Ian Wolf

Gigglebox Weekly #31

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Gigglebox Weekly With Ian Wolf

This week Ian Wolf finishes the year off with a lot of sweat, a kid in a cash machine and a burger van owner in a stranger’s bath.

I’ve Never Seen Star Wars

This week the BBC attempted to re-launch Radio 4 chat show I’ve Never Seen Star Wars, where guests try out things they’ve never done before, for television. Why they needed to do so I don’t know.

The TV version was first broadcast in 2009 on BBC Four with the host of the original radio version, Marcus Brigstocke, still hosting it. This new “pilot” was hosted by Jo Brand, and I do have to say that this edition does look better than the original series. The set is much crisper and cleaner, and they kept the original theme tune from the radio series rather the altered version from the first TV series. However, they still kept the annoying musical inserts between each item. They aren’t needed and they end up just getting up your nose.

The guest for this new edition was Stephen Fry. In this edition his first time experiences were his first ear piercing (an experience which gave a score of 8 out of 10), putting together flat-pack furniture (1 out of 10), watching Only Fools and Horses (9.5 out of 10) and boxing (10 out of 10). My favourite section was the furniture sequence, during which he sweat so profusely his skin looked like a waterfall. He looked like Lee Evans in the middle of a gig.

I’ve Never Seen Star Wars was an enjoyable show, but I still don’t understand why they needed to replace Brigstocke with Brand. She was a decent enough host; but so is Brigstocke and I don’t think there was any need for such a change…

Felix & Murdo

This new studio-based sitcom pilot from Channel 4 starring Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller is best described as a decent effort, but probably not worth returning to.

While the fact that it has a live audience would be enough to make most reviewers vomit in disgust, for me the main problem with this Edwardian sitcom is that it pales into insignificance following the BBC’s showing of The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff last week.

Like the latter, Felix & Murdo uses silliness and satire as a focal point for its humour – my favourite moment was the cash machine operated by a young boy inside it – but it just wasn’t as good as The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff. Of course, The Bleak Old Shop… has had a lot of practice – what with it first starting off on radio – and if it’s given a full series it may improve, but I doubt it.

On the plus side, it was good to see Marek Larwood playing a straighter role than normal. It would be nice to see him continue in straighter acting as well as his more humorous and bonkers roles.

The Angelos Neil Epithemiou Show

Shooting Stars fans will no doubt be keen on seeing at least one vestige of the surreal panel game live on in this Comedy Showcase pilot – which has already been commissioned for a full series in 2012.

Dan Skinner plays the award-winning burger van owner Angelos, making his own somewhat shambolic show alongside his friends Gupta (Adeel Akhtar), Kenny (Seymour Mace) and Margaret (Hannah Walters). The show features sketches, interviews, songs and audience participation.

As with any sketch show, these are always measured on their “hit and miss ratio”. I would say that it’s certainly more on the hit side, especially with it’s range of physical and visual humour.

Yes, I know it’s not the most sophisticated, but it’s just pleasing to see.

Everything from the opening silhouette of Angelos at a mike, which turns out to be a chicken drumstick, to him taking a bath in the house of an unsuspecting audience member, is just…pleasing. And no doubt the more troublesome sketches will be ironed out in the forthcoming series, which should be well worth a watch.