|People Just Do Nothing|
|Also known as||PJDN
|Created by||Allan Mustafa
|Written by||Allan Mustafa
|Directed by||Jack Clough|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||4|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Location(s)||Brentford, London, UK|
|Running time||approx. 30 minutes|
|Original network||BBC iPlayer, BBC Three (TV), BBC Two|
|Original release||17 August 2012- present|
People Just Do Nothing is a British television mockumentary sitcom that was first broadcast by BBC Three on 20 July 2014. Created and performed by Allan Mustafa, Steve Stamp, Asim Chaudhry and Hugo Chegwin, the programme follows the lives of MC Grindah (Mustafa) and DJ Beats (Chegwin), who run Kurupt FM, a pirate radio station broadcasting UK garage and drum and bass from Brentford in west London.
The show follows a mockumentary format, and was the first BBC Three programme to premiere on its iPlayer service. In 2017, it won the BAFTA award and Royal Television Society award for Best Scripted Comedy. The four main actors have also formed a musical act that tours in character as "Kurupt FM".
People Just do Nothing is a mockumentary, in which the characters give interviews to the camera and are taped in a loose, documentary fashion. An off-screen interviewer is occasionally heard. The "documentary" follows the fortunes of "Kurupt FM", a pirate radio station broadcasting UK Garage from a flat in Brentford, west London. The main characters are MC Grindah, DJ Beats, DJ Steves, and their entrepreneurial manager, Chabuddy G. The show follows their personal lives, with a strong focus on their relationships with their respective female partners such as Miche and Roche.
All of the characters have an inflated sense of their own talent and success; Steve Stamp, who portrays Steves, said "A lot of talented people don't have enough confidence, but then there's a lot of stupid people with no talent who have loads of confidence ... All our characters are super confident; they're just not good at what they do." The characters fail to recognise their lowly status, with Grindah regularly making comments like "We're going global, but you will very much have to be in the Brentford area to hear us." The show plays off of their stupidity; Rachel Aroesti of The Guardian has said, "Every character is really, quite comfortingly, dense, and their inability to read scenarios correctly is the source of nearly all the comedy." The show was summarised by Jamie Clifton of Vice as:
You don't need to know anything about garage to get it; the humour is in the hopelessness. Most of the principal characters are completely deluded in some way - Chabuddy, who believes his wife loves him, when she clearly does not. Or Grindah, who claims to reign over all MCs from a pirate station that only broadcasts five miles into London. You laugh at their failures, but it's a weird kind of schadenfreude because every character is so endearing you want them to succeed, not relentlessly embarrass themselves in front of a TV crew.
The four main actors were friends for years before they began making the show. They were brought together through Hugo Chegwin; he had known Steve Stamp since childhood, became friends with Asim Chaudhry at college, and met Allan Mustafa through a mutual friend. They all had experience DJing or MCing on pirate radio in their youth, and no ambition to be actors. Mustafa said, "I rapped at the time, but we never really ended up making music. We just watched The Office a lot and smoked weed." In the late 2000s, Chegwin and Stamp had a "fake garage crew" on a real station called KuruptFM. Chegwin and Mustafa began creating characters and filming them, and were further inspired when they watched the BBC documentary series Tower Block Dreams, about London's underground music scene, and found the participants amusing. MC Grindah was based on a pirate radio boss from the series. Stamp and Chaudhry became involved, and the foursome began improvising material and putting it on YouTube under the name "Wasteman TV".
The YouTube videos were seen by producer Joe Petrie, who worked with Ash Atalla - a former producer for The Office - at Roughcut TV. Petrie later explained, "It wasn't fully-formed, but the more you watched it, the more you could see there was proper detail to the characters. I had no idea about garage, really, but I just loved them as comic creations." Atalla arranged to produce a pilot episode for BBC Three, released in August 2012. The pilot was the most shared video on iPlayer that month, and the BBC ordered a full series.
