Well Hello again! It’s been a month more or less seen my last blog and the only excuse I can give is that I have been busy moving home- I’ve not moved far and I am still in Princes Risborough in the heart of the Chiltern Hills but I am slowly making my new residence ‘home’. Huge thanks to those people who helped me unpack boxes, drive unneeded stuff to the skip, re-design my home, find places to stick stuff that should never squeeze into that space- you all played your part immensely and your reward/punishment was a bryan.matthew.co.uk corporate gift, so that serves you right! You know who you are but if not, take a bow, David, Nigel, Jonathan, Carol & James….
OK, back to ‘business’ and it isn’t just me making a return this week. Another – and more important one – was that of Sally Owen, personal assistant to Ian Fletcher, Head of Deliverance at the Olympics Deliverance Committee (ODC). If this means nothing to you then you really need to catch up with the second series of BBC Two’s superb Olympic mockumentary ‘'Twenty Twelve' now nearing the end of its run.
The series is like ‘The Office’ before it, so feasible and close to the bone that you can really believe that the real-life London Organising Committee of the Olympics and Para-Olympics Games (LOCOG) is run as portrayed in the series – especially in light of the current G4S security guarding fiasco.
What marks it out as being so special? I think it’s the mixture of the absurd (but highly likely) scenarios and the collection of rich and vivid characters as written and directed by creator John Morton that keep you laughing and trying to stifle your embarrassment. Who can the forget the plan to unveil outside Tate Modern an Olympics countdown clock that goes backwards, the coach trip to the Olympics park where the driver gets lost, the plan to open an equestrian centre that backfires on the ODC with a horse load of manure dumped on their front door, and that is just for starters. Hugh Bonneville plays Ian Fletcher as ‘Head of Deliverance’ who is as close as the fictional ODC gets to having someone reasonably competent. Going through a messy divorce he is confronted by idiots and dysfunctional staff who obstruct any chance of getting the games run successfully. His personal assistant is the hugely impressive Sally Owen (Olivia Colman), who may be of modest beauty but she is hyper-efficient and is carrying a serious candle for her boss. Ian Fletcher is ‘aided’ although that should really be ‘harmed’ by his senior management team of Siobhan Sharpe (Jessica Hynes) as Head of Brand from PR company ‘Perfect Curve’- try and keep a straight face I challenge you when she utters “OK guys, this is what we are going do, Ok? Cool, Totally!”- anyone who has dealt with a Management Consultant will get her.
Kay Hope (Amelia Bullmore) is Head of Sustainability and the running joke throughout the series is the difference between ‘sustainability’ and ‘legacy’ (but don’t think about it too hard) with Graham Hitchens (Karl Theobald) as Head of Infrastructure suggesting that you could ease air traffic by getting competitors to fly in over nuclear reactors to reduce the burden on Heathrow (nice). A degree of common sense is offered by straight talking northerner and Head of Contracts Nick Jowett (Vincent Franklin).
It’s an incredibly funny, dangerously realistic satire on the Olympics process but like most great comedies at its heart is something more poignant and that is the relationship between Ian Fletcher and Sally Owen. He depends on her and is probably the only reliable person in his personal and office life- there is something between them- certainly an unrequited love at present, and the interplay between Hugh Bonneville and Olivia Colman is a master class of emotional understatement. But, Sally has been missing for most of the second series and she/Olivia Colman have been missed and truth be told, the series has suffered for it. But a sneak peak of the last episode of this run showed her return, holding flowers for a overwhelmed and injured Ian Fletcher. What can this mean? Will she finally be able to express her true feelings, will Ian return those feelings or will he be more concerned about how the 2012 Security Committee Special Catastrophisation Unit is performing. Tune in next week to find out but welcome back Sally!