I’m guessing a few of you are already sitting in front of the telly eagerly awaiting the Sunday night premiere of the new season of Sherlock on PBS. If you happen to be in the North Texas area and KERA is your local public television station, then hang out with us until 11:00pm for the premiere of Lead Balloon, starring Jack Dee.
Dee stars as Rick Spleen, a cynical comedian whose life is overly plagued by petty annoyances, disappointments and embarrassments. Created and co-written by Dee and Pete Sinclair, the story centers around Spleen, the ultimate comedian who hates being a comedian, and his daily struggle to score a decent gig, trying to make ends meet by hosting corporate events such as the Frozen Goods Awards Evening or filling in on the the Bargain Channel.
As with most successful situation comedies coming out of the UK, besides the writing, one of the strengths of Lead Balloon is the stellar supporting cast. His partner Mel (Raquel Cassidy) is a talent agent blessed with a career that, unfortunately, tends to highlight the failure aspect of Rick’s career. Marty (Sean Power), an American, writes the majority of Rick’s material, often working with him at Rick’s home or at a local café owned by Michael (Tony Gardner), a somewhat socially awkward former high-flying city banker who suffered from burn-out and bought a café. Earlier this year, we spoke with Sean Power, who plays Marty, just prior to the UK premiere of the 4th and final season of Lead Balloon.
Rick’s daughter Sam (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) attends college with what seems to have a sole purpose in life to extract money from her father. Her slacker boyfriend Ben (Rasmus Hardiker) has held numerous jobs and interests including a circus skills course.
The best, however, is Magda (Anna Crilly), the Spleens’ sullen Eastern European housekeeper, who is often puzzled by British attitudes, language and, in her view, softness.
Since the beginning, Lead Balloon has been compared, sometimes unfairly, to Curb Your Enthusiasm. Personally, whichever side of the Curb fence you are on, I would suggest you judge Lead Balloon on its’ own merits and leave the inevitable comparisons to the TV critics because that’s what they do.
So….Sherlock 2, Sunday at 8:00p CT / 9:00p ET on PBS and the for North Texas viewers, stick around until 11:00p and let us know what you think about Lead Balloon. For those outside NT, would love to hear your thoughts, too, as Lead Balloon is currently beginning to run on public television stations nationwide.