Plus One (2009) is a 5-episode comedy TV series starring Daniel Mays.
Plus One (2009) is like one of those MTV movies. You know the ones, they want to get high ratings on a movie by getting the hottest pop star to be in it, but because the pop star is a musician and not an actor, they put the pop star in the movie as little as possible and get real actors to play around him/her. Plus One‘s pop star is Duncan James from English boy band Blue, but they don’t call him Duncan James, they call him “Duncan from Blue.” Yes, he’s playing himself. Maybe that’s all they trusted him to play. Perhaps it sounds I’m being too harsh, but I’ve seen this formula before, and there’s no shame in not acting if you’re not an actor. The lead role is by Daniel Mays, a proper actor, often given more serious roles. You may have seen him in Ashes to Ashes, Outcasts, or Doctor Who. Plus One proves that for as well as he excels in drama, he’s at least just as good in comedy. Plus One is not high art. The writing is what you would expect from a pop star gimmick show, but Danny Mays rescues it from mediocrity (and not just by his ridiculously amazing dance moves).
Rob Black (Daniel Mays) is dating a beautiful woman named Lindsay, who dumps him for Duncan for Blue and then has the gall to invite Rob to the wedding. To add insult to injury, she gives him a plus one, as if to rub it in that he no longer has a significant other. Rob spends the rest of the series trying to secure the most impressive plus one possible, stooping to the lowest lows and coming off as a prick to everyone. Like Woody Allen or House of Cards, Rob often turns to the camera to tell us what he’s thinking. We even flash inside Rob’s head to see his fantasies where he and Duncan are James Bond and the villain, or an unforgettable scene with a Twix.
*Fun Fact: Rory Kinnear played Rob Black in the original pilot.
My favorite scene is when Rob is in hospital in a neck brace, still wearing the makeup he was going to wear to the fancy dress party, applied by a potential plus one, but no longer the outfit. He’s in blackface. Lindsay shows up and asks him what’s with the face paint.
“I’m meant to be a panda.”
“The colors are the wrong way around,” she says.
“At last. Thank you! That’s what I said.”