Category Archives: ‘Alan Carr: Chatty Man’

This Week in TV – 24th – 30th August

Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – from Hancock to Lemon and Carr. Oh, and a few serious bits thrown in. Just to even it out.

Saturday 24th August

The Xtra Factor Rewind

ITV2, 9:00pm

There’s just one week to go until Louis, Gary and Nicole return for another series of The X Factor –  alongside Sharon Osbourne, who has been absent for six (long) years.

In this one-off episode, Xtra Factor host Caroline Flack takes us on a trip down memory lane to revisit last year’s ‘Schermazeballs’ series. So, expect a bit of miserable-faced champion, James Arthur; some former shelf-stacker, Jahmene Douglas; a generous helping of semi-finalists Union J; and a lot of Rylan Clark. Oh, and of course Scouse crooner, Christopher Maloney – whose royalties for appearing on Rewind will go straight to his nan. Naturally.

My preview of the tenth series of The X Factor, which begins a week today, will be online from midnight on Tuesday.

Also today: It’s a Pointless Celebrities radio special at 5:35pm (BBC1) as a group of famous faces – or rather famous voices – compete for the ‘coveted Pointless trophy’; Jack Dee and Alex Jones are on That Puppet Game Show (BBC1, 6:25pm); the sixth in the Harry Potter franchise, The Half-Blood Prince is on ITV at 7:00pm; Alex Jones pops up again, alongside Micky, Frank and Gabby, on I Love My Country (BBC1, 7:05pm); film The A-Team is on Channel 4 (9:20pm), as is Tim Minchin and the Heritage Orchestra Live at the Royal Albert Hall (11:35pm).

Sunday 25th August

What Remains

BBC1, 9:00pm

Starring David Threlfall (pictured), Russell Tovey and Amber Rose Revah, What Remains is a suspense-filled ‘whodunnit’ from Hotel Babylon and Inside Men writer, Tony Basgallop.

Michael and Vidya (Tovey and Revah) are a couple about to embark on'What Remains' - BBC1, 9:00pm an exciting new life together. However, when they move into their flat at 8 Coulthard Street, they find that they have a leak – which leads to the discovery of the remains of Melissa Young. Melissa has been missing for two years – but never registered so, and no one seems to have noticed her disappearance.

This is where DI Len Harper (Threlfall) comes in. He is put in charge of the case, which is seemingly easy to get to the bottom of. Harper has his own problems, though, and the mystery of Melissa’s disappearance and death acts as the perfect distraction for him. He puts his all into the investigation, refusing to take his retirement (which he was due to start a week after he began working on the case) until he uncovers the truth. During his search, he discovers the secrets that each of Michael and Vidya’s new neighbours are holding, and how they all, in some way, have a part to play in Melissa’s death.

Also today: 2011 film, Chalet Girl premieres (Channel 4, 6:15pm); Iolo Williams presents Iolo’s Great Welsh Parks (BBC2, 6:30pm); Liz McClarnon, Keith Duffy and Dan Whiston compete in the last in the series of Tipping Point: Lucky Stars (ITV, 7:00pm); Vera is back (ITV, 8:00pm); Gok Wan takes on the Banker in Celebrity Deal or No Deal (Channel 4, 8:00pm); a night dedicated to Morecambe and Wise begins on digital channel Drama at 8:00pm with Bring Me Morecambe & Wise, followed by biopic Eric & Ernie (9:00pm); Jason Statham stars in The Mechanic (Channel 4, 9:00pm); superb spoof crime series, A Touch of Cloth returns (Sky1 HD, 9:00pm); Sandi Toksvig, Jason Manford and Jeremy Clarkson are on the episode of QI which for some reason is being shown over seven months after the J series ended, ‘Just the Job’ (BBC2, 10:00pm); and The Sixth Sense is on Channel 4 at 10:50pm.

Bank Holiday Monday (26th August)

Ultimate Swarms

BBC1, 9:00pm

In this one-off programme, zoologist George McGavin sets off in search of the world’s most impressive swarms.

By meeting bats, bees and everything in between, George aims to discover why swarms are the answer to surviving against the odds, and how we can perhaps adopt the thinking of these animals in order to live our lives easier and better.

