Category Archives: ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’

‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’ (ITV) Review

ITV’s much-publicised Your Face Sounds Familiar began on Saturday night. It’s a simple format: six celebrities each week take to the stage as a different music legend, the identity of which is chosen by the Randomiser (or ‘Ramdoniser’, as Paddy accidentally called it), all in the hope of accumulating enough votes from the judges, their fellow performers and the viewers at home (during a six minute-long phone vote) to be crowned that night’s winner and therefore win £10,000 for their chosen charity. Then the following week they do it all again – only as different people and with a different guest judge.


Every part of me is telling me that I shouldn’t like Your Face Sounds Familiar. I really want to write it off as the epitome of car-crash TV, just as I did with Splash! in January. I can’t, though, because I actually enjoyed it. I mean let’s face it, it’s just a bit of Saturday night frivolous fun – Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes on a larger scale.

Absolutely everything about it was typical of an ITV Saturday night offering. The set was bright and  loud, the format was interactive and an excitable audience filled the studio. Is the fact that it is an archetype of primetime ITV such a bad thing, though? My problem with Splash! was that it was boring – we waited ten minutes to see a ten second belly flop. Your Face Sounds Familiar on the other hand is far from boring. It is in fact very entertaining and quite plainly does not take itself remotely seriously. Plus, as Rob Brydon’s much-overlooked creation Keith Barret used to say, it’s just a bit of fun! Why are audiences always looking for sophistication and class when it comes to entertainment shows? Most people don’t treat sitcoms like that – I can enjoy Mrs Brown’s Boys just as much as The Office, and find Miranda as funny as The Royle Family. Whether it’s garish or subtle, surely the most important thing is that it’s funny? And it’s exactly the same with entertainment shows: if it can get people’s bums on seats and brighten up their living rooms, who cares if they have Matt from This Morning rocking out as Jon Bon Jovi, or Julian Clary making a joke about pubic hair?


One person who did take the show seriously, however, was guest judge Donny Osmond, who passed critique in such a way that I believe he thought he was on The Voice. And by that I mean he knew that it wasn’t as important as X Factor but liked to think it was. Hopefully next week’s guest judge won’t be a earnest.

Apart from Donny’s sincerity, only one thing annoyed me about Your Face Sounds Familiar: the appearance of ‘#Randomiser’ on the screen. Seriously, when will ITV learn that Twitter users do not need to be told which hashtags to use? People were taking to Twitter to voice their opinions and, judging from their harsh summaries, #Rubbish, #WorstShowEver and #MightPutInItToWinItOnInstead would have been more apt than a tag about a (let’s face it) unimpressive selection device!

To the performers now, though, and we were treated to a splendid plethora of stars to impersonate legends such as Springfield, Turner and Cash. There wasn’t one performance which I didn’t enjoy – I  thought Alexander Armstrong was excellent as the aforementioned Johnny Cash, although I was surprised that he agreed to take part (then again, he used to regularly appear as a naked vet in his Channel 4 sketch show, so he was likely unfazed by the potential embarrassment of Your Face Sounds Familiar). I also thought EastEnders and The Spa’s resident Bergita, Cheryl Fergison, delivered a lovely performance and, while she resembled Edna Turnblad more than Dusty Springfield, she brought a touch of class to the proceedings. My favourite performance of the night by far, though, was Bobby Davro as Tom Jones. The impression was spot on and he even looked a little like him! I just thought it was so funny.

So, unlike many I did enjoy Your Face Sounds Familiar (or, as my dad thought it was called, Your Face Rings a Bell). If there’s one thing I would change, though (apart from the irritating #Randomiser) it would be the voting system. People just aren’t likely to be picking their phones up in their droves, are they? No one’s getting booted out and, although the charities are all very worthy of the money, it doesn’t mean anything to the show, does it? We’re seeing the same celebrities week in, week out (albeit as different people) so it might mean that their charity becomes £10,000 better off but it’s not going to affect the following week’s line-up. So maybe either the phone vote/charity donation system should have been scrapped, allowing us to see different celebrities each week, or the performer with the most votes should have joined a new line-up the following Saturday, meaning that there would actually be some weight to the ‘competition’. Actually, on second thoughts, perhaps that was the original plan but the producers couldn’t find enough willing celebrities to fill six weeks…

Your Face Sounds Familiar will be on Saturdays at 7:30pm on ITV

What did you think of Your Face Sounds Familiar? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Feel free to 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.


