Catch up TV review: The Crystal Maze, Host the Week, When Kids Kill, The Real Full Monty
Ivan Radford | On 25, Jun 2017
What’s available on-demand on Freeview? Keep up-to-date with our weekly catch-up TV column, including reviews of shows on ITV Hub, new releases on All 4 and a guide to My5.
(For BBC TV reviews and round-ups, see our weekly Best of BBC iPlayer column. Or for reviews of the shows on All 4’s Walter Presents, click here.)
The Crystal Maze (All 4)
Was there ever any doubt that Richard Ayoade was the perfect man to host The Crystal Maze? Prickly, funny, strangely not of the earth, he was in his element as he ran about the newly constructed set for Channel 4’s reboot of the iconic 90s challenge show. After last year’s special, filmed at the live London event, was a hit, it was inevitable that we would go back to the Maze again, and the nostalgic wonder at the elaborately constructed world of puzzles is only stronger when met by more expensive, purpose-built rooms and corridors. The celebrities (we use the term loosely) taking on those challenges were far impressive, but Vicky Pattison (dubbed “VP” by Richard) is a game contender, while Louie Spence swiftly reminded everyne why he’s one of the most annoying people on TV – him being locked in a room at one point will make you stand up and cheer. Ayoade, though, is the real star here, and he steps into Richard O’Brien’s role with his predecessor’s disdain for useless people, coupled with a self-aware smirk that may make him even better than O’Brien. His pink suit and golden shoes are worth tuning in for alone. The sight of him running around, while using a golden hand on a stick to avoid touching other people, is a joyous bonus.
Host the Week (All 4)
In the same week that Channel 4 managed the impossible task of bringing back The Crystal Maze without ruining it, the broadcaster managed an equally amazing feat: broadcasting one of the worst TV shows of the year. The show is the latest in a string of attempts to bring the late-night telly of US living rooms to UK screens. The programme borrows the basic premise of ITV’s The Nightly Show, by having a different host every week, and combines it with the improv-centric idea of Murder in Successville, leaving its host with no clue what’s going to happen next and having to play along. Rather than rely on their own wits, though, the show forces them to make it through by reading the autocue, a device that instantly sucks any spontaneity out of a format that could have felt fresh. First up is Scarlett Moffatt, who has enough likeable charisma to stop the uninspired sketches falling completely flat – Krishnan Guru-Murthy is clearly enjoying himself in a Channel 4 News skit – but this is dire stuff, which feels as topical and cutting edge as a Viz Comic left in a puddle.
The Real Full Monty (ITV Hub)
Just when you think it’s not possible to see any more of Alexander Armstrong, this comes along. ITV’s The Real Full Monty, as it name suggests, is a documentary that follows an attempt to bring that scene in the iconic 90s British comedy to life. Leaving their hats off (and then taking them off in front of a crowd of cheering women) are a group of celebrities that includes Wayne Sleep and Red Dwarf’s Danny John Jules. There’s endless charm in seeing them gradually overcome their initial shyness – a neat group bonding event sees them ordered to dance with no music in front of each other, bringing out the veteran ballet and awkward dad dancer insider each of them. It’s the reminders in between the silliness of why they’re doing this, though, that really lands: the whole stunt is an attempt to raise awareness for prostate cancer, which has somehow affected the lives of all of them. Give it your attention: it’s well earned and richly deserved.
When Kids Kill (My5)
5 STAR’s new series, which looks at some of the country’s most high-profile child killers, has a title with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but ignore the name and there’s a thoughtful attempt to engage with its difficult subject. That’s largely thanks to Aaron Roach Bridgeman, who, after presenting One Punch Killers for Channel 5 last year, again steps on the awkward egg shells of potentially exploitative TV and turns them into a sensitively-approached documentary – he’s a presenting talent to watch out for.