Trailers for a new election-themed comedy called Ballot Monkeys have been playing on TV for the past couple weeks, but I always mute or skip the ad breaks, so I had no idea if the show was actually going to be funny or not until I watched it… but it was! Very funny, in fact. Co-created by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin (of topical 90s newsroom-sitcom Drop the Dead Donkey fame), this ingenious series cuts back and forth between the campaign busses of four major political parties to show us the sniping/gossiping/scheming that goes on, with the various staffers portrayed by a first-class cast including Ben Miller, Hugh Dennis, and some very talented lady-folk:
On the Labour bus you get Daisy Haggard as a cynical co-ordinator, and Kathleen Rose Perkins as a cupcake-toting consultant (fun fact: the actresses previously appeared together on Episodes, and seem quite chummy in the selfies that Perkins has posted to her Instagram)… on the Tory bus you get Hattie Morahan as a side-lined “women’s issues” expert, and Liz Kingsman as the easily-distracted daughter of a major secret-donor (newbie fact: Kingsman doesn’t seem to have an IMDb page yet, but is apparently a writer-performer with critically acclaimed sketch group Massive Dad)… on the Lib-Dem bus you get Esther Smith as a sweet-natured naïf… and on the UKIP bus you get Sarah Hadland as a loose-lipped racialist.
Apparently (up to) a third of every episode will be filmed on the day of transmission, to keep the jokes and references fresh… and the production boasts four separate directors, so that each of the busses can be covered simultaneously, to speed up turnaround… which sounds like a nerve-wracking challenge for the cast and crew, but clearly it’s paying off because this week’s episode was absolutely hilarious. If they can maintain the same high hit-rate for the next four episodes, then I’d call that a win for everyone!