Today (15th August), fans of BBC3 mockumentary comedy People Just Do Nothing rejoice, as the first episode of the show’s fourth series has been released. Entitled ‘Slipping’, it brilliantly reintroduces viewers to the members of Kurupt FM, and perfects the humour and characters that have made PJDN so great.
Straight off the bat, ‘Slipping’ succeeds most in refreshing our memories of the show’s host of characters, and manages to expertly balance the variety of individuals we’ve come to love. Allan Mustafa’s MC Grindah certainly takes the centre stage – we’re reintroduced to Grindah in the depths of a newfound drug habit, which allows Mustafa to play the character in a completely new way. He’s more on-edge and restless, with Mustafa giving a far more physical performance than we’ve usually seen with Grindah, and this shift in the character provides some of the episode’s best laughs: notably his irritation with Daniel Sylvester Woolford’s Decoy, who faces the brunt of Grindah’s drug-addled paranoia. It also allows for an interesting dynamic between Grindah and Steve Stamp’s Steves – previously their relationship was somewhat abrasive, but their newfound shared interest of drug benders lets us see more of their relationship, and they bounce off one another superbly.
One of PJDN‘s most reliable sources of hilarity is Chabuddy G, played by Asim Chaudhry, and in ‘Slipping’, the Mayor of Hounslow is no different. He spends most of the episode with Hugo Chegwin’s Beats, another pairing we don’t normally get to see, and there’s great chemistry between them. Chabuddy is like a fish out of water when helping Beats buy supplies for his newborn child, and it allows for some great moments – from his incessant efforts to chat up female shoppers, to the revelation that he’s living out of his van, Chabz is just as great as ever. And when he’s trying to come across as serious and imposing during Grindah’s ‘interwention’, it’s simply golden television.
The episode’s third plot line follows Grindah’s former fiancé Miche – played by Lily Brazier – as she takes their daughter Angel to a photoshoot. Brazier is on top form as Miche, having honed her ditzy, naive nature to perfection, and her entire behaviour during the shoot – pouting despite being asked to smile, initially refusing to pay, and changing her Facebook profession to ‘model’ – is some of the greatest stuff we’ve seen from her character.
Unlike many comedies nowadays, People Just Do Nothing has taken an almost-serialized approach here: there are many exciting plot threads established in this series premiere, notably the introduction of a rival radio station, Kold FM, that have only been hinted at, and it’ll be very interesting to see how they pan out. In seasons gone by, it’s been a case of an overarching plot thread lasting the whole series, while each episode also has its own self-contained stories, and it appears to be no different here. The writing, expertly done by the main cast, has certainly been perfected here – every joke lands, and every line is nuanced and contributes to the world of the show, something many comedies fail to accomplish. But there’s also an element of gravitas to it all: it’s clear that Grindah’s addiction is causing problems, and although the tone is overall comedic, it handles the matter in a mature way.
Kurupt FM are back, and better than ever – the cast all deliver their A-game, with all of the plot threads proving to be not only interesting, but capable of arising many laughs. If we’re in for an entire season of such tight, consistent comedy, I personally cannot wait.
You can watch the series 4 premiere of People Just Do Nothing here.