Category Archives: Panel Show

‘Was It Something I Said?’ (Channel 4) Review

Hosted by David Mitchell, Was It Something I Said? tests its participants’ verbiage mettle by having them identify the creator of various quotes, taken from sources as varied as tweets, autobiographies and sometimes even their own comedy routines.

There’s been quite a bit of publicity surrounding this new show, with a barrage of trailers and David Mitchell himself appearing on shows such as This Morning and Chatty Man to attract viewers. Was it all worth it? Not quite, but it was far from a bad start.

Let’s be honest, it’s no surprise that Was It Something I Said? was publicised so much. It is, after all, the first panel show in the world to allow viewers to play along at home on Twitter, despite it not being recorded live. As is the trouble with a lot of shows, however, it did lead to a lot of high expectations, and mine weren’t quite met, unfortunately. It was in no way bad – on the contrary it was a confident, promising start – but it didn’t see as many quick quips and off-the-cuff gags which I was led to believe it would.

I’m still expecting great things from Was It Something I Said?, however, as the threesome that is David Mitchell and team captains Micky Flanagan and Richard Ayoade is simply a dream, with all of them bringing something very different to the show. As the host, David brings his authoritative, somewhat deadpan style, Micky delivers his trademark Cockney charm and Richard is…well he’s just a dumbed-down version of his IT Crowd character, isn’t he? I was glad to see that he had brought with him some of his awkwardness, dryness and general objections to what he sees as the unnecessary and trivial things in life, as seen during his appearances on shows such as A League of Their Own and the many Big Fat Quizzes.

One aspect of the show that I was less pleased with, though, was the incorporation of Twitter. Now, yes, I was relieved to see that it wasn’t the prime focus (a couple of mentions by David at the beginning were ample to remind the viewers that the interactive element existed) but it didn’t seem to work very well. I tweeted two answers during the show, one of which I actually managed to get right – thanks to a very lucky guess, I should add. When I logged onto my online scorecard on the Channel 4 website at the end of the show, however, I was greeted by David Mitchell telling me that I’d done badly, and apparently scored a measly 0/1. Obviously it’s only a petty, pretty insignificant, criticism, but it does emphasise the fact that the Twitter element needs some revision.

 

The Twitter incident aside (I wanted that point added onto my score next week, Channel 4!), I did enjoy Was It Something I Said? – albeit not quite as much as I thought I would. I’m sure it’ll be an entertaining series, though.

And you can quote me on that.

Image credits: Thanks to Channel 4, Mark Johnson, Maverick Television and That Mitchell & Webb Company

Was It Something I Said? is on Sundays at 10pm on Channel 4

An extended edition of the show is also on on Friday nights

What did you think of Was It Something I Said? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer.

You can also see what’s coming up on TV in the coming week on this blog, published every Saturday at midnight.

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‘Through the Keyhole’ (ITV) Review

If you despise Keith Lemon, now really is not a time to be staying on to watch the telly. With Celebrity Juice having just begun its eleventh series and his revival of Through the Keyhole landing on ITV tonight, it looks like Leigh Francis’s irrepressible alter-ego is here to stay for quite a while.

Fans of the original series, fronted by the late Sir David Frost until 2008, will have been relieved to see that the format has remained relatively unchanged. Apart from a jazzy new set and edgier presenter, the concept is the same: a celebrity panel watch a VT (‘that stands for video tape’) of a tour around a mystery star’s home, with various clues scattered throughout the video, and attempt to decipher, with the help of the audience, who lives in a house like that. As with the best gameshows, it’s such a simple concept which makes for an entertaining and long-running show.

Stepping into the shoes of Frost and Loyd Grossman, and preparing to make their show “rudererer”, was Celebrity Juice host, Keith Lemon, and answering the question ‘’Oo ‘abitates in an ‘ouse like this’ this week were the usual panel show fodder of Eamonn Holmes, Martine McCutcheon and Through the Keyhole regular, Dave Berry.

QUITE ENJOYABLE’

I expected to dislike this revival. With the ghosts of Sing if You Can and LemonAid still haunting ITV viewers, it would be fair to say that the channel took something of a punt on getting Keith Lemon onboard to host it but it appears that they may just have found the ideal format – outside of ITV2 – for him.