TV Highlights (29th June – 5th July)

Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – from warbling celebrities to Haiti, guide dogs and supermarkets. Don’t say I don’t vary my posts!

Saturday 29th June

Your Face Sounds Familiar

ITV, 7:30pm

This brand new star-studded and much-plugged show from ITV appears to simply be Celebrity Stars In Their Eyes under a different name – except with Your Face Sounds Familiar we will be seeing the same celebrities week after week.

I’m really looking forward to it. Don’t get me wrong, part of me can’t shake off the feeling that this will belly flop like Splash! and be in for a similarly ceaseless mauling by the press. Then again, Splash! got a second series so perhaps mirroring it may not be such a bad thing. Like I said though, it’s only a small part of me that harbours that thought – the rest of me can’t wait to sit and watch a show which, as is a growing trend nowadays, isn’t taking itself too seriously.

Every week, six celebrities including Pointless’ Alexander Armstrong, comedian Bobby Davro, EastEnders and The Spa star Cheryl Fergison, Olympian Denise Lewis, This Morning’s Hub hunk Matt Johnson and Emmerdale’s Natalie Anderson will perform as a variety of music legends, all vying for the public’s votes to keep them at the top of the leaderboard. However, the twist is that they will have no say in who they will be taking to the stage as: that will be decided by the show’s dreaded Randomizer.

Now, it would be very easy to sit and say, ‘Well if on one’s going to be voted off, dancing to the Rumba or gnawing through a kangaroo’s vagina, why should I pay good money to call in?’ And you’d be absolutely right to think that but the reason for the phone vote is that each celebrity has a chosen charity, to which all of the money from their votes will go. And I must admit that they are all extremely worthy organisations which help children, cancer sufferers and people with mental health issues. The participants’ respective charities will be mentioned during the show but, to find out more about them, visit the Your Face Sounds Familiar website.

We will also see change on Your Face Sounds Familiar as a different judge will be joining regulars Emma Bunton and Julian Clary (who will no doubt have something to say about Alexander  Armstrong’s performance of ‘Ring of Fire’ on Saturday). This week, the guest judge is none other than Donny Osmond. Another possible change is the presenting team because, with Paddy McGuiness’s wife Christine due to give birth at any time, he has vowed to leave the show – on- or off-air – if necessary. If that happens, Catchphrase host Stephen Mulhern will step into his shoes, although he has stated that he would be reworking the script for himself and removing any ‘Paddyisms’ – “If they can’t hit the note, don’t bother to vote”, and the like.

Of course there’ll be the snooty critics who refuse to join in with the merriment and frivolity which Your Face Sounds Familiar is bound to offer up but I think it’ll be a laugh. I mean let’s face it: it can’t be any worse than Paddy’s last effort, Paddy’s TV Guide – which Channel 4 are bravely giving a repeat run from 12:50am.

Also today: Stan and Jack find work at a holiday camp in film Holiday on the Buses (ITV, 1:20pm); Casualty’s Patrick Robinson and BBOTS’ Rylan Clark kick off a new series of All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 8:45pm); and Al Pacino and Helen Mirren star in Phil Spector, a drama about the famed music producer’s murder trial (Sky Atlantic, 9:00pm).

Sunday 30th June

Michael Bublé’s Day Off

ITV, 9:00pm

For this special one-off documentary, singer Michael Bublé has taken a Ferris Bueller-style day off from his hectic work life to return to his home town of Vancouver and spend some time with his family and friends, before heading off to surprise everyone at his school reunion.

