Why I Love...Hotel Babylon

Ah, the luxury hotel: a world unto itself where anything is possible and theoretically available. Of course, the reality of luxury hotels isn't like that at all, and nor is the delightfully unhinged Hotel Babylon.
You might think a series starring Max Beesley and Tamzin Outhwaite isn't necessarily the most appetising recipe for scrumptious television. You might well be wrong.
Tamzin is a revelation as Rebecca Mitchell, the exceedingly glamorous, exceedingly repressed hotel manager, while the unnervingly handsome Beesley as her deputy, Charlie Edwards, is the sort of cheeky chappie you end up rooting for, and not just because he was shot in the first series.
So far, so El Dorado with room service and free mixed nuts at the bar. But Hotel Babylon is in a more noble tradition of very well-acted, very witty, very British television. It picks at the underbelly of seemingly glossy, apparently unattainable lives, and it's all seen through the eyes of ordinary folk: Upstairs, Downstairs with power showers.
Where it really hits home is not merely in its lightness of touch, its strangely upright, eye-for-an-eye morality (once Charlie arranged for a Croat war criminal to be killed) and the delightful supporting cast (Dexter Fletcher as Tony Casemore has a face that's not so much lived in as partied in and then trashed by a legion of squatters), but in its sharp script and understanding of the luxury hotel's hermetically sealed world.
You see, nobody knows - and the guests don't care - what goes on downstairs. It's a place where staff on the minimum wage, such as the Balkan chambermaid Tanya, are often unfamiliar with Britain. Yet these people get to glimpse the other side of the tracks - the decadence, the stupidity and the sheer rudeness that too much money can bring - every day of their working lives. Frankly, it's a wonder so few guests die at Hotel Babylon.
This means that when a Premiership football team is rude to Rebecca, a most disgusting revenge can be taken in the kitchen and no employee will be punished.
However, while it's a jungle down there, every jungle has its law, and when Luke Marwood - effectively a young Dexter - transgresses the downstairs code by attempting to smuggle in male prostitutes for an especially demanding guest, his cunning plan is stopped. It wasn't the smuggling that was the problem, it was the not going through the downstairs hierarchy. Surely, quite soon, Luke will be impaled upon his own cockiness.
And, of course, there are the sub-plots, of which one is invariably endearingly bonkers. Recently David Walliams struggled to keep a straight face as the leader of a gaggle of white-clad, apocalypse-welcoming, faux-druids, who ate only bacon and went to sleep believing they would wake up in another world after this one had expired overnight. Meanwhile, another episode saw the wife of a peer of the realm swanning through Hotel Babylon dressed as a giant ice-cream cone.
Can peak-time television be more impish fun? Surely not