You see the truth is that Through the Keyhole is quite an enjoyable show. For once there’s no prize involved – be it novelty or otherwise – and no scoring system to result in a panellist being crowned that episode’s champion: it’s just a fun little game – albeit one which would be made more enjoyable if we were allowed to play along, and the audience and viewers weren’t given the correct answer so quickly.

Granted, it’s not the 55 minutes of non-stop laughs that ITV might have us believe (as a gameshow, none of the magic has been lost, whereas as a comedy, next-to-no magic has been created) but there is a certain charm to Through the Keyhole which, try as I may, I simply cannot deny. I think I’ve inherited my nosiness from my mam (who, if a neighbour’s house is up for sale, can’t resist going on the estate agent’s website and having a look at their kitchen and bathroom) so I relished seeing how many shoes Louis Smith had, how messy (a somewhat slimmer) John Prescott’s book shelves were, and what was inside Duncan from Blue’s wardrobe. Usually you have to pay for a copy of Hello! magazine for that sort of access – but ITV are generously giving us it for free.

A WISE DECISION’

Keith is also surprisingly palatable as a host. The reason why most people love him on Celebrity Juice is that he can be as rude and crude as he likes – and astonishingly gets away with it – because that’s just the character. He is a very crude person. It also helps that it’s post-10pm ITV2, of course. Conversely, the reason why most people hated him on the aforementioned Sing If You Can and LemonAid is that they were scheduled at such a time on ITV that he just couldn’t get away with saying nearly half of the stuff that he does on Juice and the like. People love Keith when he’s being rude, and ITV have made a very wise decision in putting Keyhole in a post-watershed slot so that, while a few F-words have to be censored, Leigh Francis can get away with saying a bit more than he usually would and therefore comes across as a much better host – or rather the character does.

And for those who will continue to slate Keith as Keyhole’s host (for there will be many), just remember that Sir David Frost, who was at the show’s helm for over twenty years and still partly owns the rights to the format, attended the recording of the revival’s pilot, and gave his blessing for it to go ahead. And be honest: could you possibly argue with David Frost? I mean, it didn’t do Richard Nixon much good, did it?

So I was pleasantly surprised by Through the Keyhole. Whereas Julia Raeside warned Guardian readers, ‘Whatever you do, don’t peer Through the Keyhole,’ I thought it was a very good successor for the original series, and a great way to round off ITV’s (relatively) strong Saturday night line-up.

Through the Keyhole is on Saturday nights on ITV

What did you think of Through the Keyhole? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer.

You can also see what’s coming up on TV in the coming week on this blog, published every Saturday at midnight.

‘I Love My Country’ (BBC1) Review

Hosted by Gabby Logan, and with team captains Frank Skinner and Micky Flanagan, I Love My Country sets out to celebrate everything that makes Britain great by quizzing celebrity guests on subjects ranging from geography to history and popular culture.

THE WORST OF BRITAIN?

Before this show even aired, it had come in for criticism. For some ridiculous reason, Frank Skinner recently had to defend his involvement and make it plain that the show is not an advert for UKIP. There were also allusions to David Walliams – the show’s original host – having had a lucky escape when he left to concentrate on his new sitcom and the Independent’s Adam Sherwin rebuked it, claiming, ‘[I Love My Country] is so thoroughly, idiotically inane, it could well be the worst entertainment offering that the corporation has yet dredged up for the edification of Saturday night viewers.’ Not exactly a glowing review.

Now, I have to admit, I was far too fixated by the Your Face Sounds Familiar final well, Matt Johnson, if I’m honest – to watch I Love My Country when it actually aired. However, among the Twitter users commending Xander Armstrong on his performance as SuBo and urging others to boycott #TwitterSilence, there was a smattering of people demanding to know how the BBC dared squander the licence fee payers’ money on the patriotic rubbish they saw on their screens. Mirror columnist Ian Hyland said that after watching I Love My Country he felt ‘more Irish than ever’ and The Sun’s Colin Robertson tweeted, ‘If anyone ever wondered why David Walliams pulled out of hosting I Love My Country, just turn on BBC1 right now.’

