Ian Wolf

Gigglebox Weekly #63 – The Comic Strip Presents…Five Go to Rehab

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Gigglebox Weekly With Ian Wolf

This week saw one of the great comic institutions of Channel 4 jump ship to G.O.L.D.

The Comic Strip Presents… returned last year with “The Hunt for Tony Blair”, which I wasn’t that impressed with when I reviewed it (mocking Tony Blair seemed to be a bit too late for 2011 – they should have done it when he was PM). I would say, however, that it was better than this latest edition…

“Five Go to Rehab” is a follow-up to the original Comic Strip outing “Five Go Mad in Dorset” which was broadcast on the day Channel 4 was launched, a parody of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, complete with racist and bigoted attitudes. In this latest edition, Dick (Adrian Edmondson) reunites the gang for a special adventure 30 years since their first outing. However, much has changed. George (Dawn French), owner of Timmy the dog, is now an alcoholic; Julian (Peter Richardson, who also co-wrote and directed the episode) is also an alcoholic too, and is also in trouble after getting himself involved with Mark Thatcher; and Anne (Jennifer Saunders) has become both a lesbian and a militant Morrissey-esque vegetarian.

While there were some funny moments – the highlight being George’s problems with her sat-nav – it was sadly rather dull. For me, the main problem was the somewhat abrupt ending. I thought that the episode was an hour long, but in fact it was only 45 minutes, with the other 15 consisting of a “Making of” documentary. The plot concerning Julian’s dodgy exploits, which in turn result in him being pursued by two hit men played by Rik Mayall and Felix Dexter, was never fully resolved, and as a result I felt somewhat cheated.

I’m quite worried by this poor episode, because this isn’t the only comedy that G.O.L.D. is bringing back. Next year they’re reviving Yes, Prime Minister, and now I’m thinking about the possibility of that bombing too. However, sister-channel Dave managed to pull it off with Red Dwarf, so hopefully it can be at least two-out-of-three…