Also today: Oscar-winning epic Ben Hur (Channel 4, 11:05am); Doctor Who at the Proms (BBC1, 4:00pm); 2008 film The Incredible Hulk (ITV, 4:20pm); one-off documentary World’s Most Pampered Pets (Channel 5, 6:00pm); Only Connect comes to BBC2 for a week, starting with a ‘Champion of Champions’ special (7:30pm); Hugh Hunt presents Attack of the Zeppelins (Channel 4, 8:00pm); World’s Scariest Animal Attacks is on Channel 5 (8:00pm); Matt Damon stars in The Bourne Identity (ITV, 9:00pm); sci-fi film Independence Day is on Sky1 (10:00pm); and BBC2 is showing Last Chance Harvey (10:30pm).

Tuesday 27th August

My Hero

BBC1, 10:35pm

We’ve already seen Miranda Hart on Eric Morecambe and Hugh Dennis on Ronnie Barker but now it’s time for Death in Paradise star Ben Miller to profile his comedy hero: Tony Hancock.

I’m sure a lot of people won’t be familiar with Tony Hancock’s work. They may have heard his name bandied around a little, but they will likely not appreciate the huge impact he had on British comedy. Tony had huge success from 1954 with his radio series, Hancock’s Half Hour, which also introduced to the public such stars as Hattie Jacques, Sid James and the irrepressible Kenneth Williams. In 1956, Hancock’s Half Hour arrived on television, and became one of the first sitcoms as we know them.

However, Tony also had a tumultuous personal life. He had quite a few mistresses during his 44 year-long life, one of which was his best friend and regular co-star John Le Mesurier’s wife Joan. He also battled depression and alcoholism, all of which led to his suicide by overdose in 1968.

Still, just like so many comics, he kept his demons at bay while he was entertaining the nation, which he did so often – and it is his legacy as a great comedian and angry blood donor (well done if you got that reference) which makes him the perfect hero of Ben Miller’s.

Also today: Protect your ears from the screams – it’s One Direction This Is Us Special (Sky1 HD, 6:00pm); and (no ear-covering required for this one) Michael Scott presents Ancient Greece: The Greatest Show on Earth (BBC4, 9:00pm).

Wednesday 28th August

Martin Luther King and the March on Washington

BBC2, 9:00pm

Narrated by Denzel Washington, this one-off documentary marks the 50th anniversary of Martin  Luther King’s historic March on Washington, which was a hugely important moment in the American Civil Rights'Martin Luther King and the March on Washington'- BBC2, 9:00pm Movement.

Through archive footage and interviews with those who were there and even helped organise it, this programme tells the story of the march: how it faced opposition from the JFK administration and the FBI and how it ultimately helped bring about racial equality in the States.

The BBC’s commemoration of this momentous event, and celebration of Luther King in general, continues after March on Washington, as BBC4 are showing MLK: The Assassination Tapes at 10:00pm.

Also today: Footloose (E4, 8:00pm); Nick Hewer is on Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC1, 9:00pm); after less than a week in the house, one famous face must leave as it’s eviction night on Celebrity Big Brother (Channel 5, 9:00pm); see the best of the Fringe with Comedy Festival Live (BBC3, 9:00pm); Jem Stansfield presents Crash Test Dummy: A Smashing History (BBC4, 9:00pm), which does exactly what is says on the tin; and Prisoner: Cell Block H remake Wentworth Prison comes to Channel 5 (10:00pm).

Thursday 29th August

Celebrity Juice

ITV2, 10:00pm

Is the novelty of Keith Lemon wearing off? That’s something I’ve found myself thinking quite often recently. I mean, Sing If You Can and Keith Lemon’s LemonAid weren’t exactly hits for ITV, were they? Keith Lemon: The Film was widely slated, too (I even found myself criticising it with someone who was interviewing me for a job the other week!) and I got very bored of his ‘autobiography’, Being Keith: How I Got ‘Ere If You Don’t Know How I Got ‘Ere after about the tenth page. Is the sight of Northern Businessman of the Year 1993 getting his ‘tallywacker’ out on primetime ITV2 getting old? I would have to say yes.

