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DVD Review

DVD cover

Plus One
The Complete First Series


Starring: Daniel Mays, Nigel Harman, Steve John Shepherd, Ruth Bradley, Ingrid Oliver, Miranda Raison and Duncan James
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 09 February 2009

Rob Black is an unlucky-in-love 30-something whose girlfriend, Linsey, leaves him to marry Duncan from Blue. The happy couple extend Rob an invitation to their wedding with a “plus one.” Throughout the series, Rob is out to settle a score, trying to find a beautiful girl to accompany him to the nuptials and outshine the happy couple. But the path of “true love” never did run smooth, and he stumbles from one disaster to the next in his quest for that dream date...

Plus One: The Complete First Series was originally broadcast on Channel 4 between 09 January and 06 February 2009. The first series comprises five 30 minute episodes, which follow on from the original pilot, which was broadcast in 2008. The main difference between the pilot and the show proper is the fact that Rob (who is played by Daniel Mays (Funland) in the series) was originally played by Rory Kinnear (son of the late Roy Kinnear) in the pilot. On balance I actually prefer Mays's Rob, as he seems a lot more lost and likeable than Kinnear's slightly arrogant interpretation.

The basic thread running through the series concerns Rob's search to find a date to take to his ex's (played by Miranda Raison (Spooks) wedding to Duncan from the pop band Blue. It's not that he still fancies her, but that he wants to appear to be doing better than he actually is. So, over the course of the five episodes, Rob attempts to convince the sexiest girl he went to school with; a West End musical star; a model; Lisa Snowdon; and a beautiful, rich and intelligent woman to attend the wedding with him. Of course week after week he accidentally gets himself into an embarrassing situation and totally ruins his chances with each girl he meets.

Rob is constantly given advice by his family and friends. His brother Rich (Nigel Harman - Eastenders), a P.E. teacher who is a perpetual dater of 18 year-old girls, and sister Rebecca (Ingrid Oliver - Peep Show) whose love life is also a total disaster, both seriously doubt his pulling power. As do his friends, including best mate Paul (Steve John Shepherd - This Life), who is gradually developing something of a crush on Rebecca, and colleague Laura (Ruth Bradley - The Innocence Project), who endures Rob’s accounts of his hare-brained schemes.

As D-day gets ever closer, Rob resorts to more and more drastic measures to achieve his goal resorting to running in a charity marathon, bribing a child to fake a disability in order to win a date with Lisa Snowdon, and persuading Jamelia to pretend she’s his best mate.

One of the interesting aspects of the show is how much Duncan (from Blue) James, as well as the celebrity guest stars, send themselves up. Duncan's character is the perfect (in fact too perfect) man that every man wants to be and every woman wants to be with.

Extras include the pilot episode; audio commentaries, with the show's writers Tim Allsop and Stuart Williams, on the pilot and episodes 1 and 5; Behind the Scenes with the Writers (16 mins); Rob's Girls (8 min, 09 sec interviews with the actresses who play Rob's girls. It was interesting to hear that Sarah Harding, from Girls Aloud, was originally going to appear but her management pulled her out at the last minute); I'm Not Really into Dancing Tonight (3 min, 31 sec raw footage of Mays's dance routine); Bloopers (1 min, 43 sec) and Deleted Scenes (3 min, 34 sec).

Highlights on the audio commentaries include why Kinnear was dropped from the show (basically he was doing a play at the time the series was being made); how Gemma Atkinson was a replacement for Rachel Stevens, who didn't want to parody herself); the chili incident in the pilot actually happened to one of the writers; the Johnny Black Nips story was also based on true events; and the fact that at the wedding there were originally going to be old celebrity guests including The Krankies).

Whether you saw Plus One on its original broadcast, or completely missed it, this DVD is well worth picking up.


Darren Rea

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