During the programme, we will see Michael meet up with friends and family at his local McDonalds (a favourite haunt of his grandpa), where he shows them scans of his baby, and hear his sisters share embarrassing anecdotes about their brother. Then Michael anxiously heads off to the reunion and meets up with old friends who he has not seen for two decades.

The Canadian crooner will also be treating us to some music as he performs classics such as ‘Young at Heart’, ‘World on a String’ and his hit, the aptly named ‘Home’.

Also today: George Clooney and Meryl Streep lend their voices to Fantastic Mr Fox (Channel 4, 4:55pm); Jenny Eclair, Matthew Wolfenden and, unbelievably, Coolio take part in Tipping Point: Lucky Stars (ITV, 7:00pm); Top Gear is back (BBC2, 8:00pm); Louis Smith and Mark Wright take on The Cube (ITV, 8:00pm) as the new series begins; Lincoln Castle is in the spotlight for a Time Team Special (Channel 4, 8:00pm); documentary film Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 (Sky1, 8:00pm); and I find him unfunny and to have a voice which is akin to fingernails scraping a blackboard but some may want to watch Rich Hall present You Can Go to Hell, I’m Going to Texas (BBC4, 9:00pm).

Monday 1st July

Coming Up

Channel 4, 11:05pm

Despite running for twelve years, a lot of people will be unfamiliar with Coming Up – Channel 4’s showcase for up and coming writing talent.

If you are someone who has never watched Coming Up before, I urge you to do so. Of course there are some weak episodes but most are simply engaging and beautifully filmed dramas. Last year, for example, we had Tom Wells’s funny and moving Ben and Lump, as well as Laurence Marshall’s thought-provoking Postcode Lottery.

This year seems to be just as strong as previous years as, over the next seven weeks, emerging writers will be telling stories of broken dreams, tumultuous relationships, the pain of conflict and much more. A host of the country’s top acting talent will be taking part, too: Celia Imrie, Una Stubbs and Getting On stars Jo Scanlan and Ricky Grover will be appearing across the series.

Tonight’s opening episode features Phoebe Waller-Bridge (The Cafe) as Karen: a woman whose love for her two-year-old son is such that she believes he would have a better life without her. Pressured, she makes a hugely important decision but is offered a glimmer of hope due to the kindness of a complete stranger.

Also today: The Specials, following the lives of special constables, begins (BBC1, 11:00am); Dancing on Ice judge Ashley Roberts joins hosts Gino D’Acampo and Melanie Sykes as the first guest on the new series of the ever-fun Let’s Do Lunch (ITV, 12:30pm); listeners to Scott Mills’s Radio 1 show will be familiar with the name Dick Strawbridge – and he’s back with a new series of The Hungry Sailors (ITV, 2:00pm); Undercover Boss is back (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Channel 5’s obsession with the Traveller community continues with The Town the Travellers Took Over (9:00pm); more wacky shows are uncovered in Daisy Donovan’s gripping The Greatest Shows on Earth (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and the final series of Skins begins (E4, 10:00pm).

Tuesday 2nd July

A Very British Appeal: 50 Years of the Disasters Emergency Committee

ITV, 10:35pm

In this moving documentary, ITV News correspondent Rageh Omaar celebrates the Disaster Emergency Committee – a group of 14 charities which, for the last half a century, have raised billions of pounds to help people in other countries get through the horrors of disasters and starvation.

Three years ago, around 22,000 people were victims of the Haiti earthquake – the most deadly of modern times. Rageh visits the country and sees how the incredible £107 million pounds we as a country kindly donated has helped the people there.

With Age UK, Christian Aid and Oxfam just some of the charities involved, the DEC is vital to relieving suffering across the world. It is them, and the British public’s generosity, which is celebrated in this film.