Still, when he keeps it in his trousers there are still a lot of laughs to be had with Keith, and with his revival of Through the Keyhole to hit our screens soon, it looks like he’s sticking around for a while. Plus, of course, Celebrity Juice is back, which means more comments about Holly Willoughby’s bangers and Fearne Cotton’s nostrils – which she has kindly brought back with her from maternity leave.

So, prepare for morerer laughs, morerer crudeness and morerer Keith – because it seems that you don’t have any choice.

Also today: Monster Moves is back (Channel 5, 7:00pm); documentary series The Railway: First Great Western begins (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Derren Brown: Svengali is repeated (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and one-off documentary The Man Who Ate Himself to Death (Channel 5, 10:00pm), which follows Ricky Naputi in his final few months.

Friday 30th August

Alan Carr: Chatty Man

Channel 4, 10:00pm

It’s not just Leigh Francis who is going to be sticking around for a while – Alan Carr will be too, as Chatty Man begins its eleventh series, and there’s plenty more to come, as it has also been  commissioned well into next year.

With his effortless style and highly-entertaining, silly demeanour, it really is no surprise that Alan'Alan Carr: Chatty Man' - Channel 4, 10:00pm Carr is Channel 4’s golden boy, is it? Earlier this year, he signed a golden handcuffs deal with the channel, which will see him earn £4million and stay with them until at least 2015. I hope they give him more than just Chatty Man and repeats of his stand-up shows, though. I love seeing him chatting to stars on his sofa but how about something a bit…different for him? I mean, he has started a sitcom pilot but, if his chat with Miranda Hart on the Chatty Man Mash-Up is anything to go by, he found that too difficult and has given up. So what about something like The Friday Night Project or Celebrity Ding Dong? He was brilliant on those and I’m sure a similar show to either would prove very popular. For the time being, though, I’m happy to just enjoy him on Chatty Man.

So, who are his first guests of the series? Well, Rizzle Kicks will be performing their annoyingly catchy song, ‘Lost Generation’, and Lee Evans and Keeley Hawes will be dropping by to talk about their West End comedy, Barking in Essex – and there will likely be chat about Lee’s upcoming tour, Monsters, too.

Also today: Construction Squad: Operation Homefront (Channel 5, 8:00pm) begins by looking at the transformation of an old hospital in Newcastle; Mamma Mia! is on ITV2 – again (8:00pm); Big Fat Gyspy Weddings is back (Channel 4, 9:00pm); another housemate gets the boot in Celebrity Big Brother (Channel 5, 9:00pm); horror film Orphan (More4, 9:00pm); Sara Cox and One Direction members Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles and Niall Horan (who also gets so very slightly naked) are on A League of Their Own (Sky1 HD, 9:00pm); documentary Youssou N’Dour: Voice of Africa, profiling the Senegalese musician, is on BBC4 (9:20pm); there are a few laughs with Seann Walsh in his Late Night Comedy Spectacular (BBC3, 10:00pm); and films The Nutty Professor (ITV2) and The Boat That Rocked (ITV) are on at 10:10pm and 10:45pm, respectively.

Are you particularly looking forward to any of these shows or is there something else from the world of TV which you want to have your say about? Feel free to comment below or tweet me –@UKTVReviewer.

Image credits: What Remains – Thanks to BBC and Laurie Sparham, ©BBC; Martin Luther King and the March on Washington – Thanks to BBC, ©NARA/Smoking Dog Films; Alan Carr: Chatty Man – Thanks to Channel 4 and Open Mike Productions.

TV Round-Up: 15 – 21st September 2012

Comedy World Cup – Episode 1.1

The premise for this show really is brilliant: a team of comedians – old and young – answer questions on the world of comedy. That’s everything from stand-up, to the sitcom, to the panel show to really get apparent comedy know-it-alls like myself and the panellists wracking our brains.

Fans of the genre will be all over it – as will David Tennant fans. The trouble is, though, that comedy fans may be left somewhat crestfallen as, considering it’s a show all about the subject, it’s not very funny.

