19/03/2014 19:53 GMT | Updated 19/03/2014 19:59 GMT

'W1A' Episode 1 Review: Hugh Bonneville And Twenty Twelve Team Slip Seamlessly Into BBC Corridors

'W1A' - or the BBC's New Broadcasting House - is the new destination for one-time head of Olympic Deliverance Commission Ian Fletcher, and his trusty fold-up bike.

This new chapter for the previously incarnated 'Twenty Twelve' guru had seemingly inspired Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) to splash out on a new version of his trusty two-wheeler, which made for many clumsy minutes trying to fold it properly.

But this was small potatoes next to the chaos he found once he'd entered the hallowed building, in his fresh role as the BBC's Head of Values, or, as he helpfully put it, "putting the value of values, literally, on the agenda."

Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) is back in business, this time at the BBC as Head of Values

Yes, we were back in the delightful world of double-speak, where 'yes' might mean 'no', and 'no' probably means 'no change'. Why use one word, when 10 will do?

The BBC corridors were peppered with those same quirky characters of the type both Ian and we have met before over at the Olympiad, from the intern Will, a bit full to bursting of 'Woahs' and 'Cools', to the poker-faced Head of Output Anna Rampton (Sarah Parrish), not to forget a woman "who is also Welsh".

More subtle, and delightfully grotesque, was head of Strategic Governance Simon Harwood, with actor Jason Watkins shaping up what could be a mini Sir Humphrey of this era.

Simon Harwood (Jason Watkins) is DELIGHTED to have Ian Fletcher on board at the BBC - can't you tell?

With a smile that never quite reached the eyes and inviting Ian into his 'interactive space' (when is an office not an office?) he seemed determined to help Ian in every way he possibly could, short of making him look good to off-stage 'Tony' or helping him understand his role in any shape or form.

This week's challenges… Paxman falling asleep on Newsnight, Cornwall being under-represented on the national networks, and the failure to secure Clare Balding to host 'Britain's Tastiest Village'.


Ian Fletcher effortlessly being shot down in flames by the head of output when he dared suggest a Cornwall host of her new 'appointment-to-view' programme...

Great, so we can be confident about that and take that straight off the list of possible solutions to worry about. And so we move on.

Never mind 'Downton', Ian Fletcher is Hugh Bonneville's finest hour, a sweet Everyman, full of aspiration about getting to the end of the day in one piece, but tragically confounded by such things as lack of desk, a corporation too big and a bike too small.

You get the drift. Lots of in-jokes here to delight anyone versed in media-speak, although one joke too far was the sight of arts guru Alan Yentob arm-wrestling with Salman Rushdie while opera played.

An amazing wink, I'm sure, from the real-life powers that be… but possibly not the best use of Alan Yentob's time as, back in the real world, tussles continue over BBC funding, digital channels and he continues on his highly-paid Arts remit. For once, I found the lines between fact and satirical-fact a little too blurred. But the rest of it was sublime.

'W1A' continues next Wednesday at 9pm, BBC2.

Photo gallery Twenty Twelve prepares for the finishing line See Gallery