‘Chickens’ pilot review

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Sadly, Chickens does not deserve much effort in detailing it for you, so we’ll stick with that description in the meantime.

Bird and Thomas, as you are no doubt aware, are two of the stars from the aforementioned remarkable E4 teen sitcom (and now hit movie) and have enlisted Sweet (best known for his portrayal of David Cameron in 2009’s When Boris Met Dave) in writing and acting duties. This is where the problem lies.

The boys from The Inbetweeners (who play Will and Simon) are merely repeating themselves, recreating their roles. Bird seems to accentuate his previous part by becoming even more irritating and anal, but still firmly himself. Meanwhile Thomas is again the likeable, unlucky-with-girls type, leaving Sweet as a cross between the other Inbetweeners, Neil and Jay – an idiot who likes the girls.

It’s a great shame as within the space of barely thirty minutes their repetitious performances have made the sitcom unwatchable. A huge pity as the premise is excellent: three young men, George, Cecil and Bert, find themselves as the only young men in the village at the outbreak of World War I (or just the “war” as it was known before its more successful sequel appeared in the late Thirties).

Much of the comedy comes from the treatment the gang receive at the hands of the women they meet on a day-to-day basis. Particularly amusing is the graffiti scrawled on their house in which they all live. However, the comedy is usually ruined by the over-familiar performances, along with the anachronistic language and contemporary colloquial style appropriated by the boys.

Chickens has the potential to be a great sitcom; the idea is certainly solid and highly entertaining. But Messrs Bird, Thomas and Sweet need to step off and let more talented actors take their collective place, otherwise this pilot in unlikely to flourish into a classic series.

Airs at 10.30pm on Friday 2nd September 2011 on Channel 4.