Many journalists have commented that the show is heavily influenced by The Office. David Renshaw has said, "At times, Grindah's delusion in relation to his own success, talent and likeability is a mortifying dance away from full David Brent." Chabuddy G has been described as "an Asian Del Boy", of Only Fools and Horses. The actors have named their primary influences as The Office, This is Spinal Tap, Alan Partridge, Ali G, Laurel and Hardy, and Mike Leigh.
Writing credits go to Allan Mustafa and Steve Stamps, but the cast are given freedom to improvise their dialogue and sometimes film scenes spontaneously. By the third series, Mustafa estimated that material was "70/30 percent improvised". Chaudhry explained, "When you've been doing a character for six years, you can just snap into it - you know how they'd react in any situation", adding that he is continuously inspired by his father, "because he's like a real Chabuddy G, just not as ridiculous". The dialogue is often heavy with 21st century London slang. Much of the filming took place at Chesterton Court on the South Acton housing estate, before it was demolished. Series three was shot in Peckham, south-east London. All locations are based on the Haverfield Estate in Brentford, where Chegwin and Stamp grew up.
|First aired||Last aired|
|Pilot||17 August 2012|
|1||4||20 July 2014||3 August 2014|
|2||5||15 July 2015||12 August 2015|
|3||6||17 August 2016||21 September 2016|
|4||6||15 August 2017||19 September 2017|
|Title||Original air date|
|1||"Comedy Feeds: People Just Do Nothing Pilot"||17 August 2012|
|Mockumentary that follows the lives of people connected to west London pirate radio station Kurupt FM. MC Sniper is released from a very short stretch in jail and finds that the station is having problems with its transmitter, threatening Sniper's comeback set.|
|Title||Original air date|
|2||1||"Secret Location"||20 July 2014|
|After receiving noise complaints from a neighbour, the members of Kurupt FM decide to soundproof the flat from which they broadcast. They enlist the help of local entrepreneur Chabuddy G, who devises a creative solution using egg boxes and factory second packets of peanuts in return for Kurupt airing his commercial.|
|3||2||"Angel's Birthday"||27 July 2014|
|Grindah is tasked with organizing his daughter's fifth birthday party. After his last-minute negotiations with Argos break down, Chabuddy G steps in to offer an adapted version of his hen's night party package. Meanwhile, DJ Beats flunks a job interview for Tie One.|
|4||3||"Competition"||3 August 2014|
|Kurupt FM run a listener competition, presenting the prize personally to the winner. Chabuddy G's wife's brother comes to visit from Poland, but their apparent closeness raises questions about the true nature of their relationship.|
|5||4||"The Website"||3 August 2014|
|The Kurupt crew ask Chabaddy G to design a website for their radio station. He agrees, in return for being allowed to play a DJ set on air. Steves attempts to obtain a crisis loan from the Job Centre. Strapped for cash, DJ Beats is forced to play at a friend's wedding reception to save the station and his washing machine.|
|Title||Original air date|
|6||1||"The Godfather"||15 July 2015|
|It is Angel's christening and Grindah is contemplating his choice of godfather.|
|7||2||"The Babysitter"||22 July 2015|
|Miche starts her new trial job at a salon, meaning Grindah is on babysitting duties.|
|8||3||"Weed Drought"||29 July 2015|
|Grindah and Beats are in the midst of a weed drought and take matters into their own hands.|
|9||4||"Promotion"||4 August 2015|
|Chabuddy prepares for his latest business venture, and Grindah has a big announcement for Miche. Meanwhile, Beats takes Craig on a comical father-and-son fishing trip.|
|10||5||"Clubnight"||12 August 2015|
|It's the opening night of Chabuddy's new nightclub, the Champagne Steam Rooms. The Kurupt FM crew prepare for their headliner set, while Miche is offered a full-time position at the salon.|
|Title||Original air date|
|11||1||"Dubplate"||17 August 2016|
|The band enter the studio to record their latest 'instant classic', while Miche chooses a venue for her marriage to Grindah. Meanwhile, Beats faces the prospect of fatherhood, and Chabuddy is on the lookout for love once again.|
|12||2||"Record Deal"||24 August 2016|
|Kurupt FM attempt to get a record deal. In need of a pay rise to pay for the upcoming wedding, Miche needs to pass a hairdressing test.|
|13||3||"Court Case"||31 August 2016|