BIT OF A LAUGH

Before you read what I have to say about this show, please let me make it plain that I know I’m in a minority…

I really enjoyed it! When I gave the first episode of Your Face Sounds Familiar a favourable review, at a time when lots of others were branding it the worst  Saturday night show ever made, I said that I’m very wary of the current want to find high-brow, straightforward Saturday night entertainment. Nowadays, people don’t seem to want Splash! or Hole in the Wall. Instead, they’re crying out either for quiz shows such as In It to Win It or gripping dramas, like ITV’s The Americans. But what’s wrong with a bit of weekend fun on the telly? Yes, I Love My Country forces jollity upon its viewers, audience and participants, yes its running-time  should be halved, yes it’s an in-your-face, loud show – but so what? Don’t we need a bit of that? Don’t we need Susanna Reid identifying the theme tune to Challenge Anneka? Don’t we need Frank Skinner identifying Lickey End on a map of the British Isles, aided by a large Yorkshire pudding? I’d argue that we do.

Everyone on I Love My Country is brilliant. As the host, Gabby doesn’t just stand back and oversee proceedings, she gets involved and caught up in the moment, which is great to see – so many presenters nowadays refrain from joining in with the games on their shows, and therefore don’t come across as well as some of the other participants. Thankfully Gabby does, though. Then we have the very well-matched Frank Skinner and Micky Flanagan: they have a similar style, allowing them to bounce off each other throughout the programme. It also helps that they are presumably friends: for years, Frank has been saying in interviews that Micky is his favourite circuit performer – and was doing so at a time before the comic’s analyses of the intricacies of ‘out out’ and ‘the Cockney walk’ had entered the mainstream. Who’d have thought Jamelia would be a valuable asset to the show, as well? A favourite on programmes such as 8 Out of 10 Cats and Would I Lie to You?, Jamelia not only heads up the I Love My Country house band but also makes her mark on the show by interjecting during rounds, responding to something which one of the panellists has said and even bantering with Frank.

The guest panellists seem only to be there to exhibit their knowledge of Britain and its customs, and to provide Frank and Micky with opportunities to gently mock them. Casualty’s Charlotte Salt came in for a particular ribbing in the opening episode, with puns aplenty being made about her surname.

 

So I thought I Love My Country was fun and enjoyable. Those involved knew what sort of show they wanted to make and they succeeded with it, in my opinion. It was funny, it celebrated some of our British traditions and had all of the unabashed frivolity of a bloody good Saturday night vehicle. I think we can all agree that Frank Skinner and Gabby Logan should stop dancing though, right?

Images courtesy of BBC and Avalon. © Avalon

I Love My Country is on Saturdays at 7:30pm on BBC1

What did you think of I Love My Country? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer.

You can also see my recommendations for the coming week’s TV on this blog, published every Saturday at midnight.

‘Jo Brand’s Great Wall of Comedy’ (GOLD) Review

After endless trails across the UKTV network, Jo Brand’s Great Wall of Comedy finally began on Sunday and appeared to be in a similar vain to Channel 4’s Comedy World Cup, just with fewer participants, questions and, dare I say it, laughs.

A FEW LAUGHS’

The panellists (who had swapped panels for sofas) did raise a few laughs but they were too sparse. I know that the team captains, Barry Cryer and Rebecca Front, are more than qualified to answer questions on comedy, which is basically what, as its title suggests, Great Wall of Comedy is all about. After all, Barry Cryer has written for a plethora of comedy legends: Frankie Howerd, Tommy Cooper, Kenny Everett, Morecambe & Wise, The Two Ronnies – the list goes on and on – while Rebecca is seldom absent from a sitcom nowadays, whether its Psychobitches, Grandma’s House, Nighty Night or, more notably, The Thick of It. What I’m saying is that both are definitely big names in British comedy. However, I’d like to have seen a more contemporary comedian accompanying them on the show. Rebecca often offered humorous witticisms but it was mainly left to the others – Hugh Dennis, (soon to be Sir) Tony Robinson, Barry and host Jo – to keep the jokes going, primarily through anecdotes from their time in sitcoms. Plus, it did make me cringe slightly when watching Tony and Barry, 66 and 78, respectively, crack jokes about popular culture and The Only Way is Essex. I’ll never get over hearing Barry Cryer utter the word’ vajazzle’!

