Why you should be watching Stath Lets Flats
Comically priced homes8
James R | On 02, Sep 2019
From Fleabag to Paddington 2, Jamie Demetriou has been slowly infiltrating our screens to demonstrate his comic timing and versatility. It’s a treat, then, to see his scene-stealing talents put centre stage in Stath Lets Flats, his hilarious Channel 4 comedy.
Jamie plays Stath, a lettings agent in London who is as incompetent as he is, well, incompetent. Mostly hired because his boss is his dad, he stoops at nothing to get a contract closed, stealing clients and losing his patience on a daily basis. We join him on disastrous property viewings, which often see him damage the place, witness him trying to help an existing tenant with a pest problem, observe as he attempts to ingratiate himself with his colleagues, including Katy Wix’s wonderful Carole, or prove himself superior to them – like his arch rival Julian (Dustin Demri-Burns). All the while, we cringe at his dreadful attempts at salesman banter. The gift of the gab was not given to him.
Co-written by Friday Night Dinner’s Robert Popper, the result shares that show’s same knack for awkward humour, whether that’s a 30-second monologue about a bench, a laugh-out-loud encounter with a pigeon, the excited discovery of cupboards and taps or a battle with home speakers.
The show began as a “Blap”, a short online skit for All 4, and it’s development into a full series only highlights how well Jamie knows and inhabits his character. State’s sweaty, desperate commitment to making a buck out of the housing crisis is played just right; he repeatedly fails, but he just won’t give up, even when he asks one prospective tenant if they don’t like him and they give him a brutally honest answer.
That’s just enough to get us on Stath’s side, as we watch him be denied the manager’s position at family business Michael & Eagle Lettings by his father, Vasos (Christos Stergioglou). Season 2 dials up the sympathy, as Stath tries to rethink his life goals, which only makes his blundering slapstick funnier; a sequence that sees him trying to film an advert, while throwing keys at people to catch, is hysterical.
Throughout Demetriou stays committed, his impeccable, unflappable deadpan seeing him through the silliest, most ridiculous situations. His razor-sharp physical comedy is backed up by the arrival of Natasia Demetriou as Stath’s sister, Sophie, who is also trying to find a new direction in life, and watching them both fail – and flail – together, while dealing with intern Al (Alistair Roberts), is a joy.
And, underneath that keenly observed character comedy, the show gets an added edge from perhaps the most pointed gag of all: the outrageous price tags attached to each dump as we tour the UK’s property market.