Ian Wolf

Gigglebox Weekly #41

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Gigglebox Weekly With Ian Wolf

This week Ian Wolf experiences Zen navigation and some rather pointless cameras.

Dirk Gently

Following on from a successful pilot in late 2010, BBC Four’s commissioned a full series of this comedy drama loosely based on the novels by Douglas Adams, and starring Stephen Mangan as the holistic detective.

The first episode in the series, which sees Dirk deal with a murder that has links to the Pentagon, contains some funny situations created by Howard Overman, the man behind the adaptation. Such things include Dirk breaking into a house of the murder victim by smashing a glass door being witnessed by those inside. Then there’s Dirk surveillance operation which goes completely wrong thanks to his partner/assistant MacDuff’s (Darren Boyd) new chair.

However, personally speaking I’m one of those people who would have been happier with the original stories being adapted for the screen rather than having new ones developed. While it does contain some elements from the original books, such as Zen navigation (instead of using a map to go where you want to go, you follow someone who looks like they know where they go, often leading you to somewhere you need to be), it would be nice to see Adams’s original tales on screen.

Still, if you too are annoyed by the lack of faithfulness in this adaptation, there are always the more faithful Radio 4 stories starring Harry Enfield, which does follow Adam’s work much more closely (Electric Monks and Norse Gods included).

The Sarah Millican Television Programme

This is Sarah Millican’s first steps into a television series of her own, after appearing on nearly every panel show under the sun!

There have been complaints from some quarters that Sarah Millican’s possibly the most overexposed comedian currently around. I personally don’t think that’s the case. Yes, she appears on a lot of panel shows, but she always the guest – she doesn’t host any or appear as a team captain, unlike David Mitchell for example.

The Sarah Millican Television Programme is part stand-up, part talk show. Each show covers two different television genres, this week being “animals” and “dating”, with the guidance of a guest expert (Chris Packham and Tracey Cox respectively). It has to be said that she seemed to look a bit uncomfortable dealing with this format and perhaps the given material, but I don’t doubt she’ll soon cope with it as the series goes along.

Millican is certainly funny and the show is very good, but it does have one or two problems, namely with video cameras. There’s annoying gimmickry with the “Millicam” in which a video camera is sent into the studio audience and certain people answer Millican’s questions. The main problem, though, is that they also filmed the audience members holding the Millicam, so the Millicam instantly becomes redundant…

Then there was Sarah’s guest interview with her own father Phillip, during which she wore a silly headcam, which gets one laugh at the beginning but then of course just becomes rather tiresome.

However, other than those minor issues, I’d recommend you giving The Sarah Millican Television Programme a viewing.