Borderline: The Office in Northend Airport

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Borderline: The Office in Northend Airport

August 04, 2016 - 15:12
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Average: 2.5 (2 votes)
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My Saturday afternoon secret is watching those mean-minded fly on the wall programmes where tourists are arrested at customs for carrying drugs or weird illegal foodstuffs hidden in their suitcases.


By Henrietta Knight

My Saturday afternoon secret is watching those mean-minded fly on the wall programmes where tourists are arrested at customs for carrying drugs or weird illegal foodstuffs hidden in their suitcases.

The staple shows are Border Security UK and New Zealand’s Border Patrol in which uniformed jobsworths pull travellers to one side and rummage through their belongings. The ultimate documentary series has to be Banged Up Abroad where the criminals get caught with narcotics and sent to prison where they tell their story on camera.

If you have missed this particular unpleasant, but gripping TV genre, no worries. Now Channel 5 have come up with a new light-hearted idea. Borderline is a part-improvised mockumentary in the style of The Office. Set in the fictional Northend Airport with Chief Inspector Proctor (Jackie Clune) as the David Brent-style boss.

Set in what is really Midlands Airport, the six-part series follows enforcement officers Tariq (David Avery), Clive (David Elms), Grant (Jamie Michie) and Andy (Liz Kingman) as they pull over a cocaine-smuggling DJ from Ibiza and a Bulgarian who smells of cheese sandwiches.

Narrated by The Royle Family actor Ralf Little, who also serves as producer, the voice over says: “Despite being a small airport it still gets very busy, so they need to spend their spare time doing something productive, so they play truth or dare.”

Baggage handler Mo Khan (Guz Khan) absent-mindedly tosses suitcases onto the truck or the tarmac and once auditioned to be on the Apprentice. Morally questionable Grant pulls aside a chap in robes from Bahrain, but no one speaks Arabic.

Co-written by Chris Gau and Mike Orton-Toliver, the show is still largely improvised and strikes a balance between comedy and the absurd. It succeeds in making border control very funny indeed, but not nearly as amusing as the real life buffoons at Heathrow Terminal One.

There are 3 Comments

PhilipStar's picture

This is the one programme that the critics would like and the pubilc won't. People were switching it off as the programme went on. I only sat through the first episode to give a review.

Bottom line is I wasn't sure it was actually a comedy as it did not even make me smile let alone laugh. The only people that enjoyed it by the looks of things was the critics and some Big Brother fans.

Bottom line is, I don't watch Celebrity Big Brother much but this Borderline made Big Brother look like a good programme to watch. Bottom line is I feel the ratings for this will be quite low as I am not the only one who hasn't enjoyed it.

Channel 5 seem to think that doing box ticking things without actually having any jokes in a comedy programme is the best way to go. By of a shame really If Channel 5 actually hired comedy writers in this programme and stop being cheapskates. They probably would have a reasonable quality comedy.

Newman's picture

Another horrible idea that tries (belatedly) to cash in on the success
of the office... and doesn't. In fact, this one probably borders on
copyright infringement!

And again... another idea that could have been really funny with a rich
vein of possible classic situations and gags but is instead content to
rip off The Office everywhere it can, assuming that because David Brent
is a woman, the audience won't notice.

The secret filming of the break-room is there, the office phone sound
effects are there, the geeky guy is there, the macho warehouse staff
(baggage handlers) are there, the childish office games are there, the
on-camera confessionals are there...

In one scene a drug smuggler openly and successfully tries to bribe a
border guard ON CAMERA!

Add to that the characters are simply too stupid to be likable and
there's nothing left to tune in for. In fact, even the characters in
the FAKE situation comedy "When the whistle blows!", also by Ricky
Gervais, are better fleshed out and likable than this cast of infantile

About the only bright spot is the appeal of actress Liz Kingsman whose
character in this stinker is buried in this imitation comedy. Simply
put, this is just horrible.

The final line of dialog sums up how I feel about this! ;)

Kevin O'Sullivan's picture

Are you on Twitter or Facebook because I'd like to promote your excellent review?

I'm a big fan of Newman on Seinfeld.