Twenty Twelve (2011-2012) is a comedy mocku-doc about getting ready for the Olympics in London. It stars Hugh Bonneville, Jessica Hynes, Amelia Bullmore, Karl Theobald, Vincent Franklin, Olivia Colman, with David Tennant doing the documentary voice over. There are two seasons of 13 episodes in total. There is a followup series called W1A. Twenty Twelve is available on DVD region 1/NTSC, as well as Amazon Instant, Google Play, and Vudu.
Whether it’s Graham Hitchins (Theobald), head of infrastructure, making more traffic jams than there had been before he started fiddling with the stop lights, or babysitting a track & field star (played by Darren Boyd) who is useless at public speaking, or Kay Hope (Bullmore) trying to rescue the endangered beetles from the park before their stump homes are paved for the Olympic horses, the offices of Olympic Games deliverance 2012 serve up one cock-up after another. The characters are trapped in their own reoccurring personal hells. Siobhan Sharpe (Hynes, in the real standout performance of the show) can’t speak in anything but upbeat PR jargon. Their leader Ian Fletcher (Bonneville) is forever getting his fingers caught in his fold-up bike and either arguing with or avoiding his wife, culminating in an epic confrontation in the office that delivers the final blow (literally–cameraman attacked, reinforcing the illusion of live documentary). Graham has 100% confidence and a 0% success rate with his traffic and urban geography knowledge. Maybe it’s all the junk food he shovels into his face. Kay’s lack of anything else going on in her life means she’s endlessly passionate about her role as Sustainability Officer. It’s a pity no one gives a toss about being green, and most of them think she’s head of Legacy, anyway. Nick Jowett (Franklin) just pipes up every now and again to write something off as a bad idea based on the premise that he’s from Yorkshire. And repeat and repeat and repeat. The only character who’s competent is Ian’s secretary Sally (Colman), who can second guess every order he gives her, makes him lunch and brings him pastries, and is quite happy to be politely walked all over. It’s a pity she isn’t more competent with her social skills as it’s obvious she’s in love with him, but he himself only dances around the idea of going for a drink with her.
The season peaks with the interviewing process of three candidates for a new position. Because upper management can’t make up their minds on what sort of person they want from a political standpoint, despite that none of the interviewees are likable or qualified, Ian winds up accidentally giving the job to all three of them at one point or another.
Season 2 surpasses season 1. We’re getting closer to the Handover Day, everybody’s got their eye on the same job position after the Olympics is over, and Sally finally gets a character arc of her own. Enter Fi Healey (Morven Christie) as Head of Legacy. Fi, who’s better at her job than the rest, manages to get in everyone’s way, with her competition with Kay and even a little too much attention from Ian, which leads to a second new hire, Daniel Stroud (Samuel Barnett), Ian’s over-eager new PA who, instead of loading him up on cinnamon rolls, loads him up on moisturizers. Meanwhile, Siobhan’s hip PR team continues to temporarily rescue deliverance from crises by offering jargon that sounds really good to the ill-informed. Kay wants to plant a tree but winds up planting a chocolate, Graham is still talking out his ass, somebody gets shot, and Nick is still from Yorkshire. More importantly, will the now divorced Ian Fletcher ever get out of this hellhole and will he bring someone special with him?
Jaime Pond is the editor of Anglonerd. She lives and works in NYC. Follow her on Twitter.