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article imageKnights’ Vicious return as ITV renews Ravenhill–Janetti sitcom

By Mathew Wace Peck     Aug 25, 2013 in Entertainment
Vicious, the gay-themed sitcom starring Sir Derek Jacobi and Sir Ian McKellen, will return for a second series, ITV has confirmed.
The news was conveyed by Peter Fincham (ITV’s Director of Television) during a speech he gave to the Edinburgh Television Festival.
Fincham, Radio Times reports, said of Vicious that it was “a big, in-your-face audience-laughter sitcom.”
Season 1 received a mixed response from viewers and critics alike, many unhappy that the sitcom played on old prejudiced stereotypes of gay men.
Favourable reviews included Metro referring to Vicious as “nostalgic fun” and the Daily Mail calling it “the Steptoe & Son of the gay and Thespian community.” Digital Spy was more mixed in its assessment, praising the strong cast but adding that overall it was an “uncomfortable blend of coarse humour and ’70s sitcom-style cosiness.” The Sunday Mirror, however, went further, saying that it was a “horrible half-hour of 1970s-style net-curtain cosiness”.
While acknowledging the criticisms, Fincham pointed out that many people’s opinions towards the show had changed by the end of its initial set of episodes. “Not everybody liked Vicious, [but] many people did and that critical tide turned during the run,” he said.
Vicious tells the story of ageing partners, Freddie and Stuart, who have lived together in the same flat for nearly 50 years. Freddie was a budding actor and Stuart a barman when they first met, but their careers are now pretty much over and their lives now consist of reading books, walking their dog, Balthazar, and bickering. It was created by Mark Ravenhill (Shopping and F***ing) and Gary Janetti (Will and Grace).
Freddie and Stuart are played by two of the UK’s leading Shakespearean actors, respectively, Sir Ian McKellen (Lord of The Rings) and Sir Derek Jacobi (Last Tango in Halifax), both age 74.
Vicious
Vicious
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The series also stars Frances de la Tour (Big School) as Freddie and Stuart’s man-eating best friend, Violet, and Iwan Rheon (Misfits) as their young neighbour, Ash.
Storylines in season 1 included having to deal with the death of an old friend, helping Ash to get back together with his girlfriend, attending a gay nightclub (see video, above), attending a Doctor Who convention and celebrating the gay gents’ 49th anniversary together.
Speaking to omg!, Jacobi confirmed that the second series won’t begin filming till sometime in 2014, due to McKellen’s busy movie work schedule.
However, in the meantime, a Christmas special, which has already been filmed, will be shown over the 2013 festive period.
You can read more about season 1 from when Digital Journal ’s Andrew John reported on its launch back in April.
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