Stephen Fry is arguably one of the most distinctive faces and voices in British comedy television. He’s currently the host of QI, but he’s had a career on the small screen which spans four decades. Whilst the Cambridge University alumnus is probably best known for A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster, Blackadder and Kingdom, he’s also a best-selling author, a regular on BBC radio and has a string of notable film appearances. In 2001 he teamed up with comedian and satirist John Bird for Absolute Power.
Prentiss McCabe is one of London’s top PR companies, specialising in celebrities, high profile cases and spinning government schemes. The dynamic Charles Prentice (Fry) is obsessed with money and power and will stop at nothing to get them. On the other hand, Martin McCabe (Bird) is old school in his beliefs and prides himself on his ethics. They run a lively young office which employs the ambitious and ruthless Jamie (James Lance) and the bright yet unremittingly straight-laced Alison (Zoe Telford), amongst others.
What makes Absolute Power work so well as a sit-com is the chemistry between the cast. Fry and Bird, Lance and Telford, play off each other perfectly. Their clashes in style and attitudes creates much of the humour. The downside is that many of the jokes reflect the political, celebrity and social climate of the day, so risk going over the head of the viewer. Having said that, there’s enough hits to make it affably entertainingly comedy television which regularly cuts close to the bone.
Absolute Power: The Complete Series is released on DVD by Network Distributing on Monday.