British TV Show Reviews "Y"

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Dates refer to when review was written

The Year In 30 Seconds (7/99)
An ad man is commissioned to make a 30 second commercial that sums up 1998. Mostly we see him discarding ideas (and providing a look back at the year), and finally creating the finished concept, in this Channel 4 special.

Yellowbacks (11/90)
This BBC Play For the Day takes place in the near future where paranoia about AIDS has created a police state where any "HIV suspects" can be arrested and even sent to camps. Roy Marsden (Sandbaggers) and Bill Paterson star in this intense 90-minute drama about two people "brought in for questioning" to an abandoned hotel by authorities looking for an escaped HIV activist. Chilling and fascinating.

Yes, Prime Minister (3/13)
The classic 1970s BBC comedy is updated for the 21st Century with a new cast (David Haig, Henry Goodman, Chris Larkin) playing the familiar characters in a plot devised by the original writers for the stage, with 2013 issues woven in.  Running on cable channel Gold, clearly this was aimed at nostalgia buffs.

Yonderland (2/14)
The folks behind the award-winning Horrible Histories move over Sky for this episodic comedy series set in a fantastical (but very silly) world that chooses an ordinary suburban housewife from our realm to be their "chosen one." It's like The Muppets On Mescaline, with a combination of actors and puppets, goofy humor, and certain jokes clearly aimed at adults.  It's also a lot of fun and you'd have to be pretty hard-hearted not to laugh at something here.

You Are Here (7/99)
Channel 4 comedy special about a small village called Here, founded in the Middle Ages by a magnet fanatic. His descendent (Matt Lucas) maintains the magnet museum and owns the entire village which he boldly announces to everyone one day he is selling in order to build a prison. The other eccentric villagers (including Keith Allen and Nigel Planer) connive to thwart the plan, and it gets all a bit bizarre.

You Have Been Watching (8/10)
Charlie Brooker (Screenwipe) hosts this Channel 4 panel show that allows him talk about that week's TV shows (what's great is he has an opinion about everything and never minces words) as well as asking the guests trivia questions about the programs.  Anything that puts Brooker on TV is worth watching, although one episode about crime from the 2010 season had to be delayed due to sensitivity involving a shooting incident in Britain that week. 

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing (7/99)
BBC-2 theme night, this one for “Dance Night,” begins with Alexei Sayle’s DIY Guide To Shaking Your Booty, which actually contains some good tips on how to appear to know some dance steps. Other programs including sketches featuring dancing, and interviews with famous dancers throughout the night.

You, Me & Them (2/14)
Rather charming and surprisingly above-average sitcom on digital channel UKTV, about the misadventures of Ed (Anthony Head), the much older boyfriend to Lauren (Eve Myles). The "Them" include Ed's crazy ex-wife (Lindsay Duncan) who inconveniently lives next door, Ed's live-in brother, Lauren's parents, and her sister and her brood. It was funny and made me laugh, what more can you ask except why isn't this running on terrestrial TV?

A Young Doctor's Notebook (3/13)
Daniel Radcliffe took this on as a personal dream project, adapting his favorite book for three episodes on Sky 1.  He stars as the title character, a Russian doctor whose first posting is in the middle of the Siberian winter in a tiny hospital. Meanwhile, we see an older version of himself (Jon Hamm) in 1930s Moscow, looking back (and actually interacting) with his younger self as we see what caused him to lose his way. Radcliffe's doctor is extremely terrible and inexperienced, nearly every case causes him to flee to his office to consult medical books he obviously never studied that well in school. Seeing him abuse patients is almost painful, but also hilarious.

The Young Person's Guide To Becoming A Rock Star (5/99)
Recent winner of a Royal Television Society award, this channel 4 comedy series is a hilarious "How To" look at achieving success in the music scene. An ambitious young Scottish rocker narrates the entire series, deadpanning his trials and tribulations in love and business, although the events aren't always quite as cut-and-dried as he describes. But his motley collection of friends actually are good enough as a band to get noticed, although not without experiencing the downsides of fame along the way as well. On-screen captions highlight every incident, making this appear like some kind of demented documentary, but there is no mistaking the comic tone which permeates every scene and colorful character. There are great laugh-out-loud moments, as well as scenes which are horribly true to life, all of which add up to a brilliant series.

You Rang, M'Lord (3/90)
A series from the 'Allo 'Allo people, best described as a comedy version of Upstairs, Downstairs. Running jokes make up most of the humor, but the characters are engaging.

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Written and maintained by Ryan K. Johnson (
February 11, 2014