'Life's Too Short' Review - Is This Johnny Depp's Revenge On Ricky Gervais?
Life's Too Short, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's latest sitcom built around the trials and tribulations of actor dwarf Warwick Davis, sees a bizarre centrepiece as this week's cameo Johnny Depp comes face to face with his Golden Globes nemesis - the man responsible for, as the Pirates star put it, "trashing me in front of 200 million people".
There ensues a hostile joust, with Depp getting in a bunch of very average barbs - "What is nastier than Ricky Gervais's jokes? His teeth", "Why do people take an instant dislike? Saves time" - and so on.
Gervais may look vaguely uncomfortable, but of course we know the whole thing comes from his own pen, so it's really Ricky's revenge on all those who thought he went too far at the Globes, with a complicit nod from one of his highest-profile victims of the night.
With unplanned coincidence, this episode aired on the same day it was confirmed he's accepted an invitation to host the Globes for a third, and apparently, final time - proving claims that he alienated half of Tinseltown to be well wide of the mark.
On his blog he tells us, "I don't think anyone had any right to be offended but they were. This year I'm going to make sure their offence is completely justified," and I really hope this is true, and that the lure of Hollywood's embrace is not proving too warm to ignore. Gervais continues to prove himself our most original and defiant comedy writer - it would be a terrible loss if we heard the big clang of the Hollywood gates closing behind him.
Watch the clip below of Johnny Depp and Ricky Gervais squaring off.
Meanwhile, for Davis, it's business as usual, with things starting well for the out-of-work actor, being hired on a ludicrously high fee to advise Depp on the whys and wherefores of playing Rumpelstiltskin. Sadly, Depp's intent Method training sees our hero enshrined in a toilet, his ignominy complete.
The challenge here is that Depp is already too cool for school and so ready to play against type that him engaging in self-parody does not provide the same comedic golden egg of, say, Les Dennis in Extras, or Barry from EastEnders.
More rewarding is Warwick Davis on his own, making a guest appearance at a science fiction convention where "fans get to meet their heroes, and say thanks for everything. And my chance to thank them... " by charging for autographed snaps at £25 a time.
And there's a beautiful set piece, when his glee on being filmed for regional TV turns to horror at the hands of an increasingly volatile presenter, who eventually dumps him in favour of the A-team van... Davis is indignant: "He's gone to interview what is essentially a second-hand car."