GREAT ANECDOTES’

There were some laughs to be had in the show, however, and, as I said, most of those came from the great, and hitherto unheard, anecdotes from sitcom stars such as Lesley Joseph, Andrew Sachs and Shaun ‘Barry off EastEnders’ Williamson (whose dancing with Stephen Merchant in previously unseen footage from Extras was brilliant). For comedy fans like myself (and I’m sure every other viewer of GOLD) it was great to be privy to these behind-the-scenes stories – some we’d heard, and some he hadn’t.

The questions, while kept to a minimum, tested the knowledge of not just those on the show but the viewers, too. I’m ashamed that I got a question about Fawlty Towers wrong but can take solace in the fact that neither of the teams answered it correctly, either. In fact, neither did they when asked questions about Birds of a Feather and Extras.

MIRANDA NEED NOT WORRY…

Now in one of the rounds in Great Wall of Comedy, the panellists were asked to pitch ideas for sitcoms, so I decided to join in and create five myself – and if you think these are bad, I daren’t tell you what Rebecca, Hugh, Tony and Barry offered!

All Gas and Waiters

A sitcom about someone waiting for an npower representative to arrive at their house.

Father Teddy

A sitcom about the patriarch in Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

The Nicker of Dibley

A sitcom about a thief in a fictional Oxfordshire village.

Early Whores

A sitcom about prostitutes with bad timekeeping skills.

The Wright Way

A sitcom that shows that Ben Elton is no longer funny.

 

Great Wall of Comedy seems to be at home on GOLD. It doesn’t provide the huge belly laughs to warrant it being broadcast on a terrestrial channel (but then again, neither did the latter sitcom in my list!) but is ideal for comedy fans and can be quite interesting – although I’m sure there’s already a panel show which fits that description.

Jo Brand’s Great Wall of Comedy is on Sundays at 7:30pm on GOLD

What did you think of Jo Brand’s Great Wall of Comedy? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show – @UKTVReviewer.

You can also see my recommendations for the coming week’s TV on this blog, published every Saturday at midnight.

‘Celebrity Juice’ – Episode 8.2

Celebrity Juice is one of those shows which is quite difficult to review. Just like The Rob Brydon Show and Mount Pleasant, it’s best just to sit back and enjoy it, not be analytical and pick out everything in it – good or bad.

‘NON-STOP HILARITY’

I thought last week’s episode was great, but this was even better! TOWIE‘s Arg, The Inbetweeners‘ Charlotte Hinchcliff (actress Emily Atack), singer Newton Faulkner and comedian Jason Manford joined in the fun this week and there were many, many highlights for me. Almost from start-to-finish it was non-stop hilarity, so I’ve simply picked out three of my best bits from this week’s episode:

Keith Calling Fearne a “Fat Bastard”

When I write it, it doesn’t seem funny. However, when you watch Keith Lemon telling the pregnant Fearne Cotton, “Tell us who’s on your team, you fat bastard”, it’s very, very funny. Believe me. It is.

“Serious Learning Difficulties”

Relax – I’m not going to repeat a Frankie Boyle set! Keith, who – clearly much to the frustration of stars like Amy Childs and Joey Essex – claims that TOWIE is wholly scripted (despite him painfully obviously knowing that it’s not). He pulled the whole ‘TOWIE‘s scripted’ trick with Arg on Celebrity Juice this week who – just like his co-stars – defended that it’s not, which then prompted Keith to say that Arg “plays someone who has serious learning difficulties”. It was so unexpected but brilliantly funny. The good thing about Essex stars is that they don’t mind taking the Mick out of themselves so, thankfully, Arg clearly found this funny, too. Phew!

Will.i.am

However, my highlight by far this week was Jason Manford’s absolutely excellent ad-lib when the panellists were discussing will.i.am and Cheryl Cole’s recent collision. Then, the subject of The Voice UK was brought up – which was hosted by Juice team captain Holly Willoughby. Jason didn’t miss a trick when he piped up with

“Well it’s not the first car crash he’s been involved in.”

