Second series of ‘Psychoville’ gets even more sinister and twisted

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For those who like their comedy dark and twisted, the second series of Pyschoville is out now on DVD, served in an extra strong dose. Pyschoville is the brainchild of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton who first played a series of outrageous characters in the cult BBC hit, League Of Gentlemen, which lasted an award-winning three seasons and spun off a feature film to boot. Two other cast members went their own separate ways but Pemberton and Shearsmith stayed together and agreed to write another comedy series but one with a shade of mystery which ended every episode on a cliffhanger.

In an interview, Pemberton framed the challenges they faced as both actors and scriptwriters, “most comedy shows tend to be the same thing every week and that’s what people enjoy – familiarity – so what was really tough was blending those elements in a successful show which delivered the same characters and familiar jokes every week, but also giving you a really exciting narrative”.

The narrative is indeed convincing and intriguing but the strength of Pyschoville lies in the characters and each one has their own dark secret from the past that catches up with them.

Dave Sowerbutts is an insecure and overweight loner who works evenings as an actor at murder themed whodunit parties, all the while committing real murders with his interfering and manipulative mother. Both he and Maureen have an obsession with serial killers and are constantly referencing their favourites while carrying out the real thing. “I’d like to do the next one like the Ripper” exclaims Dave. “Jack or Yorkshire?” asks his mother, before stopping to make a cup of tea as if were just another job to do while disposing of a corpse and demonstrating just one of the many ambiguous scenarios that Pemberton and Shearsmith exploit to full comedic advantage.

 

The second series exposes a deeper, darker plot and delivers a few new characters like obsessive compulsive librarian, Jeremy Goode, who takes the seriousness of overdue book loans to an extreme conclusion. During times of stress or anxiety he suffers from hallucinations, envisioning the Silent Singer (pictured above) who torturously appears at the most inconvenient moment.

Guest star Dawn French – who plays Joy Aston, a frantic ‘mother’ who believes the toy training doll she is nursing is actually a real baby, – delivers another flawless performance. Perhaps the star of the show is Mr Jelly, a highly irate professional clown with anger management issues with a hook for a hand. Always the pessimist, he defies fate to discover the reason why he and all the other characters have been drawn together.

The second series throws a new twist into the plotline and hopefully one that will pave the way for a third. It’s macabre, outrageous, and like nothing else on TV. Plenty of interviews and extras on the DVD give an insight into the program but don’t delve as deeply as we’d like. It doesn’t lessen the enjoyment, however, from this highly addictive comedy series.

Be warned: Pyschoville will have you laughing well into the night, but you’ll be checking the wardrobe before you turn out the lights.

 

‘Pyschoville: Season 2’ is out through Roadshow Home Entertainment.