Catch-22 – C4

George Clooney and a starry cast bring Catch-22, the acclaimed satirical anti-war novel, to life

Hollywood A-lister George Clooney (pictured above) leads a star-studded cast as this six-part adaptation of Joseph Heller’s famous novel gets underway in superb style.

The World War Two satire follows the fortunes of US airman John Yossarian, who seems doomed to fly bombing missions until his luck runs out after getting trapped in a web
of military bureaucracy.

Anyone who’s read the book knows what a challenge bringing it to the screen is, yet this US series captures the story’s pace and humour with great style.

Christopher Abbott is excellent as the tale’s cynical antihero, but Clooney steals this opener as the ridiculous Lieutenant Scheisskopf.

Hugh Laurie in Catch-22

Hugh Laurie also stars, as the eccentric Major de Coverley

TV Times chatted to George, 58, about what to expect…

Tell us more about your character, Scheisskopf…

It was fun because I got to yell a lot.

There’s no great arc to my character, he just loves parades, but he does have it in for Yossarian and every time the bombardier is close to the number of flights an airman must complete before he can return home, Scheisskopf raises the number!

Did it feel like a risk to return to TV after so many years?

This was the perfect project, because I really want to do TV that’s worth doing.

I’ve been lucky in my career because I’ve had things that have been fun and easy, but then I also want to take some risks.

Doing Catch-22 as a series, rather than a movie, means you get to know the characters, so when someone dies it has a resonance and you can say, ‘Oh, I really liked that kid.’

TV Times rating: *****