Seriously, if you didn’t see it, check it out here – it’s about 13 mins 25 secs in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm3oYnAkBe0

 

So there we have it – another great week of Juice. It really does make you wonder how the same man responsible for this could have created that Keith Lemon: The Film

 

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer

Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

‘Celebrity Juice’ – Episode 8.1

The ever popular Celebrity Juice returned to ITV2 last night after a hiatus of a mere four or five months.

HOLLY WILLOUGHBY: SEX GODDESS

Firstly, it was finally great to see new opening titles, in which Rufus Hound is no longer mentioned after he quit mid-series seven. I found it hilarious that team captain Fearne Cotton’s pregnancy was brought up in the titles, with Keith quipping, “There’s Fearne Cotton, who is pregnant [loud laughter] – how did that ‘appen?” It immediately assured me, and I’m sure many other Juice viewers that just because she’s pregnant, it doesn’t mean Keith won’t continue to mercilessly mock Fearne.
Likewise, the introductions by Keith of the panellists – both regular and otherwise – were as funny as ever, as was the choice to surprise Holly by showing an advert which she made early in her career as an underwear model, in which she growled, “I’m a sex goddess!” Holly cringing and her peers’ utter bewilderment was just so entertaining! I bet her husband Dan – executive producer on the show – will have got it in the neck for that!
In fact, the showing of this ad led to Kelly Brook allowing Keith to make my favourite ad-lib of the whole episode when she asked him:

“Why are you so obsessed with boobs?”

To which he replied:

“Listen, if men weren’t obsessed with them, you’d be working at fucking Dixons!”

KEITH LEMON: NOT A SEX GOD

However, it didn’t take long for Keith to grab the opportunity to get his kit off and send-up the Prince Harry in Las Vegas story.
Is the sight of him flashing his penis still funny? I don’t think so. I adore Celebrity Juice and I first remember Keith getting fully naked at the beginning of the third series, which was hilarious – so unexpected! From then on, however, it just became mandatory for Leigh Francis to get his “tallywhacker” out in the name of entertainment. It’s happening episode, after episode, after episode and the joke has worn thin somewhat. Has anyone noticed that Keith uses the phrases “bang tidy”, “mot, mot, mot”, etc. less often now? The reason for this? He presumably didn’t want them to become overused and for people to be sick of them. Therefore, people still say these things because they aren’t said over and over by Keith any more, so the audiences haven’t become bored of them and subsequently still find them funny, so use them everyday, often not even thinking that they were first coined by Keith. Why, then, hasn’t Francis woken up, smelt the coffee and realised that no longer is his alter-ego’s nudity fresh and funny, it’s now tired and tedious.

LEMON HAS INDEED BEEN SQUEEZED

Unfortunately, I went to see Keith Lemon: The Film yesterday, too. I don’t know if you read my Lemon La Vida Loca Episode 1.1 review but I said in it that with all of the work Leigh Francis is doing at the moment relating to Keith Lemon, I hope he can keep it new, original and – most importantly of all – very funny. If Keith Lemon: The Film is anything to go by, he hasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it was quite amusing and there were strong points (like Keith singing ‘When The Going Gets Tough’ to a gang mugging him) but it certainly didn’t touch the genius which I know deep down he possesses and which is evident in his previous shows. Actually, it seemed more of an opportunity to boast – “Look how many celebrities I can get into my movie!” and “Do you remember when I impersonated Mel B? I’ve dug the mask and costume back out!”
Plus, if Twitter is to be believed, Alex Zane is not one of those celebrity friends any longer. It really is worth looking at @LeighFrancis’s tweets from five or six days days ago: he pulls no punches with Zane!

But anyway, this is a Celebrity Juice review, not a Keith Lemon: The Film one and thankfully I still really like Juice…I just hope Keith keeps it in his pants, that’s all.

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer

Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

‘Vic & Bob’s Lucky Sexy Winners’ – Pilot

After the BBC’s ludicrous axing of Shooting Stars, it’s no wonder its creators Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer grabbed the opportunity to hop back to Channel 4…and basically recreate it under another name. Not that that’s any criticism, however – it was great!

