Bonneville plays Ian Fletcher, the harried Head of Deliverance for the 2012 Games - a guy so well versed in corporate-speak he can put a positive spin on virtually any terrible situation, including his unhappy marriage.
And in his new position, there’s a whole lot of awful to go around, what with all the pressure to deliver an Olympics that fulfils buzzwords like “Sustainability and Legacy”, creating such dilemmas as what one does with a purpose-built Tae Kwon Do arena. Fletcher’s staff are equally quirky, addressing the camera in awkward interviews, where what they’re saying often sounds at odds with what we’re seeing or hearing from the unseen narrator (David Tennant).
Hugh Bonneville writes: “John Morton’s wickedly smart mockumentary is probably the hardest material I’ve ever had to learn because (along with ‘W1A’) the text was so precise, every ‘um’ and ‘er’ being scripted. The group scenes were musical in tone and rhythm: hit one bum note and the whole thing went off key and we’d have to start again. John’s recurring directorial comment was ‘go faster and don’t smile’. The show proved eerily prophetic: not only did some athletes spend hours on a coach getting lost on their way to the Olympic village, as happened in one of our episodes, but our first episode - about the countdown clock going awry - aired on the day the real countdown clock was unveiled in Trafalgar Square and promptly broke down.”
Our thanks to the BBC for this screening.