Ian Wolf

Gigglebox Weekly #37

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Gigglebox Weekly With Ian Wolf

This week Ian Wolf looks at a worm-man and bear wrestling.

Cricklewood Greats

Peter Capaldi fronts this one-off mockumentary for BBC Four, looking back at the films made by the fictional film studio Cricklewood.

This programme features parody upon parody. Firstly there are the films parodied: silent movies, Hammer horrors, Carry On films and so on. Then there’s Capaldi playing a version of himself, making the programme less about the studio and more about itself. His mock-fawning just seems to say: “Paul Merton on every silent comedian there has ever been.”

There’s one scene in which Capaldi looks at the career of horror actor Lionel Crisp, star of Dr. Worm, (think The Fly but in which the scientist turns into…well, you can guess what) and as a present from a fellow actor he gets part of Crisp’s worm costume. You can just sense the self-love.

Out of all the “actors” that Capaldi talked about, or rather created, my personal favourite was a northern comedy actress called Florrie Fontaine, a woman so poor that as a girl she lived under a chip shop, had an abusive husband, and during the 1940s form a friendship with the Nazi which ruined her career after World War II. Great characterisation.

If there is a problem, I wouls say that I’m unsure if it works as a one-off. It might have been better to make it as a series and profile one actor per episode.

10 O’Clock Live

Channel 4 must have faith in 10 O’Clock Live, considering that it got quite a bashing during the first series.

This isn’t that surprising though. It suffered from many problems; chief amongst them was the hype surrounding the first series with people comparing it to The Daily Show, which was suicidal given how hugely successful and respected The Daily Show is.

However, the second series has come around with almost no fan fair at all. The regulars are still the same. Jimmy Carr’s still filling the role of gag-man newsreader; Charlie Brooker’s still filling the role of grumpy man who looks at the TV; David Mitchell’s still filling the role of grumpy man who interviews people; and Lauren Laverne’s still filling the role of the sensible token northern woman that leaves people asking, “Couldn’t they find a female comedian instead?”

While there were some laughs, much of the show was still below par. One routine, which featured Jimmy Carr as Vladimir Putin wearing a fake padded muscle suit and wrestling a man in a bear costume, just didn’t grab me at all.

It’s nice to see that the channel still has some faith in the programme, but I just don’t think it is going to work.