‘IT’S HIGH TIME WE SAW IT COME BACK IN SOME FORM OR ANOTHER’

The similarities were obvious: Walter Hottle Bottle making a return, a quite basic set, opening dance routine and Dan Skinner – although this time not in his guise as Angelos Epithemiou (which was wise – he’s moved on, it would be silly to make him return to his roots). However, like I said – these likenesses are no bad thing. I think nearly all Shooting Stars fans would agree that it’s high time we saw it come back in some form or another.

‘ABSURD YET INGENIOUS QUESTIONS’

Admittedly, the banter with team captains Ulrika(kakaka) Jonsson and Jack Dee and score keeper Angelos is a miss as it made up a lot of the humour on Shooting Stars but its absence wasn’t the end of the world: we still have the absurd yet ingenious questions, exactly what we’d expect from Vic and Bob. If you need any proof of how absolutely nonsensical and random the duo can be, look no further than Bob asking actor Thomas Turgoose to introduce himself:

“State your name, your occupation and the percentage of your day you spend in Morrison’s waiting for the hot chickens to be reduced in price”

Now, I love writing comedy but know for a fact that – if I’d had the wit to create this joke in the first place – I would have stopped it at “Morrison’s” and still sit back and think, ‘That’s a great gag’. Not Vic and Bob, though! Oh no – they think beyond the obvious and have the ability to turn a simple joke like the one I would have written to the quoted one. I really have a lot to learn!

AND FINALLY…

My only qualm would be that the ‘End Game’ was missing, therefore making Eddie Izzard’s win at the end, and then the subsequent presentation of his prize a little bit shoehorned in. It just didn’t feel right without a final game to round off the show.

Nevertheless, I still maintain that Lucky Sexy Winners (what a great title) is a good replacement for Shooting Stars and fans will agree too, I’m sure. It still doesn’t excuse the fact that the BBC axed it, though.

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer

Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

‘Mad Mad World’ – Episode 1.7

It’s finally been and gone – the first (and I think it’s safe to say only) series of Mad Mad World. My previous reviews have been quite uncomplimentary and this one isn’t much better, despite me deciding that this was probably the strongest episode of the series…although that isn’t necessarily something to be proud of. The first round of tonight’s show was described by host Paddy McGuinness as the round “Where we dip our TV nuggets into a sweet-and-sour sauce of top telly.” It’s a shame that this series was mainly “sour” and most certainly was not “top telly”.

‘A SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS’

I’m going to put my neck on the line and say that if you were in the audience of Mad Mad World, it may be at least have been an amusing experience but unfortunately I just didn’t feel that that was conveyed well to the viewers at home (yes, you read right: rightly or wrongly, I used the word “viewers”. Plural.). It really was a sad state of affairs when team captain Rufus Hound actually felt the need to start a chant of his own name after a pretty lame Celine Dione joke. On a more positive note, Rufus’s new film The Wedding Video is released on Friday and it looks quite funny (also starring Peep Show‘s Robert Webb and Vexed‘s original female star Lucy Punch). Fingers crossed the film manages to divert fans’ attentions away from Mad Mad World, although I think anything would do that right now – if fans even paid attention to it in the first place, that is! However, I did say that this was probably my favourite episode from the series and, for me, the reason can be summed up in two words: Louie Spence.

AT LAST! THERE’S A HIGHLIGHT!

Yes, unsurprisingly it was Spence who salvaged this sinking ship this week…and that’s not easy for him to say (he struggled with “Mississippi”!). Louie, refreshingly, isn’t scared to mock himself or to allow others to do it for him and his camp humour is always a winner with most of the British public. Part of this campiness, of course, is his inability to remain seated for more than two minutes. Regardless of which show he is on – be it 8 Out of 10 Cats, The Jonathan Ross Show or even Would I Lie To You?, he has to get up and expose his arson (no pun intended) of impressive dance moves…and tonight’s Mad Mad World was no exception for he had no hesitations about getting up on his feet and showing Dancing With The Stars flop David Hasselhoff how it’s done. And how it was funny to see ‘The Hoff’ being hassled to copy Louie’s thrusts and gyrations! Along with the America’s Got Talent clip (in which an auditionee – also strutting his stuff – tumbled from the stage in front of a shocked Sharon Osbourne, Piers Morgan and…the other guy), this was my highlight of this week’s episode!

