Hard Cell is a new documentary style comedy show written and starring Catherine Tate. Although mostly known in the US for her role as companion Donna Noble in Doctor Who, in the UK Catherine is well known for her comedy and sketch entertainment shows. Followers of our live may have seen Greg or I doing the "Am I Bovvered" bit from a sketch with David Tennant that was released for Comic Relief (which I'm including for those that might not have seen it.)
**Fun Fact - as I rewatched the clip I realized that the girl sitting next to Lauren (Catherine) is in fact Niki Wardly who also plays Anastasia in Hard Cell!**
Hard Cell takes Catherine's talent for creating crazy characters and pushing it out of the box. Unlike many American shows, in the UK they don't shy away from using some more unique actresses. Set in a women's prison, one of Catherine's main characters is the Governor who believes that creativity is the key to rehabilitation. This leads her to the bright idea of having the inmates put on a musical! This all takes place as a documentary crew follows them around as this new idea is going to be televised!
Without spoilers, I will say that Greg and I watched all 6 episodes in one sitting. For those that know Greg - this in itself tells you how much we enjoyed it. With that being said there is a LOT of English humour in this, and that definitely sits a little differently than a lot of US style. For example they bring in Cheryl Fergison (who is known for playing Heather Trott in a UK Soap "Eastenders"). There are a LOT of jokes made in reference to this which I am sure will fly over the heads of many Americans leaving them with the impression that this isn't funny. Now you know the inside joke, perhaps it will make more sense if you watch it. Also on that note - Christmas 1986 - Den Served Angie with Divorce Papers. Something I doubt anyone from England would fail to know - but if you watch - you can thank me later!
Overall the humour is crude, the characters are larger than life and completely insane, some of the accents are not the best, but OMG It was FUNNY! Greg and I laughed A LOT! Oh and that ending? Let's just say we are now planning a rewatch to see what clues we can see! We have theories and if that doesn't intrigue you I don't know what will.
This isn't a show for everybody, but I don't think it's designed to be, and having read some of the other reviews on the show I personally feel that certain American sites that didn't even make it past the first episode shouldn't be posting "stream it or skip it" reviews on a subject they quite clearly don't understand.... but that is a rant for a whole other day.
Check out the trailer - it will give you a good idea whether or not this is for you. If nothing else you have to respect the fact that Catherine not only wrote this, directed this, and produced it, but plays 6 characters ... FIVE OF THEM BEING MAIN CHARACTERS in this!!!! (Governor Laura, Inmates Ros, Big Viv, & Ange, Prison Guard Marco (from Essex), and then Ros's Mother Anne Marie.
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