Ian Wolf

Gigglebox Weekly #51

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Gigglebox Weekly With Ian Wolf

This week Ian Wolf welcomes back an old friend and listens to Jerry Sadowitz not swearing.

Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of My Life

Alan Partridge has been around for over 20 years, since he first began life as On the Hour’s sports reporter. Watching his latest TV outing, he is still going as strongly (or rather tactlessly) as ever.

This is the first in a series of programmes featuring Steve Coogan’s most famous character being broadcast on Sky Atlantic. Luckily, for those of us who don’t have Sky Atlantic, this particular programme was repeated on Sky1, mostly in an annoying attempt to promote a channel lots of people can’t afford to pay for.

Watching this, it’s nice to see that some of the Partridge magic is still there. It’s amazing that after so long there are still laughs that you can get out of it. In this mockumentary, he gives viewers a quick tour of Norwich, also known as “The Wales of the East”.

Partridge is still as ignorant as ever. For example, he somehow managed to persuade his local leisure centre to get rid of a disabled parking space so he could park closer to the building. Then there is his rather disturbing description of the plague as “Flying AIDS.”

My favourite moment, though, was when Partridge was in a swimming pool, talking about the sort of people who use it. Well, when I say favourite, I mean harrowing, because it was at this point I realised that I do actually think a bit like Partridge when I go swimming…

Welcome To The Places Of My Life was a great show. I just hope it and the others eventually get released on DVD, because I’m still not planning to buy Sky Atlantic.

Walking and Talking

Another offering from Sky Atlantic which is tempting Sky1 viewers is this new sitcom starring and co-written by Kathy Burke.

Set in 1979, Walking and Talking is an autobiographic sitcom in which Kath, played by Ami Metcalf, walks from school with her best friend Mary (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) and talk about their worries and everyday goings on.

Personally speaking, I found the actual walking and talking to be the least appealing bit. In fact I found it most dull and uninteresting, but maybe that’s because I wasn’t around in 1979 to experience what ‘life was like back then.’

However things started to get interesting when the senior performers come to the forefront. These segments include conversations between two nuns that work at the school, played by Burke herself and Sean Gallagher in drag, and the worrying encounters the two girls have with local nutter Jimmy the Jew (Jerry Sadowitz).

It was a strange role for Sadowitz, but he was absolutely amazing. You don’t tend to see him act that often, which he clearly can do by what I’ve seen. But the profanities were absent here too, which is certainly odd to those who’ve seen his stand-up. But despite this, he is still as intimidating and menacing. He plays the character perfectly.

Walking and Talking isn’t perfect, but it certainly has its moments. No doubt it can be tightened up in various ways to iron out some of the minor issues…