Catch up TV review: Gap Year, The Trouble with Dad, Mafia Women with Trevor Mcdonald
Ivan Radford | On 26, Feb 2017
The Trouble With Dad (All 4)
David Baddiel takes his play, My Family: Not the Sitcom, to the screen in this touching documentary, which explores his relationship with his dad, who has Pick’s disease. A type of dementia, Baddiel tells us he’s making the movie partly as a way of raising awareness that dementia comes in different shapes and sizes; while you may expect it take take something away from David’s father, Colin, if anything, it seems to add more of him. The frontotemporal condition takes away his natural inhibition and, instead, leads to inappropriate behaviour – in his case, excessively swearing and insulting his sons, David and Ivor. He becomes almost an exaggerated caricature of himself, something that David finds is an endless source of black comedy. But there’s a quieter tragedy that the film uncovers, as all that extra overt behaviour leaves little room for the subtler parts of Colin’s personality that made him who he is, the parts that are gradually starting to fade. Also featuring members of the public who are going through a similar journey, the result is a sensitive, bravely honest exploration of a mental health issue that can often be brushed under the carpet. Can the two brothers make peace with their dad now? No, says David, arguing that’s not what his dad would want. You get a sense that his humour is, like the film, a form of catharsis for Baddiel. Viewers will find the same.
Gap Year (All 4)
“You’re all into the same shit,” sighs a travel journalist at the start of Gap Year, E4’s new comedy about a bunch of young adults trying to broaden their horizons. There’s Dylan, a likeable nice guy, who’s totally nice and totally likeable. There’s Sean, Dylan’s slightly louder mate, who wants to get drunk and is totally likeable. And there’s Lauren, Dylan’s ex, who Dylan travels to China for – convincing Sean to go with him. A 20-something white male trying to find himself and get back together with the girlfriend he’s still pining over? The travel journalist doesn’t seem far off, as the pair of mates bumble their way around their Beijing holiday. There’s a bit with some bad poetry, there’s a bit with some angry backpackers spoiling their view (hello to scene-stealer Aisling Bea) and there’s a bit where he gets trapped in a portaloo. It’s the same old crap we’re used to seeing in TV comedies.
While the set-up is disappointingly pedestrian, though, the cast bring some spark to proceedings, from Brittney Wilson as Ashley, an American girl they meet, who wants to have a good time and maybe thinks one or both of our guys are cute, to Alice Lee as May, an American who’s been sent to China to discover and learn about her Asian roots. Their interactions make for more laughs than Sean and Dylan’s banter on its own (the former calls the latter “dildo” as a nickname), but the main reason to tune in is Greg, the traveller nobody else likes, who’s played with enthusiasm and antisocial nerdiness by the brilliant Tim Key. A diverting, if unoriginal, day trip, there’s potential for an enjoyable group outing here, if the promising ensemble get to do more together.
Mafia Women with Trevor Mcdonald (ITV Hub)
“I have returned to the world of the Mafia.” So speaks Trevor Mcdonald in the literally titled Mafia Women with Trevor Mcdonald. It remains one of the weirdest juxtapositions imaginable, the first report to interview Nelson Mandela after his release trotting off to quiz mobsters’ wives, daughters and girlfriends – a sequel to the equally bizarre (and equally literally titled) Mafia with Trevor Mcdonald last year. The interviewees have surprising, and surprisingly candid, insights into the world of organised crime and how it impacts them – once they agree to follow their fellas, or fathers, into that world, they know they have, in some way, cut ties with their old lives and former friends. But despite the impressive access, Mcdonald just doesn’t feel like the right presenter for the documentary. At the end, he strolls down a stylishly lit bridge, all stiff politeness and rigid etiquette.
Piers Morgan’s Life Stories: Nigel Farage (ITV Hub)
Don’t be silly. Of course we didn’t sit down to watch Nigel Farage talk to Piers Morgan. We had more fun sticking needles into our eyes instead.