrupt, chaotic, small eastern European state (which begins with M + is under Ukraine) - how true to life this is when I see him next too!