Also today: Gok Wan gives two women a new seasonal look in Gok Live: Stripping for Summer (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Cherry Healey’s Property Virgins (BBC3, 8:00pm); Idris Elba is back for more Luther (BBC1, 9:00pm); comedy-drama series Starlings, led by an all-star cast, returns to Sky1 (9:00pm); Sheridan Smith is back as Jenny in Dates (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and romantic epic Cold Mountain is on BBC2 at 11:20pm.

Wednesday 3rd July

Me and My Guide Dog

ITV, 8:00pm

ITV have been granted exclusive access to The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, which has been running for 80 years, to create this one-off documentary, narrated by For the Love of Dogs presenter and animal lover, Paul O’Grady.

Me and My Guide Dog meets a variety of people who rely on their dogs in their day-to-day lives. We will hear the inspirational story of Steve Cunningham – a racing car driver and the world’s fastest blind man – and the heart-warming tale of Mark and Claire, whose guide dogs’ romance sparked one of their own and has led to their engagement.

Guide dogs make such a huge difference to a blind person’s life, as this documentary attests, and Paul O’Grady is the perfect host to see us through an emotional hour of the stories of the dogs and their owners.

Also today: Nicky Campbell, Sian Williams and Rebecca Wilcox host consumer series Your Money, Their Tricks (BBC1, 8:00pm); the six remaining candidates must grow businesses from scratch in The Apprentice (BBC1, 9:00pm); Dates comes full-circle as Mia and David, who opened the series, star in the final episode (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Guinness World Records Gone Wild begins on Watch (10:00pm).

Thursday 4th July

Supermarket Secrets

BBC1, 9:00pm

Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace presents this series, which looks at how supermarkets – the 'Supermarket Secrets' - BBC1, 9:00pmplace where we buy a huge 90% of our food – produce their goods.

A year in the making, Supermarket Secrets goes behind the scenes of some of the UK’s biggest food retailers to expose how they source, make and move the products which we then buy from the stores.

The first episode focuses on summer, and how supermarkets deliver the products we demand for the warm weather – from barbecues to the perfect strawberry.

Also today: Waterloo Road (BBC1, 8:00pm), Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs (ITV, 8:00pm) and Happy Families (ITV, 9:00pm) all end their runs; new documentary series Greatest Little Britons, following aspiring bakers, begins on Sky1 at 9:00pm; and Russell Kane returns with stand-up showcase Live at the Electric (BBC3, 9:30pm).

Friday 5th July

The Graham Norton Show

BBC1, 10:35pm

It’s the last in the series of The Graham Norton Show but before the host takes his break he (or rather a member of the production team – not that I’m cynical) has compiled his (their) favourite bits'The Graham Norton Show' - BBC1, 10:35pm from the thirteenth series.

There have been a lot of highlights – Graham’s show is always something to look forward to as  beyond all of the film- and book-plugging there are some hilarious moments, most of which are generated by the guests just chatting among themselves, to be honest.

There’s not a lot to say about a highlights package (and it shows how there is little new on TV tonight that I’m writing about it at all) so I’ve compiled my five favourite moments from this series:

  • Michael Bublé and Amanda Holden candidly discussing their sex lives
  • Mo Farah not having a clue who Lee Mack was (doesn’t he watch BBC1 on a Friday?)
  • The Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Pine episode in general. I didn’t think I’d be interested (I’m not exactly a Trekkie) but it was actually really funny – from Chris kissing his ‘Pine Nuts’ to Benedict interacting with his ‘Cumberbitches’ and doing a surprisingly accurate impression of Graham himself
  • Will and Jaden Smith surprising the audience with a performance with DJ Jazzy Jeff – during which they tried (and I mean tried) to teach Graham to dance
  • And Chris O’Dowd eating a fly. Just brilliant.

Also today: A repeat of Sherlock (BBC1, 8:30pm); someone else gets the boot from Big Brother (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Paul McCartney & Wings: Rockshow (BBC4, 9:00pm); Richard Curtis comedy Notting Hill (ITV, 10:35pm); and 8 Out of 10 Cats: Best Bits (Channel 4, 11:40pm).

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.