The IT Crowd was shown on Channel 4 earlier this year to a light smattering of critical praise, all of which it earned. A simple set up, minimal cast, tight scripts with inventive enough ideas and energetic playing meant there were more hits than misses in most of the first season – which is what you’d expect from Graham Lineham, one of the creators of Father Ted.

Chris O'Dowd plays the slovenly Roy and Richard Ayoade plays über-geek Moss, IT nerds working in the basement of a company’s offices. They’re IT support and “have you turned it on and off again?” is their mantra. Incompetent and socially inept, they are shunned by the rest of the building while secretly longing to be accepted.

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Into their ramshackle office arrives Jen (Katherine Parkinson). She thought she was applying for a job working on the 32nd floor with all the cool people, but after bluffing computer know-how in her interview is sent down to manage Roy and Moss instead. Very little IT work actually gets done as the trio get into all manner of scrapes and japes, with, in time-honoured tradition, relationships and comic situations providing the laughs and storylines. All seven episodes had me laughing out loud a couple of times as the scripts push some ideas inventively while finding space for some broad humour and physical gaffes, too.

Everyone plays along enthusiastically to keep things ticking along at a good pace. Parkinson (also seen in Doc Martin) is certainly game for laugh and holds her own against the predominantly male cast. O'Dowd provides the most vociferous performance, seeming as though he would like to channel Dylan Moran’s best rants. Richard Ayoade (from Nathan Barley) sticks to a well-programmed nerd persona and just about manages to keep a straight face.

Chris Morris as Denholme the, frankly, psychotic MD upstages everyone when he’s around, his lines regularly pushing the comedy towards more surrealist areas. There are cameos of various lengths from the likes of Danny Wallace, Adam Buxton and Oliver Chris. The Mighty Boosh’s excellent Noel Fielding has some brilliant turns as a Goth IT engineer.

There’s enough charm and easy humour for The IT Crowd to take on a series or two more – and to make this an acceptable purchase for any ardent fan.

Reviewed on: 10 Nov 2006
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Channel 4 comedy about computer support staff.
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Director: Ben Fuller, Graham Linehan

Writer: Graham Linehan

Starring: Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson, Chris Morris

Year: 2006

Runtime: 148 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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