- Lab Rats
show_name = Lab Rats
caption = Cartoon-style title screen of "Lab Rats".
Chris AddisonCarl Cooper
Chris Addison Selina Cadell Jo Enright Geoffrey McGivernDan Tetsell Robin Ince
country = UK
language = English
num_seasons = 1
num_episodes = 6
runtime = 29'
channel = BBC 2
picture_format = PAL (576i)
July 10 2008
"Lab Rats" is a 2008 BBC 2
situation comedyset in a universityscience laboratory. It stars Chris Addison, who has co-written the series with Carl Cooper. The series is produced by regular collaborator Simon Nicholls, directed by Adam Tandyand exec produced by Armando Iannucciwith whom Addison worked in " The Thick of It".
Iannucci has stated that the programme will be a traditional-style sitcom recorded in front of a live audience. He has hinted that it will be a "very cartoony" show featuring "lots of giant snails". [ [http://news.independent.co.uk/media/article1204955.ece Armando Iannucci: Keeper of the satirical flame] in "
The Independent", 31 July 2006, URL accessed 20th January, 2007]
A pilot was announced as part of a series called "Behind Closed Doors" in Autumn 2006, but was never aired. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2006/07_july/24/bbcthree_comedy.shtml BBC Press Release:BBC THREE Autumn 2006] , URL accessed 23rd April, 2007]
Lab Rats is set in the Arnolfini, a research lab (and staff) for hire in St. Dunstan's University, designed to make some money for the university by carrying out research on behalf of other people.
The main characters are:
*Professor John Mycroft (
Geoffrey McGivern): Officially in charge, Prof. Mycroft once won a Nobel Prize and has been living off it ever since. Spends a lot of his time drinking.
*Doctor Alex Beenyman (
Chris Addison): The unofficial head of the lab, Dr. Beenyman does his best to keep the others in control. He is the only sane member of the team but often ends up responsible for their actions.
*Cara McIlvenny (
Jo Enright): A tiny lab assistant who's not always altogether 'there'. Although she has a talent for building machines, she does not appear to have much actual understanding of science, or of anything else. She is probably Alex's best friend within the lab.
*Brian Lalumaca (
Dan Tetsell): A rather unpleasant lab assistant, who enjoys weapons, traps, and anything else violent. He often finds himself involved in Prof. Mycroft's mad schemes. He harbours something of a crush on the Dean, but is constantly frustrated by her inability to remember his name or role.
*Minty Clapper (
Helen Moon): Secretary to Prof. Mycroft and Dr. Beenyman.
*Dean Mieke Miedema (
Selina Cadell): The Dean of St Dunstan's College. Dutch.
*The Secretary (
Margaret Cabourn-Smith) who is constantly being given onerous tasks by the Dean. She has very few spoken lines but is involved in various visual gags throughout the series.
The series of six episodes began airing on
BBC Twoat 9.30pm on 10 July 2008.
Reception to the first episode "A Snail" was mixed in the British press. "
The GuardianGuide" found the programme "mundane and dated" [The Guardian Guide - 5-11 July 2008] , Lucy Manganalso of "The Guardian" said "the kind of stuff that would barely have passed muster in the 70s [...] all the jokes are spatchcocked into a wafer-thin plot that veers uncertainly between reality and surreality, this particular experiment can only be deemed a failure." [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jul/11/television.television Lucy Mangan on Last Night's TV] , " The Guardian" - July 11 2008 - accessed 11 July 2008] ] . Tim Teeman writing in " The Times" said "Lab Rats is a truly appalling new sit-com [...] Bad puns, redundant characters, lame jokes [...] Not even the best surgeon in the land could save this." (0/5 stars) [ [http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article4310838.ece Last Night's TV] - " The Times" July 11 2008, accessed July 11 2008.]
However Robert Hanks in "
The Independent" said "remarkable for its combination of very silly jokes and rather well-researched evolutionary theory. The cast is good. The plot of last night's episode was pleasantly absurdist, the jokes were commendably odd and wide-ranging [...] Somehow, though, it didn't quite gel, largely because of the studio audience, whose laughter, as so often, slowed things down and underlined jokes that needed to be thrown away [...] Worth giving it a week or two, though." [ [http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/film-and-tv/tv-radio-reviews/last-nights-tv-life-and-death-on-the-nhs-itv1br-born-to-be-wild-bbc4br-lab-rats-bbc2-864933.html Last Night's TV] - " The Independent" - 11 July 2008 - accessed 11 July 2008.] Robert Collins of " The Daily Telegraph" gave it his critic's choice, calling it "likeable, madcap comedy [...] a catalytic reaction of " Red Dwarf" and " The IT Crowd", in a solution of " Are You Being Served?" And it’s not a bad formula." [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/07/11/nosplit/bvtv11critic.xml Critic's Choice - Lab Rats] - " The Daily Telegraph" - 11 July 2008 - accessed 11 July 2008.]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/labrats/ Official BBC website]
* [http://www.chrisaddison.com/ Chris Addison's Website]
* [http://www.phill.co.uk/comedy/labrats/index.html "Lab Rats"] at British TV Comedy
* [http://www.comedy.org.uk/guide/tv/lab_rats/ British Comedy Guide]
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