I know I’m late to the party with this one, with Green Wing having first been broadcast in September 2004 (though you could say I’ve chosen the best time to watch it: on its ten year anniversary).
IMDB describes the show as a “funny hospital-based sketch-comedy-drama type show,” which I think is very accurate, but if I had to describe Green Wing in just one word, I would probably say it is ‘dense’. This is neither a negative nor positive judgement of the show, though I do like it very much. I think my feelings stems from a few core values it holds throughout: firstly, the episodes are physically very long (each around 50 minutes) and there are nine of them in the series. As well as this, however, I think this feeling of density comes from the vast amount of quality acting, writing and directing throughout.
The cast is thriving with young (therefore not so young and very well known now) British comedy talent, including Tamsin Greig, Mark Heap, Stephen Mangan, Michelle Gomez and Olivia Colman (a few of my favourites, though there are more than ten big roles). I admire the cast of this programme because they aren’t afraid to look foolish: the writers make it clear that this is not a serious drama from the offset by scripting in surreal situations along with extremely childish behaviour.
There is a great deal of slapstick comedy with an almost Mr Bean-like quality to add to the entirely strange experience of watching Green Wing. The use of camera and soundtrack will often accentuate this in cases where everything will speed up at times and then slow right down to less-than-natural levels.
A stand-out performance for me would have to be that of Michelle Gomez, who plays Sue White, an actress who recently appeared in a recent episode of Doctor Who: Deep Breath and is also recognised as Bad Education‘s Isobel Pickwell. She captures the insanity of Green Wing effortlessly with her deadpan delivery of lines like: “I could put a spell on you” in the middle of a mature conversation.
Although Gomez is a particular favourite of mine, it would be impossible to pick an overall ‘best’ performance because they are all incredible and devoted actors. The insanity of Pippa Haywood and Tamsin Greig’s characters teamed with the typical almost-character-tropes of Stephen Mangan, Olivia Colman and Karl Theobald’s roles makes for truly excellent viewing.
This is obviously a show for every comedy-lover out there and I regret being so late to the party.