AND FINALLY…

So, there we go – ITV must have been in a Mad Mad World of their own for commissioning it but Mad Mad World has come to an end and I hate to point out another blunder in the show but I feel duty bound to do so. A slight inaccuracy from McGuinness this week when announcing the scores: “Rufus’s team are going down under while Rhys’s team are merely going down.” In fact, Paddy, I think you’ll find that everyone involved in Mad Mad World is “going down”…to the job centre as after seeing this show, I doubt any producer will ever employ them again! Now, out of respect for everyone on the show – both in front of the camera and behind it – let’s never mention this series again.

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer

‘Mad Mad World’ – Episode 1.6

Last week I wrote my first – and admittedly quite uncomplimentary – review of Paddy McGuinness’s new venture, Mad Mad Word (I can only imagine the title came from what host Paddy uttered when he found out it been commissioned).

THE GUEST LIST

I also expressed my concern about the poor guest bookings on the series but this week, however, I began watching without much worry for joining regulars Paddy, Rufus Hound, Rhys Darby and Rob Rouse in this edition were TV favourite Eamonn Holmes, the ever-popular Stacey Solomon and comedian Stephen K Amos. Eamonn often takes a while to fully ‘get into the swing of things’ on such shows – but does eventually and Stacey Solomon is always entertaining, I find (her prudery and embarrassment about all things rude on other shows such as Celebrity Juice and last year’s criminally over-looked Sky1 panel show Wall of Fame are priceless). I tend not to find Stephen K Amos (who for some reason is having his autobiography published this year…) brilliantly funny but I will admit he has his moments. In summary, the guest list this week made the show seem promising and perhaps even be the best episode of the series yet. Did it deliver? No. Not at all.

ROLL VT – THAT STANDS FOR VERY TEDIOUS

As with all comedy panel shows which integrate video clips, around 95% of the hilarity should come from the contributors in the studio and the remaining 5% can simply be drawn from those clips. However, in Mad Mad World, only 5% is from the panellists and 95% is from the clips…and to call it hilarity would be such an overstatement I don’t think I would ever be allowed to write reviews again! Nevertheless, the stars of the show are undoubtedly the clips shown (at least they’re extracting humour from somewhere!). Last week, my highlight was most definitely the Japanese ‘I have a bad case of diarrhoea’ VT (if you still haven’t looked that up on YouTube, I urge you to do it – it isn’t half as bad as it sounds!) but this week even the clips didn’t really manage to salvage the show as we saw a bonkers Aussie impersonating a vicious dog during a news interview and an eco-warrior from Prague attacking someone in the park with dog faeces. He might as well have saved himself the bother and just thrown a tape of Mad Mad World – the effect would have been the same!

SAVIOUR SOLOMON

So, why do I persist in joining Paddy and co. every Saturday night when I could be watching something far better? I was asking myself pretty much the same thing tonight. The only answer I can think of is that I tune in every week in the vain hope that we might be presented with a guest who actually injects some genuine amusement into the proceedings. Joe Swash came pretty close last week (I think it’s fair to say that he’s up there with unlikely contender Martin Kemp as the best booking of the series) and if I had to pick someone, I would say Stacey Solomon was the funniest panellist this week as Paddy McGuinness asked her “What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever drunk?” and she replied “Don’t really like full-fat milk…”. And THAT is why the nation loves Stacey.

MAD MAD WISH

I find myself spending the whole forty minutes of each episode wishing it to improve but when the credits role and the closing music kicks in (which wasn’t even accompanied by applause from the studio audience this week, I noticed – ITV must have ran out of money to bribe them with), I merely feel disappointed and think, ‘Oh…it didn’t improve.’ That’s the problem and that’s why I get quite frustrated with this programme – every week there is at least one guest who has the potential to steal the show and make valuable, memorable contributions but they never seem to shine! I’m sure the show could be a Saturday night hit for ITV but it’s nowhere near at the moment and it has just thrown away its opportunity to do that, unless the channel take the plunge and recommission it for a second series, which I think looks quite unlikely at the moment.

BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME?

