Catch Up TV review: How Europe Stole My Mum, Killer Camp, Harry Hill’s Clubnite
James R | On 03, Nov 2019
How Europe Stole My Mum (All 4)
If you haven’t had enough of Brexit yet – don’t worry, it’s only getting started – this Channel 4 comedy does a fantastic job of treating it with a typically British sense of humour. Kieran Hodgson is our guide through the whole messy affair, which he frames through the relatable relationship between him and his mum, played by Liza Tarbuck. The moment the referendum result comes out, and she reveals she voted leave, the previously close pair are turned into vitriolic enemies, leading Keiron to work out what happened to cause it in the first place. That takes us back through the days of us joining the EEC to consider tensions between the UK and Europe, not to mention Anglo-Franco ties and the conflicts between the politicians of the time. Hodgson throughout is amusingly silly, forever parodying the tics and tropes of TV documentaries, and Tarbuck is knowingly overbearing. Harry Enfield, meanwhile, steals scenes repeatedly as a lascivious helper at the local library. All stitched together with an endearing curiosity, the result is both surprisingly fun and even more surprisingly insightful.
Killer Camp (ITV Hub)
Love Island meets Friday the 13th. Bear Grylls Does Halloween. Big Brother Knows What You Did Last Summer. ITV 2’s new reality series, which combines the familiar routine of seeing people removed from a remote group one by one with the equally familiar peril of a horror movie, is such a bizarrely natural fit that you wonder why it hasn’t been on air sooner. But this Halloween, ITV’s Killer Camp went for it without holding back: the week-long contest whisked a group of 11 (soon 10) members of the public away to a summer camp, only for an anonymous serial killer to take them out. The surviving member of the camp has a thousand of pounds to look forward to, but they have to make it to the end week first.
By participating in challenges every episode, aiming to add to the cash pot, the show mixes the best of I’m A Celebrity with the worst of Love Island – our contestants are decidedly white and good-looking and don’t waste time cooking up some romance between them. The result, in other words, is essentially a revamp of forgotten and underrated Channel 5 gameshow The Mole, which left you wondering with every task who of the group was sabotaging the mission to nab money for themselves.
This isn’t as iconic as that show, but host Bobby Mair is having a whale of time as he tells a campfire every episode the spooky story of the latest evictee’s demise – while we watch it happen, from barbed-wire Segway rides to shocking dips in a hot tub. Of course, the deaths aren’t real, but the show doubles down on the knowing, camp silliness of it all enough to keep things enjoyably fun. The only disappointment is that, after the explosive opening “murder”, the show never quite rediscovers its shock factor – if Killer Camp found a way to take things more seriously, this could be a stone-cold classic for the annual Halloween schedules.
Harry Hill’s Clubnite (All 4)
Harry Hill heads from ITV back to Channel 4 for his new series, which sees him act as emcee for a variety show of guests and silly stunts. If that doesn’t sound much different from the rest of the broadcaster’s late night shows, you’d be right to a degree (there aren’t celebrity chats here), but Hill makes the thing unmistakeably his, in the same way that Big Narstie, Tez Ilyas and Mo Gilligan have stamped their own marks on our screens. Hill’s stand-up material isn’t exactly cutting edge – he riffs for too long on buying sandwiches from Boots in the opening – but his absurdist streak is as appealing as ever, as he sprays drinks on the audience and introduces ad breaks with a dancing squid. He appears to have a say in booking the acts too, as they match his sensibility well: Rosie Jones, who once worked for him, is a delight to see in action, while sketch duo Egg are deceptively precise in their witty daftness. The result is an edgier Live at the Apollo, a Later with Jools Holland but showcasing up-and-coming comics. The star of the show in Episode 1 is undoubtedly Spencer Jones, who is a perfect fit for Hill; his nonsensical blatherings and inspired visual jokes are a breathtaking display of inventive imagination – seeing him and Hill team up for ukelele duet, then, is a real treat. Put them together and you’ve got Channel 4’s answer to Vic and Bob. And that’s no bad thing.