Gigglebox Weekly #9
This week Ian Wolf investigates children’s comedy and chicken.
Compete for the Meat
The latest offering by Dave is the new quiz hosted by The Pub Landlord, Al Murray, in which contestants fight it out to win the grand prize of a frozen chicken. The big question is, is this show a turkey?
It started off well enough, with Murray interacting with his audience like he does in his normal stand-up act, picking on individual people. However, it went a bit downhill when he introduced the “Celebrity” Top Table, which consisted of comedian Olivia Lee, footballer Peter Shilton, and Dominic Littlewood who… does whatever he does.
Also there are Murray’s assistants. One is Mr. Giblets, who is a man dressed up as a frozen chicken, who is no doubt glad his face is covered to save him the humiliation of people recognising him in the street. There is also Zoe Salmon, who I have never heard of before and I will probably never hear of again outside of the context of this programme.
With regards to the quiz itself, there were some fun categories (e.g., “Salt”, “Body Matters”, “Moustaches”) and featured questions like “which of three members of the audience carried the most change”, and “how many pickled eggs were there in a jar that Frank Skinner was holding”. There was also the physical “Last Chance Saloon” challenge which featured contestants playing shuffleboard using various items of pub grub.
While there are good moments this show is mostly just OK. What we want from a show with Al Murray is him to do his stand-up in character. While we get some of that, it isn’t enough. Why does there have to be a quiz? Can we not just have a show in which Al Murray just does his stand-up please?
On one final note, a bit of advice for Murray – don’t end the show by singing “Eye of the Tiger”, it just sounds naff.
Sorry, I’ve Got No Head
For those unaware, Sorry, I’ve Got No Head is a sketch show broadcast on the CBBC Channel.
Despite this being a children’s show, it’s surprising in many ways. For starters, there is quite a lot of good comic talent involved. Amongst those starring in the show include Marek Larwood, Justin Edwards, James Bachman, Marcus Brigstocke, Mel Giedroyc, Nick Mohammed, David Armand and Graham Norton in a voice-over.
The sketches include Jasmine and Prudith, a pair of eccentric posh women who believe everything costs a thousand pounds; Ross the schoolboy from the Outer Hebrides whose school has been badly damaged in a storm and is thus he is the only one who attends; the easily-scared Fearless Vikings; and The Witchfinder General who accuses anyone of being a witch if he doesn’t get his own way.
Another interesting thing about Sorry, I’ve Got No Head is that it has no laughter track. Most TV sketch shows tend to have one, and you would expect a children’s sketch show to do so as well, but this doesn’t.
In a way the show treats the audience a bit more like adults than many other sketch comedies. The laughter track provokes you into laughing, which might explain why shows such as That Mitchell and Webb Look and The Armstrong and Miller Show have them, to encourage the viewers to laugh along and keep watching. Sorry, I’ve Got No Head doesn’t see the need for one. Perhaps it’s because this show is less of a risk as it’s on a digital channel for children.
Sorry, I’ve Got No Head is quite a diverting show, which in its own way is entertaining for people of all ages. And if you’re bit a embarrassed about watching it with other people, you can always look at it on the iPlayer as if it were a guilty pleasure.