Anyway, it’s the last episode next week and the line-up looks quite good – David ‘The Hoff’ Hasselhoff, Coleen Nolan (who I don’t think I’ve ever seen on a comedy panel show before but if she’s anything like she was on Loose Women and This Morning, she should be fine) and the irrepressible Louie Spence are the guests. With that trio, it should be a good one…although that’s what I thought this week…

‘Mad Mad World’ Review – Episode 1.5

This week, fledgling ITV1 panel show Mad Mad World limped into its fifth episode. The series kicked off just over a month ago with pretty much universally negative reviews – some disliked it, the rest didn’t watch it. I was one of those who disliked it but I think it’s safe to say that it’s gradually improving…but only very gradually.

 

TARRANT ON TV TEAMED WITH CELEBRITY JUICE’

 

I think the premise of the show is quite good – it’s like Tarrant On TV teamed with Celebrity Juice, with various bizarre clips being shown from TV shows around the world for a host of star guests and comedians to pass comment and answer questions on. Why then, why isn’t it more entertaining to watch?

 

WRONG REGULARS?

 

The rounds are fine. The clips are fine. The questions are fine – they give the contributors plenty of leeway to make jokes – but there lies the problem: the contributors. Paddy McGuinness is a great performer (Take Me Out wouldn’t be half the success it is without him) and can hold an audience as a stand-up. However, for some reason he’s just not up-to-par here. He seems to be misjudging his role as a panel show host and to wise-up, he need look no further than Rob Brydon who, on Would I Lie To You?, is brilliant – he gets involved with the game and makes observations himself without diverting the audience’s attention from the panellists so that we always know he’s there but he never dominates. I genuinely think that if Paddy took a leaf out of his fellow comedian’s book, he could make Mad Mad World a lot better.

And then, we come to Rufus Hound. Oh Rufus! Please, Rufus! Just go back to Celebrity Juice with your tail between your legs, say sorry to Mr. Lemon and then you may get your career back on track! You see, on Mad Mad World, he’s just not really funny. Sure, he comes close to being funny but no one’s going to want to watch someone who’s nearly funny, are they? He really needs to up his game if he wants to be remembered as anything more than ‘Rufus from Celebrity Juice’.

On the upside, there’s also team captain Rhys Darby and regular panellist Rob Rouse, both of whom are coming into their own and making good, memorable and – most importantly – funny observations so are the two people who are keeping this show afloat at the moment.

 

BORING BAKER

 

This week, Kimberly Wyatt and Charlie Baker joined Rhys Darby his team. Were they the best choices? Let’s see: Kimberly seemed to be doing a sponsored silence throughout the programme, and Charlie Baker offered no more than a mere couple of witticisms which were met with polite titters from the audience and panellists. It’s such a shame! Seeing Baker used to bring back memories of a brilliant episode of Channel 4’s The IT Crowd (Jen the Fredo, in case you’re interested) but now it just brings back nightmares of his recent stint as a team captain on A Short History of Everything Else (also Channel 4). A Short History seemed – quite justifiably – to come and go without many people noticing and is likely never to be resurrected, probably much to the relief of everyone involved. He didn’t make an impression on A Short History, neither did he on Mad Mad World and I think it’s safe to say he isn’t looking to be a panel-show icon!

 

SWASH THE SAVIOUR

 

The one saving grace in this week’s Mad Mad World was Joe Swash, who provided some brilliant moments and appeared to find a niche in the show – humour.

For example, his performance in the ‘Lost in Translation’ round (which is strangely reminiscent of Mock the Week) was hilarious. I barely recognised his voice, so deep did it sound. It really proved that with just a little bit of effort, he can sound less like a masculine Joe Pasquale and more like Gyles Brandreth.

His one-liners were inspired, too. Such beauties included “Old people die, don’t they?” and – my personal favourite, “Cats take the piss.”

His hugely funny appearance on this week’s Mad Mad World just makes you think – why hasn’t another panel show snapped him up as a regular? He’s given equally brilliant appearances previously on Celebrity Juice and was very popular on Britain Unzipped earlier this year.

Maybe Joe should replace Rufus Hound?

The Mad Mad World QUOTE OF THE WEEK is possibly the catchiest song ever on TV. If you didn’t see it, just type the following into YouTube:

“I have a bad case of diarrhoea.”