|Grindah finds himself in trouble with the law again and prepares himself for a possible jail sentence, leaving Steves with a daunting eight-hour set.|
|14||4||"New Friends"||7 September 2016|
|Chabuddy turns the bar into a restaurant and hires Steves. Miche reaches breaking point over the wedding, with consequences for Grindah - who feels further marginalized by Beats's burgeoning bromance with Darren.|
|15||5||"Ipswich"||14 September 2016|
|Chabuddy organizes for Kurupt FM to perform at a club in Ipswich. The gig is not very successful but the group persuade two girls to come back to their hotel room with them. Steves gets travel sick, gets separated from the group and has to hitch-hike to Ipswich.|
|16||6||"Valentimes"||21 September 2016|
|The last episode takes place around Valentine's Day. Roche goes into labour and gives birth. Steves goes to visit his Nan but is told that she has recently died. Grindah is left to run the station on Valentine's Day. He asks Miche to take him back but she refuses.|
|Title||Original air date|
|17||1||"Slipping"||15 August 2017|
|Grindah has become increasingly paranoid after leaving Miche, and is still living at Steves. Miche and Angel take part in a paid-for modeling photo-shoot, which Miche imagines will mark her rise to fame. A rival radio station, Kold FM, calls Kurupt FM after Steves and Grindah hurl insults at them on the phone; Grindah panics, and moves the station to Miche's garage.|
|18||2||"Rivalry"||22 August 2017|
|Kurupt FM find out their antenna has been vandalised by Kold FM, and plan to ransack the latter. Grindah attempts to get back Miche by making a lasagne; his plan falls short when Miche's mother invites over a Spanish man for Miche to date. Steves tries to contact his dead Nan, who he believes is trapped in Beats' and Roche's daughter Robyn.|
|19||3||"War"||29 August 2017|
|The Kurupt FM station has been vandalized by Kold FM. Kurupt and Chabuddy decide to install new locks, while Steves gets a safe for his inheritence money. Both plans fail as Beats and Chabuddy lock themselves outside, and Steves keys locks the safe without noting the password, prompting him to drop it from a high balcony (thus letting passers-by steal large amounts of the money). Grindah and Miche assist Angel's school in a visit to the RAF Museum. Grindah decides to return to Kurupt FM and make amends with Beats.|
|20||4||"Bosses"||5 September 2017|
|Steves takes Kold FM's dog "hostage". This leads to a mafia style sit-down with the rival station in an Italian restaurant. The dog is returned to Kold FM in exchange for Kold changing their broadcast frequency. Miche continues to push Angel toward becoming a famous performer. Chabuddy takes a job at an electronics retailer. Grindah and Miche are reconciled, and talk of marriage.|
|21||5||"Stags & Hens"||12 September 2017|
|The boys and girls have their respective stag and hen parties. The Kurupt crew cause embarrassment when Beats hires a call girl instead of a stripper. Afterwards, the boys decide to visit a strip club instead, and are later joined by Chabuddy. Grindah goes missing, and Beats' attempts to find him lead to an altercation whereby he and the others are ejected from the club. It transpires that Grindah had made his way back to Roche's house, where Miche's hen party is being held, to declare his devotion to his fiancee.|
|22||6||"The Wedding"||19 September 2017|
|After a brief wedding ceremony for Grindah and Miche, the families make their way to the reception, which has been turned into a daytime rave. Meanwhile, Steves returns to the radio station, where he finds that police are confiscating the radio equipment. Steves is arrested for drug possession.|
People Just do Nothing has received positive reviews. After the release of the first series, Alex Fletcher of Digital Spy called it "the best British comedy in years", and lamented that few people were aware of its "comedic genius". He added, "it packs in more genuine belly laughs in one episode than most recent sitcoms have done in their full lifetime, and [has] nailed that quintessential British sense of humour where we're able to laugh at our own humiliating inadequacies ... it feels like it belongs in the company of modern comedy greats such as The Office, Peep Show and Phoenix Nights." Gerard O'Donovan of The Telegraph gave the pilot episode four stars out of five, and said, "Entertaining, and absolutely of its time, People Just Do Nothing certainly serves up some good laughs and I look forward to the next three parts."
