Beautiful People (UK TV series)

Beautiful People (UK TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = Beautiful People

caption = From left to right: Andy, young Simon, adult Simon, Aunt Hayley, Ashlene and Debbie, with Kylie and 'Mummy' the dog in front
genre = Comedy drama
writer = Jonathan Harvey (adaptation)
Simon Doonan (source material)
director = Gareth Carrivick
starring = Luke Ward-Wilkinson
Sophie Ash
Samuel Barnett
Olivia Colman
Aidan McArdle
Sarah Niles
Meera Syal
Layton Williams
narrated = Samuel Barnett
theme_music_composer = Dan Gillespie Sells and Ian Masterson
composer = Ian Masterson
opentheme = "Beautiful People Theme"
country = UK
num_episodes = 6
list_episodes = #Episodes
executive_producer = Jon Plowman
producer = Justin Davies
asst_producer = Jonathan Harvey
editor = Mark Lawrence
cinematography = Rob Kitzmann (DoP)
runtime = 30 minutes
channel = BBC Two
company = BBC Productions
first_aired = 02 October 2008
last_aired = present
website =
imdb_id = 1246607
tv_com_id =

"Beautiful People" is a British comedy drama television series based on the memoirs of Barneys creative director Simon Doonan. The first of six episodes aired on BBC Two on 2 October 2008. The series takes place in Reading, Berkshire in 1997, with short prologues and epilogues set in New York City in 2008. The first episode recorded overnight ratings of 1.5 million viewers and positive critical reaction.


In 2008 New York, Simon Doonan, a window-dresser at Barneys, tells his assistant-come-boyfriend Sacha various tales from his childhood in Reading in 1997.


The comedy was greenlit in May 2008 by Controller of BBC Two Lucy Lumsden and Controller of Comedy Commissioning Roly Keating. The six episodes were written by Jonathan Harvey ("Gimme Gimme Gimme") [cite news|author= Rushton, Katherine|title= New BBC sitcom for Meera Syal|url=|work= Broadcast Now|publisher= EMAP|date= 2008-05-06|accessdate= 2008-10-08] and directed by Gareth Carrivick. Studio filming was done at Shepperton Studios and exterior locations at Bushey, Hertfordshire. [cite news|author= Mbubaegbu, Chine|title= Beautiful life in Reading...|url=|work= Reading Evening Post|publisher= S&B Media|date= 2008-10-02|accessdate= 2008-10-08] Doonan grew up in Reading in the 1950s but Harvey moved the setting forward to the 1990s. Executive producer Jon Plowman hoped audiences would relate to Simon's childhood; "Every teenager thinks they're different [...] I hope the audience will think: 'That's me as a teenager being laughed at. Everyone else was in a gang together, and I was in a gang of one.' But the truth is, everyone is in a gang of one."cite news|author= Rampton, James|title= Escape from suburbia: Simon Doonan's best-selling memoirs have been turned into a BBC2 sitcom|url=|work= The Independent|publisher= Independent News and Media|date= 2008-09-22|accessdate= 2008-10-08]

Olivia Colman helped the cast to bond on set by arranging a visit from a mobile blood donor unit. [cite news|author= Dessau, Bruce|title= Olivia Colman: From Peep Show to Beautiful People|url=|work= The Times|publisher= Times Newspapers|date= 2008-09-27|accessdate= 2008-10-08]

The series features a soundtrack native to the decade. It consists of original and cover versions, including a duet by Kylie and Dannii Minogue of ABBA's "The Winner Takes It All" in Episode 4.


*Simon Doonan (Luke Ward-Wilkinson), a schoolboy growing up in 1990s Reading, who longs to escape to the glamour of London. Played by Samuel Barnett in present-day scenes.
*Kylie (Layton Williams), Simon's best friend, whose real name is Kyle.
*Debbie Doonan (Olivia Colman), Simon's mother, who has a drinking problem.
*Andy Doonan (Aidan McArdle), Simon's father, a plumber.
*Aunty Hayley (Meera Syal), Simon's blind "aunt" and Debbie's best friend, who lodges with the Doonans.
*Ashlene Doonan (Sophie Ash), Simon's sister, who blackmails him after she catches him cross-dressing.
*Reba (Sarah Niles), Kylie's mother, the Doonans' neighbour, and Debbie's rival.


*How I Got My Vase (aired 2 October 2008)—While at Kylie's, Simon steals one of Reba's dresses and tries it on back at home. Ashlene takes a Polaroid photo of him wearing it and threatens to show it to everyone unless he styles her hair to look like Heather Small's. Debbie finds the dress in the bin, assumes Reba is having an affair with Andy, and fights her in the street. Simon reveals that he took the dress. Debbie tries to quit drinking alcohol but starts again when Andy tells her she is boring when she is sober. Simon sees supposedly-vegan Hayley eating a burger and threatens to tell everyone. To keep him quiet, she gives him £30, which he spends on a vase that he has had his eye on for a long time.

*How I Got My Nose (aired 9 October 2008) []

*How I Got My Beads (airs 16 October 2008) []

*Episode 4 (airs 23 October 2008) []

*How I Got My Tongs (airs 30 October 2008) []


Broadcast and ratings

"Beautiful People" is broadcast on Thursdays at 9.30 p.m. on BBC Two, during the channel's "Thursdays Are Funny" strand. "How I Got My Vase" recorded overnight ratings of 1.5 million and a 7% share. [cite news|author= Holmwood, Leigh|title= Full steam ahead on BBC4|url=|work=|publisher= Guardian News and Media|date= 2008-10-03|accessdate= 2008-10-08]

Critical reaction

The series was previewed by "The Guardian"'s Grace Dent as "a sort of camp, working-class British "Arrested Development". Dent wrote that it "made [her] laugh more than anything [she had] seen so far on TV this year". [cite news|author= Dent, Grace|title= Grace Dent's screen burn|url=|work= The Guardian|publisher= Guardian News and Media|date= 2008-09-27|accessdate= 2008-10-08] Tim Teeman, the entertainment editor for "The Times", rated "How I Got My Vase" three out of five stars. Teeman complimented Ward-Wilkinson's and Williams's acting but did not believe the 1990s were long ago enough to feel nostalgia for.cite news|author= Teeman, Tim|title= Beautiful People; Ian Hislop Goes Off the Rails; Natural Born Sellers|url=|work= The Times|publisher= Times Newspapers|date= 2008-10-03|accessdate= 2008-10-08] Hermione Eyre for "The Independent" praised Williams and Colman, and compared the show to "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole". [cite news|author= Eyre, Hermione|title= Jamie's Ministry of Food, Channel 4; Beautiful People, BBC2; Ian Hislop Goes Off The Rails, BBC4|url=|work= The Independent|publisher= Independent News and Media|date= 2008-10-08|accessdate= 2008-10-08]


Doonan's memoirs have been re-released with a tie-in cover by Harper Collins. [ISBN 0007237138] An accompanying soundtrack to the series will be released by EMI on 20 October.cite news|author= Levine, Nick|title= That Kylie/Dannii duet|url=|work= Digital Spy|publisher= Digital Spy Ltd.|dat= 2008-10-07|accessdate= 2008-10-07]


External links

*imdb title|id=1246607|title= Beautiful People
* [ "Beautiful People"] playlist at BBC YouTube channel

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