Now, let me qualify first of all that I think David Jason is the God of television heaven. If British Comedy were a country, he’d be on their stamps.
In Del Boy I find essentially an amalgamation of my entire family in one small, humourously-bad-at-French man, and I have David Jason to thank for the one comforting programme I have to watch if I’m ever too far away from said crazy brood. Every episode is a masterpiece, and he also steals two of my other favourite things ever to appear on the tellybox in the form of Open All Hours and The Darling Buds of May. They’re cleverly written, even more cleverly performed, and joyfully feelgood. He can do no wrong.
That is: until now. David Jason is currently starring in The Royal Bodyguard, written by Justin Sbresni and Mark Bussell, appearing on BBC1 on Mondays at 9pm. In it, he plays the recently appointed Royal Bodyguard (er, clue’s in the name) and general all-round buffoon who falls into things a lot.
So far – out of a hopeless loyalty to the man whose work has so far set the benchmark for what I expect of British comedy – I have persisted in watching all four episodes. And so far, the only thing I’ve learnt is that when he signed up to this series, David Jason was surely on intensely potent narcotics, being held at gunpoint, or just mischeviously picturing the stupid looks on all of our faces. Oh, and also: boy, does he love spilling stuff on people. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, DEL BOY?
David Jason is not the main character because there are no characters: just a number of people wearing costumes that say things to one another that sometimes, very rarely, remind me of something vaguely amusing. The whole show is so two-dimensional it makes Carry on Camping look like an arthouse film.
It’s not big and it’s not clever, in fact it’s not anything much at all. It’s so frustratingly predictable it made my eyes bleed until I was longing for an episode of Chucklevision or something, and it is to original plotting what Pat Butcher is to earrings (God rest her soul). It’s like a CBeebies reject, and I found myself cringeing so much I swear at one point my eyebrows actually folded into my face. I honestly can’t understand how it got a primetime slot on arguably the most prestigious channel there is without the use of some kind of hostage situation.
I’m not angry, I’m just really disappointed. Because now – much like how we tend to remember the hangover more fiercely than the shenanigans and tomfoolery had the night before – I’m scared all I’m going to remember of David Jason is this intensely bad decision. The Royal Bodyguard did the same thing for me and David Jason as that one, last Long Island Iced Tea did for me and my night out last week: made me shout at inanimate objects, caused me to lose valuable hours of my life, and left me hesitant to risk them again. Not cool, DJ. Not cool.