I’m a huge fan of host David Tennant, as well as many of the participants this week: Shappi Khorsandi, Jo Brand, Dave Spikey, Jason Manford and Nicholas Parsons. Paul Chowdhry not so much. However, I don’t think they particularly excelled on Comedy World Cup which was a shame, especially when it came to Dave Spikey – someone who I believe to be one of the most underrated comics on the circuit, sadly living in former friend Peter Kay’s shadow. I actually went to see Dave live in March and found him to be just as good – if not better – than many comics I have seen, whether it be live or onscreen.

It was a watchable show, but not a stand-out one. I suppose some tricky questions blended with vintage – yet hit/miss – clips managed to see it through. Hopefully it won’t rely on this throughout the series, though.

Big Fat Quiz of the 80s

Call me sad, but one of the highlights of the festive season for me is watching the annual Big Fat Quiz of the Year. I always enjoy it! Sometimes I even watch the Big Fat Quizzes from as far back as 2005 and it still tickles me.

The key to the Big Fat Quizzes‘ success is a brilliant panel, usually involving Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand or Noel Fielding and other fantastic comedians. However, although entertaining, I have to say that I’ve seen better panels than the one produced on Big Fat Quiz of the 80s.

The contributors on this episode were comedians Jason Manford, Jonathan Ross, Adam Buxton (…) and Micky Flanagan, alongside actor Stephen Mangan (of Green Wing and Episodes fame) and Loose Woman, Carol Vorderman. I guess they were chosen specifically for their 80s status: Jonathan and Adam both fall into the ‘nerd’ category so are therefore probably fans of 80s retro, Micky was in his twenties in the decade, Carol started in her iconic Countdown role and Jason and Stephen were, I guess, either teenagers or young kids so have some sort of affinity with that time. Nevertheless, as I said, it wasn’t the strongest panel ever.

Fortunately Micky Flanagan didn’t disappoint. It’s refreshing to see a comedian who always laughs if he finds other comics’ jokes funny, unlike some comedians who suppress it, prioritising professional rivalry of simply being genuine. Plus, his Filofax gag was the highlight of the show! I couldn’t possible repeat it here, though…

Big Fat Quiz of the 80s was still funny but not as much as I would have thought. Maybe I had my expectations set too high, due to the standard of previous years’ episodes. Perhaps I just missed the presence of a Brand, Ayoade, Fielding or Walliams to provide absolutely absurd answers throughout.

Tomorrow there’s the 90s quiz and, I’m going to be honest, I’m not holding out much hope for it. If Jack Whitehall wasn’t there, I think I’d be dreading it. I may be pleasantly surprised, though. I hope so.

The Rob Brydon Show – Episode 3.6

What has been a fairly average – yet quite enjoyable – series of The Rob Brydon Show drew to a close this week.

Once again, the audience interaction was great as in this episode, Rob spoke to a man who was born in a toilet. Actually in a toilet. As if the story wasn’t brilliant enough in itself, the host added, “And your mother looked down and said, ‘It’s a wee boy!'” Inspired.

The first, and probably biggest, guest of tonight’s show was Ray Winstone who provided my favourite moment of the entire series when Rob attempted to get him to showcase his ‘softer side’ by getting him to read an excerpt from The Three Little Pigs.

Despite his instruction being to not act tough, nor intimidating, Ray still managed to incorporate this line to a crossed-legged, thumb-sucking Rob:

“Take care that that naughty, naughty, naughty, naughty wolf does not catch you…’cos ‘e’s a f*cker!”

I had to pause the show because I was laughing so much!

It’s a safe bet that The Rob Brydon Show will return for both a Christmas special later in the year and a fourth series next. That’s not a complaint by any means but the show isn’t very experimental, is it? It’s a very ‘safe’ comedy so could run and run without anyone questioning it or calling for changes. So, until the inevitable special, farewell, Rob!

Citizen Khan – Episode 1.4

Now that the whole furore about its alleged political incorrectness seems to have died down, Citizen Khan seems to be going quite unnoticed, just moving along at a consistent pace. Unfortunately, that consistency means that it’s still as unfunny as when it started.

