ByCraig Whyel, writer at
Film & TV news, previews and commentary
Craig Whyel

Pompidou is the latest situation comedy from former Little Britain star, Matt Lucas. The show ran its first series of six episodes earlier this year on BBC Two and is now available on Netflix instant streaming.

It is the story of an odd duck aristocrat, Pompidou (played by Lucas), who has fallen on hard financial times and, with his trusty butler, Hove (Alex McQueen), they now live in a caravan along with a dog (a puppet).

The setup has a tiny bit of Jeeves and Wooster but it differs because in place of the witty repartee there is no dialogue.

This is not to say the never talk. Pompidou prattles on at length but what comes out of his mouth is…quite literally…unintelligible gibberish.

Not sure if there is a connection but Pompidou is the name for a cultural center in Paris, France.

But, I digress.

Pompidou the TV series is designed to be family-friendly, according to Lucas, who created and co-wrote the show.

It is the first talk-free show on British TV since the 1980’s.

The critical reception for the show in its home country was decidedly underwhelming.

Michael Hogan of The Telegraph considered the show “painful” with unending scenes. He also thought the show’s early Sunday evening time slot was less a ploy to attract child viewers than “an attempt to bury a flop where no one will notice.”

The Daily Mail’s Christopher Stevens called the show a load of “twaddle.”

Ben Dowell of The Radio Times considered the show a “baffling” diversion.

The relative few critics who were in favor of the show considered it experimental and thought that audiences didn’t understand it.

How the show favors now that it has exposure to an American audience remains to be seen.

The last most recent “dialogue-free” show in the UK was Mr. Bean, starring Rowan Atkinson, which was extraordinarily popular around the world.

Most British critics concur that Pompidou clearly doesn’t measure up to Mr. Bean.

With such an unpopular reception, it seems unlikely that a second series is in the offing.


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