Ian Wolf

Gigglebox Weekly #72

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This week Ian Wolf encounters the Misspelt Games and an electrical retailer called Sellfridges.


CBBC’s been trying to produce a range of sketch shows that can be enjoyed by both adults and children, such as Horrible Histories and the now axed Sorry, I’ve Got No Head. While these shows have been big hits – and the former has become one of most awarded sketches of recent years – I’ve never been that keen on them myself. Having said that, for the purpose of this column, I thought I’d give this new sketch series a go…

Fit is – you guessed it – a sketch show based on health and fitness. It has a wide range of sketches, which include an epic coin toss in the latest test between England and Australia; the Misspelt Games, which holds “trifle shooting” instead of “rifle shooting”; drinking fountains working out of sync; and a reality TV show take on athletics.

Some sketches, especially some of the one-joke quickies, fail to hit the mark, and others seem to have little to do with the show’s theme (what have two mimes putting up shelves got to do with fitness?) But there were plenty of others worth an airing, like a charity collecting farts to help Britain’s wind farms, and a sports wearhouse run by Peter Serafinowicz’s long-running character Brian Butterfield (which I loved and I must admit is the main attraction for me.)

Despite its scattergun approach, this show’s definitely worth a second chance – though how many kids it will encourage to get fit I don’t know. Maybe the problem’s that they spend too much time watching sketch shows on CBBC…

Great Night Out

ITV has a great reputation of making drama, but not such a great reputation for comedy. Great Night Out seems to fall somewhere in between; not bad, but not great either.

The series follows four friends from Stockport: self-appointed leader Hodge (Lee Boardman), divorcee Beggsy (William Ash), nervous Glyn (Craig Parkinson), and pessimistic Daz (Stephen Walters). The quartet each spend a big night out, often with their wives, girlfriends and love interest, while getting impractical advice from their local pub landlord Warren (Ricky Tomlinson).

In this opening episode, Hodge has cocked-up his anniversary party, which is being held at a big hotel in Manchester (the entrance into which results in a chorus of boos from the Stockport Four). As Hodge parks his car he thinks he knocks over someone, but it turns out that the person is a drunk wanting to go to London. He, Beggsy and Daz get him on the train, only to find out he is a groom who has ditched his wife at the altar. The two rush to get him off the train, but (perhaps all too predictably), they don’t get him off the train in time and they find themselves going to London. Meanwhile, Glyn “stalks” his childhood sweetheart to her salsa class, with help from Warren.

As I mention, some of the plot elements do seem to be somewhat predictable, as are some of the characters. For example, there is the instant dislike of the Australian man now married to Beggsy’s ex, who has also taken his daughter down under. However, there are some nice visual gags, such a roadside seller of fridges called “Sellfridges”, and other odd moments such as accusations that Fireman Sam might be gay.

These moments are fleeting, however, in a show that will probably not receive the kindest of obituaries…