In fact, I so often find myself spending the whole episode cringing on the cast and crew’s behalves. I don’t think it’s offensive or particularly stereotypical – it’s just predictable and of poor quality!

If it wasn’t for the fact that it may be challenging and altering perceptions of the Muslim and Pakistani communities, I doubt it would even have been commissioned!

Celebrity Juice – Episode 8.4

I don’t know about you, but I tend to find that when a new series of Juice starts, it seems that this run is going to be the best ever. Full of fresh ideas and jokes, it looks to be the funniest of them all.

However, a few weeks in, the novelty of having Keith and the gang back wanes a little and, while there are still moments of genuine hilarity, it just isn’t as good as it was a few episodes back. Well, that’s the way I’m starting to feel.

Don’t get me wrong: I still think it’s a brilliantly funny program and stands head-and-shoulders above its contemporaries, but the magic of the first couple of episodes isn’t quite there any more.

Nevertheless, I loved this episode. With chart-topper Example, Capital breakfast show’s Lisa Snowdon, comedian Chris Ramsey and Olympic hero Mo Farrah (or as Keith preferred to call him, MoFo!), while it wasn’t the funniest of the series, it was the most shocking!

The shock came from the Bonk Game – a spoof of the Bong Game, as played on the Capital breakfast show. Whereas in the original Bong Game, callers have to hold their nerve while sums of money gradually increase, and if they call for it to stop before the ‘Bong’ goes, they win that money, Keith’s Bonk Game was nothing like this. Instead, Lisa had to predict how far Keith would go with her on a first date. It started quite civilised, with “LOOKING INTO EACH OTHER’S EYES”, then “CUDDLE”, “PUT MY HAND ON YOUR KNEE”, then it got a bit more risqué with, “TOUCHING BOOB OVER SHIRT”…and then it descended into something else altogether! I stared at the TV open-mouthed and just felt so sorry for Fearne and Holly! Even given the nature of Celebrity Juice, the Bonk Game was shocking – hilarious, but shocking.

Then, there was the first round – LemonHead – in which Keith produced a magazine entitled Le Closerer. On seeing it, everyone leaped to the Duchess of Cambridge’s defence and turned into a pantomime audience, booing and hissing at the mock-up. However, their boos turned to cheers and their hissing to applause when Keith proudly placed the magazine in a shredder! Keith took it even further, though, when he emptied the shreds, spat on them (prompting those present to cheer even more), then picked a handful up and pretended to angrily wipe his backside on them – by which time any cheering had subsided and laughs prevailed.

I’ve already made my views known about the Kate scandal elsewhere, but I will say that to see Keith do this was unexpected. It would have been so easy for him to just mock the Duchess and ridicule her and the story as a whole. The fact that he didn’t is actually quite respectable and solidifies the outrage and disgust we as a nation feel towards the French magazine.

Trollied – Episode 2.5

Trollied – the jewel in Sky’s comedy crown – is fast becoming the highlight of my week and it’s down to two things: brilliant one-liners and Stephanie Beacham.

In fact, a lot of the one-liners I am so fond of do come from Stephanie Beacham’s character: Valco’s foul-mouthed manager, Lorraine. It’s simply inspired that every other word with her is “bastard” – and it’s not becoming tiresome! Every time she does unnecessarily drop it into a sentence, it’s still hilarious! She’s the best thing about Trollied – and that’s some achievement.

The big storyline this week was happy-go-lucky – and slightly dippy – shelf-stacker Leighton turning off all of the freezers in store in order to prevent global warming, thus flooding the frozen food section. This led to Lorraine – who has hated him for a while now anyway, ever since he sold copious bottles of cider to a group of schoolboy…who were dressed in school uniform (his defence was that he “was told they were thirty”) – ordering Julie to fire him immediately.

Valco is Leighton’s life! He was devastated to have been fired for just trying to do good for the environment, and I was devastated to see him go. I really hope he comes back – if he doesn’t, I’ll try to get him a job with me at Argos!

