Ian Wolf

Gigglebox Weekly #70

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This Christmas Ian Wolf encounters a pong, kissing via TV and two doses of Hugh Bonneville.

Mr. Stink

Amongst the programmes over Christmas this week included a dramatisation of David Walliams’ children’s novel, Mr. Stink.

The story follows a young girl, Chloe (Nell Tiger Free), the eldest daughter of a vile right-wing mother (Sheridan Smith) who wants to become an MP, and whose main policy is getting the homeless off the streets in any way possible. Chloe encounters a tramp, who goes by the name of Mr. Stink (Bonneville), so called because of his terrible odour.

Mr. Stink’s only companion is his dog the Duchess (Pudsey, the winner of Britain’s Got Talent), and so Chloe becomes friends with him and eventually persuades him to move into her shed – all while trying to avoid the wrath of her mother.

It’s no surprise that this and indeed all of Walliams’s children’s books have a heavy influence from Roald Dahl. Much of the humour in Mr. Stink’s visual, which for a pre-watershed children’s comedy isn’t a surprise, but it was good. It ranges from Chloe’s younger sister Annabelle (Isabella Blake-Thomas) taking part in a historical re-enactment society dressed in full medieval armour, to both of them giving Mr. Stink a full makeover. There are also the throwaway comments in the show, such as Stink claiming that he is “lice free, but no stranger to worms.”

In terms of a children’s comedy, this seems to tick all of my boxes. It’s inoffensive, it’s witty, and it’s not too childish so adults can watch it without feeling embarrassed. No doubt that more Walliams novels will be adapted for future Christmases.

The Sarah Millican Television Programme

Given that Giggle Beats is first and foremost based in the North East, I thought it was only right to review a Christmas comedy presented by someone from the region. Luckily The Sarah Millican Television Programme was a joyous programme.

Like the series broadcast earlier in the year – which is coming back early next – the show is a mixture of stand-up and interviews, in which Millican covers all things concerning telly. The stand-up routines are good in themselves, but this is to be expected because it’s what she does best. The only problem’s that because this is television, she can’t be as rude as she is on stage.

However, the interviews allow Millican to be rude in a different way. In this case she gets to ask all sorts of cheeky questions to her guests (the aforementioned Bonneville, Shane Richie – complete with an attempt to kiss each other via a giant TV screen – and her father Philip). It puts me in mind of the character Mrs. Merton, but without the need for a comedy character. The guests know they’re going to be mocked, so in a way everyone gets what they want.

The other thing I like is that the special is less gimmicky that the first series, with less reliance on props. The closest to a funny prop in this show was Sarah’s Christmas outfit and some mince pies. Hopefully this more simplistic approach is continued in series two.