Lawrence Rickard + sarcasm. That’s basically all you need to know about this week’s Yonderland. It’s time for Rickard and Jim Howick to get more screen time as the Chamberlain and King Bernard respectively.
The King has found a map to the second scroll that tells of Debbie’s fate as the Chosen One, though Negatus is not far behind (having infiltrated the Council of Elders using a cunning fast food offer). Debbie has to overcome everyone else’s inability to read a map, the King wooing her with a soft-rock ballad, Elf doing her housework, and Negatus’ wishes to avoid the scorn of his boss, Imperatrix.
Howick has fun playing a vainglorious monster who destroys towns to build his palace on and kills monster’s children so they’re too grief-stricken to fight, and Rickard dispenses some fantastically withering asides (his delivery of the word ‘No’, in particular, deserves some sort of award for services to sarcasm).
Debbie gets a few nice rejoinders in there as well, though as the lead female in a show dominated by men there are a few leery gags that feel a little bit awkward. Simon Farnaby, as Negatus, doesn’t get as many good lines as his demons, but he does get his bum out again. I’m beginning to think that the joke about the Elder he plays always wanting to cast off his robes started off as an in-joke.
The puppets are especially good this week, even if they’re mainly dispensing one-liners rather than returning characters. Tree, grubs on the wall, Trevor the blob, the demons. The returning Miss Faversham and Mr Havelock get some great jokes, with the latter double-act getting involved in the plot. It’s a good sign that, after six episodes, their mere appearance seems like a guarantee of laughs.
Overall another entertaining half-hour; not the best episode, but still one with enough laughs to keep the family entertained for the duration and still like nothing else on TV.
Aired at 6.30pm on Sunday 8 December 2013 on Sky1.
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