The subplot of Julie trying to emulate Lorraine – both in authority, speech and body language – is excellent, too. Julie and Lorraine are polar-opposites, like chalk and cheese or Alex Reid and Chantelle Houghton. And we all know how it turned out for the latter pair, don’t we? (While we’re on the subject: have you seen Alex’s grovelling video? Oh my God!) Lorraine is a tough, no-nonsense woman, whereas Julie is a soft, flighty girl – it’s just a treat to watch. And long may it continue to be!

Alan Carr: Chatty Man – Episode 9.2

Chatty Man seems to be going from strength-to-strength, appearing to achieve more of an intimate party feel every series. It really is a great ‘Friday night in’ show!

Alan’s monologue at the top of the show remains a favourite with me and this week he had me howling with laughter as he announced:

“An Italian magazine have [sic] printed the pictures of Kate and Wills sunbathing over twenty six pages. If you flick through them really quickly you can see Kate getting browner…and William getting balder!”

After his routine and the low-down on the guests still to come, the comedian welcomed his first guests: the cast of Channel 4 comedy-drama Fresh Meat, including Jack Whitehall (Bad Education) and Joe Thomas (The Inbetweeners).

Seriously, can someone tell me why Joe always has a face like a slapped arse? Even when he and his fellow Inbetweeners presented an award at the BAFTAs last year, he looked so miserable!

Despite Thomas’s grumpiness, though, I did enjoy the interview – particularly a palpably tipsy Jack Whitehall – and listening to the cast share their own university experiences (as Fresh Meat is set in a university) was great. The camaraderie between all of them (well, perhaps except one…) was lovely to see, as they gently mocked each other’s anecdotes.

I also loved seeing Doctor Who star Matt Smith on the show. He’s been on the Chatty Man sofa before and made a welcome reappearance. You could tell he and Alan get on really well, especially when the host shared the “Who’s ‘Matt Smith’?!” story! Someone has uploaded it to YouTube and, although it’s terrible quality, you can see it here – about forty five seconds in.

I was in hysterics when Alan enquired as to where the BBC get the money from to fund Doctor Who. What must go through his mind either when writing questions for Matt, or as an ad-lib during recording, to prompt him to say:

“I thought they were skint! Who’s the BBC been sucking off?”

This week’s was a really enjoyable Chatty Man – as is the norm. However, the singer Example did go down in my estimations: I thought he was unnecessarily rude and bossy towards Alan! He certainly didn’t set a good Example!*

Next week’s guests are Grand Designs‘ Kevin McCloud, The Voice UK‘s Jessie J, songstress Alicia Keys and boyband One Direction! No disrespect to him, but I don’t think anyone’s going to be turning up just to see Kevin McCloud…

*Couldn’t resist

QI – Episode 10.2

Now into its ‘J’ series, the focus of this week’s QI was ‘Jam, Jelly and Juice’.

The first question asked by quizmaster Stephen was, “What begins with ‘J’ and appears to be alive?” An array of answers followed, including:

  • “Me” (Jo Brand)
  • “James Blunt” (Liza Tarbuck)
  • “Jeremy Clarkson” (Sue Perkins)
  • “Jedward” (Sue Perkins)

Both of Sue’s answers received the dreaded klaxon, flashing lights, etc. The answer was strangely jelly, because brainwaves can actually be detected from it. Now that’s more than Quite Interesting!

Speaking of Quite Interesting, we discovered something new about Stephen Fry this week, when he sat in his host’s chair and announced without a hint of irony, “I like titties.” It was most unexpected, as I’m sure you can imagine! What a way to reveal it: on the telly!

Seriously, never have I watched an episode of QI in which there has been more innuendo. ‘Jam, Jelly and Juice’ was absolutely packed with it, much to host Stephen’s apparent disapproval. He got quite stiff about it…

The show ended with – just like last week – a disappointing absence of General Ignorance: one of my highlights of previous series. I don’t know whether it’s because of running time but it was cruelly cut, and wasn’t even present in last week’s QI XL!

General Ignorance’s vanishing act wasn’t the biggest shock this week, though, as Alan Davies somehow managed to summon up a victory with an amazing +11 points! He might not be popular with Liverpool FC fans, but he is with those at QI!

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