Catch up TV reviews: Mutiny, As Yet Untitled, Unspun with Matt Forde
Ivan | On 12, Mar 2017
Mutiny (All 4)
Channel 4’s new reality survival series sees nine men set out to recreate one of the greatest feats ever: adrift in the Pacific Ocean, they try to relive the 4000-mile trip of Captain Bligh in a tiny wooden boat after the mutiny on the Bounty. If the phrase “new reality survival series” already has you reaching for the remote, nobody would blame you – but Mutiny is actually proof that the genre doesn’t always leave you wanting to poke your own eyes out with a spork carved from a discarded twig with your own fingernails.
That’s partly because our motley crew of manly male men aren’t quite so obviously chosen for their potential to throw hissy fits as ensembles normally are, but for their actual skills, relevant to the task at hand – and mimicking the people whose roles they are inheriting.
But it’s mostly because the programme’s production team manage to craft a genuinely perilous scenario, replicating Bligh’s original vessel and keeping the camera crew far enough removed that things actually feel challenging – a welcome antidote to I’m A Celebrity and all the other similar shows that crop up every year. Historical recaps of what actually happened all those years ago are the icing on the cake.
Unspun with Matt Forde: Season 2 (UKTV Play)
Dave’s political satire returns for another bout of desk-based topical commentary, courtesy of Matt Forde. With a promising season under its belt last year, the show feels like it’s confidently locked down its formula, from actual politicians agreeing to interviews to guest appearances from a pundit and brief cutaways to correspondents covering other countries. It’s heavily influenced by The Daily Show, but Unspun has found its own unique voice, thanks to the show’s serious attempts to get to grips with the details of UK policies. Forde’s impish chuckling at his own script continues to make him a likeable host, while his impressions of Tony Blair and Donald Trump are impressively on point. Nonetheless, Unspun’s jokes often lack the bite of the USA’s late night counterparts, which leaves the series’ strength to depend on the people invited into the studio. In the case of Season 2, Baratunde Thurston in the US is an excellent addition, and Lichfield Tory MP Michael Fabricant is nothing short of hysterical. Compared to The Nightly Show on ITV and it’s not hard to see why Unspun was renewed for Season 2. The continued presence of in-house band MP4 (made up of four MPs) is a treat.
Alan Davies As Yet Untitled: Season 5 (UKTV Play)
Alan Davies As Yet Untitled returns to Dave for a fifth season of guests sitting around a table for a chat. Five seasons in and you’d think that format would get tired, but the longer it goes on, the more unique it becomes. In an age of viral stunts and talent contests, it’s a treat just to see a bunch of people talk aimless for an hour. The show continues to pick just the right mix of guests, with the diverse array line-up for this season including everyone from Mel C and Davina McCall to Sanjeev Bhaskar and David Baddiel. In this week’s episode, the ubiquitous Katherine Ryan shows off some snazzy shoes, Annie Siddons goes off on a meandering anecdotes about political t-shirts and holidays with the kind of casual attitude that reminds you how candid the show encourages its participants to be, while Patrick Kielty and Joe Lycett jokine about having the same face. “I feel a split-screen coming on,” quips the unflappably affable Davies, but, of course, it won’t happen – there are no gimmicks here, and the comedian never overshadows his guests: part of the fun is simply watching everyone’s genuine reactions to each other’s funny stories. Effortlessly charming entertainment.