For the second series, David Renshaw of The Guardian said it was "a welcome return from the gang", and commented "Despite its larger-than-life characters, People Just Do Nothing's success lies in its believability ... You get the feeling that if you drove out to Brentford you might actually run in to them." He especially praised the comedy provided by DJ Steves and Chabuddy G. Rachel Aroesti, also of The Guardian, said "the episode where Grindah panics after taking a pill at his club night has good claim to be the comic highlight of 2015".
Aroesti gave the third series a highly positive review: "In an age of bleak comedy that barely makes you snigger, one show has been keeping up the lost art of making people laugh - the hilarious, half-witted pirate radio mockumentary." She added, "[the show] is not an old-fashioned sitcom by any stretch - it's understated, meta and set in a niche subculture - but it is truly traditional in its comedy: beats are hit and joke quotas filled, scene in, scene out." She appreciated that the series also "decided to go for the dramatic jugular. The final episode of this series offered fans a precious opportunity to laugh and cry at exactly the same time ... By making you care about the characters (even the monstrosity that is MC Grindah - a David Brent with malicious intent), viewers will now have two reasons for tuning in."
|2016||BAFTA Television Awards||Best Scripted Comedy||People Just Do Nothing||Nominated|||
|Royal Television Society Awards||Best Scripted Comedy||People Just Do Nothing||Nominated|||
|Best Director - Comedy||Jack Clough||Won|||
|2017||BAFTA Television Awards||Best Scripted Comedy||People Just Do Nothing||Won|||
|Best Male Comedy Performance||Asim Chaudhry||Nominated|
|Royal Television Society Awards||Best Scripted Comedy||People Just Do Nothing||Won|||
|Best Comedy Performance||Asim Chaudhry||Won|
|Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards||Best TV Situation Comedy||Allan Mustafa, Steve Stamp||Nominated|||
|2018||Royal Television Society Awards||Best Scripted Comedy||People Just Do Nothing||Nominated|||
|BAFTA Television Awards||Best Male Comedy Performance||Asim Chaudhry||Pending|||
The show started life in 2010 as "Wasteman TV", a YouTube series that was filmed and edited by Asim Chaudhry (Chabuddy G) before the BBC commissioned a pilot on 17 August 2012, which became the most shared iPlayer show for the month. A four-part series was eventually commissioned, which first aired on iPlayer in July 2014, then on terrestrial television the following month. A second series, of five episodes, aired in July 2015.
In October 2015, the BBC announced it had commissioned a third and fourth series of People Just Do Nothing, both consisting of six 30-minute episodes. The BBC confirmed Series 3 & 4 would initially be available on the new online BBC Three and later screened on BBC Two.
Episode one of series three premiered on BBC iPlayer on 17 August 2016. Episodes of series three were released weekly on iPlayer and then broadcast the following week on BBC Two. Series four began on iPlayer on 15 August 2017, and was also broadcast on BBC One on Saturday evenings.
The DVD of the first three series was released in November 2016. The boxset included specially recorded commentaries from the first two series and unseen extra footage.
The four main actors, along with "Decoy" and "Fantasy", tour nightclubs and music venues as "Kurupt FM", where they appear in character. They have also played music festivals including Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds. Mustafa said in 2016, "We all wanted to be musicians when we were younger. So now, in a way, it's like we're living out what we didn't get to do, playing all these festivals. We get two sick jobs: we get to film and we get to fuck around on stage and be headliners." Stamp added, "And because we're in character, we can sort of get away with whatever. Like my shit mixing; it's because I'm Steves, not because I'm a shit DJ." On-stage guests have included grime artists Stormzy and Big Narstie.