New estate agent sitcom Stath Lets Flats is worth signing on the dotted line for.
Back in 2015, BBC Three released a comedy pilot called People Time – a sketch show starring seven writer-performers including siblings Jamie and Natasia Demetriou. It was incredibly well-received, with the New Statesman suggesting it could be “the beginning of a sketch show renaissance”, while the Guardian said “someone needs to invest big in People Time because it should be on television and soon”. But unfortunately nobody did, and for some reason known only to the BBC, People Time never went beyond a pilot episode.
After memorable roles in shows such as Fleabag and Murder In Successville over the past few years, Jamie Demetriou has now finally got his own sitcom in Channel 4’s Stath Lets Flats, starring alongside his sister Natasia. And the result, judging from its first episode, is very funny indeed.
The set-up is that Stath (Jamie Demetriou) works at Michael & Eagle Lettings, a small London estate agent run by his dad, Vasos (Christos Stergioglou). Vasos is approaching 70 and wants to retire, but there’s no chance he is going to hand over the precious family business to his incompetent son. Stath may have confidence in his own abilities, but in reality, the only talent he has is for making customers feel uncomfortable.
Whether he’s having a strop in the office because people keep answering the phone quicker than he does, or trying to show someone around a flat while the burglar alarm is going off, Stath is a walking disaster. Jamie Demetriou has said that he went on various flat viewings as research for Stath Lets Flats, and rather frighteningly, some of the things that Stath says were taken verbatim from real estate agents…
The most likely candidate to take the reins of Michael & Eagle Lettings once Vasos retires is Stath’s rival Carole (Katy Wix), the company’s top seller who speaks like she’s auditioning for The Apprentice. Also in the office are Al (Alastair Roberts, another People Time co-star), who’s so painfully polite that he apologises when Stath accidentally smacks him in the face with a whiteboard, plus disillusioned Dean (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) and cheerful Marcus (the late Alex Beckett, who passed away in April this year). Stath’s rather dim sister Sophie (Natasia Demetriou) also hangs around the office, when she isn’t at college studying dance, and it looks like timid Al might have a soft spot for her.
Episode 1 of Stath Lets Flats manages to fit a lot into 20 minutes and there are plenty of laughs to be had, from unusual uses of the English language – as Stath is Greek and has a very unique way of speaking – to cringeworthy scenarios and slapstick. It culminates in Stath trying to get a pigeon out of a tenant’s house armed with nothing but a carrier bag, which might be the funniest thing we’ve seen on TV so far this year.
Stath Lets Flats begins Wednesday 27th June at 10pm on Channel 4.