WORKPLACE situational comedies are all broadly the same – same gags, different place.

Bluestone 42 is no different. The workplace is the front line in Afghanistan, the characters are British bomb disposal detachment and the main kicks are based around the juxtaposition between deadly situations like losing a limb and everyday mundanity like finding someone to have sex with.

Improvised Explosive Device going off follows inappropriate soldier lad banter follows gunfight follows relationship advice follows bullet wound suffered follows gallows humour and then everyone goes back to base for some more banter and a barbecue.

When it works, it works well. For example, two of the soldiers talking about relationships in the midst of a gunfight comes the superbly-timed line “violence never solves anything” followed by firing off some more machine gun rounds.

The humour can be a bit hit and miss – gallows humour is all well and good but Miranda-esque pratfalls in a warzone seem rather contrived and banter laughs can always feel a little lowest common denominator.

In much the same way a footballer your club is signing looks great on YouTube and then turns out to have the turning circle of a bus and the spacial awareness of a drunk toddler, Bluestone 42 is a lot funnier in the trailers than an actual episode is.

But for what is primarily a comedy, the production values are mightily impressive, even more so considering its a show made for a digital platform, ergo fewer viewers.

Bluestone 42 – or sitcom in the sand as I like to call it – has however developed something of a cult following and came top in a Radio Times reader poll as the show that would be missed most when BBC3 goes online only. That said, being one of the best-loved BBC3 shows is a bit like the old gag about being the tallest dwarf or the shortest giant and the series has also made the jump from BBC3 to BBC2 (Sundays, 10pm) which past examples show can be seen less as a promotion and more a way of filling a schedule.

But what cannot be knocked is its realism with strongly positive responses from serving soldiers, emphasising the writer’s ability to make sure the humour does not grate with the gravity of a recent conflict in which hundreds of British soldiers died.

But all this is only based on the first two episodes of the third series which is a bit like sitting down and reviewing Monday’s episode of Coronation Street as if it were brand new or writing about a restaurant’s offering by only eating half of the items on the plate presented to you.

What I’m Looking Forward to this Week

King of the documentary-makers Louis Theroux returns with By Reason of Insanity (BBC2, Sunday, 9pm) with the journalist peering into the world of maximum security state psychiatric hospitals in Ohio and meeting people who have committed sometimes horrific crimes, but have been deemed 'not guilty by reason of insanity’.

Expect the usual mixture of occasional deadpan humour and thought-provoking content.

BONUS What I’m Looking Forward to this Week

The remarkable story of the finding of the body of Richard III comes full circle on Sunday as Channel 4 goes live at 5.10pm and wheels out its current affairs big guns - Jon Snow and Krishnan Guru-Murphy - for fully two hours and 50 minutes of coverage of the ceremonial progression of the medieval king’s remains from the University of Leicester to site of the battle where he died and onto Leicester Cathedral.

This may well be a unique TV event, no hyperbole.

An apology

For recommending You’re Back In The Room (ITV1, Saturdays, 8.20pm) last week.

The Media Blog on Twitter put it best saying: “With 'You’re Back In The Room’ ITV has taken another step towards the inevitable day when it just shows people soiling themselves for money. The “we definitely weren’t exploited” interviews at the end of 'You’re Back In The Room’ were probably the most tragic bit. No mean feat.”

Perhaps what made it even worse was to damn it further by comparison by showing it immediately after Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway -which it must also be said is not quite as superb as it once was.