Catch up TV review: Hypothetical, Training Teachers to Kill, Confessions of a Serial Killer
Ivan Radford | On 10, Feb 2019Reading time: 3 mins
Hypothetical (UKTV Play)
Taskmaster, but on a lower budget. That’s perhaps the pitch that got Hypothetical through the doors at Dave, as it assembles a group of funny people, then gives them challenging scenarios to overcome – without actually doing them. The format’s irrelevant, to some degree, as it mainly functions as a jumping-off point for people to play out imagined situations and improvise witty banter (of which Dave is, of course, home). What would do on a cheap date? How would you get a lift from a member of the Royal Family? Who can invent the best cult? Coming up with their answers are Liza Tarbuck, Rob Beckett, Jessica Knappett and Tom Allen, and they do a solid, if familiar, job of trading quips and callbacks as the episode unfolds.
The only main weakness is that the show goes for the hour-long slot,, rather than trim it to a tight 30 minutes (and air two back-to-back), which leaves a fair bit of material that doesn’t always bring the giggles. Fortunately, though, the producers have already got a way to overcome that: by partnering host Josh Widdicombe (whose banter is described, rather knowingly here, as amusing but unmemorable) with James Acaster. Widdicombe gladly plays the straight man to Acaster’s loopy co-presenter, and their dynamic works a treat, as Acaster repeatedly steals the show with increasingly silly interjections, rants and slapstick cutaways. Here’s hoping that balance gets tweaked and refined as the show continues – and that future guests, which include Rachel Parris, add more spice to the mix. Based on its first episode, the result isn’t as good as Taskmaster at its peak, but in practice, Hypothetical is an enjoyably easy-going slice of panel show silliness. Rather aptly, it turns out to be more entertaining than it sounds on paper.
Teachers Training to Kill (All 4)
The phrase “teacher training days” takes on a whole new disturbing level of meaning in this documentary from the USA, which takes us to Ohio, where schoolteachers are actually learning how to shoot and kill potential attackers with firearms. It’s the kind of response to a national gun crisis that might have sounded like satire 10 years ago, but in Butler County, there’s no joking around, as a group of teachers attend a summer school for weapons. One local sheriff is a Trump supporter and a firm believe in the cause, but others are vocal opponents, including one survivor of a school attack. The debate isn’t addressed in huge detail, but that’s perhaps because in the face of blustering lack of logic, and an avid local authority with a surprising amount of power, reasoned discussion is simply not on the cards. An alarming snapshot of an ill-judged campaign attempting to take root.
Confessions of a Serial Killer with Piers Morgan (ITV Hub)
Piers Morgan returns to ITV to try and grapple with the minds of serial killers, starting with Bernard Giles, a convicted killer serving multiple life sentences for the murders of five young woman in the 1970s. Challenging him to explain his behaviour, to apologise to the families of his victims, Morgan is attempting to get under his skin and elicit a reaction, but the chilling nature of this interview comes less from Piers’ attempts at interrogation and more at how composed and indifferent Giles remains; he doesn’t react to the questions significantly, and steadfastly avoids apologising to anyone, or even acknowledging that he should. If you’re tired of Piers on your screen, the good news is here that it doesn’t make a difference who’s asking the questions – and that makes for a haunting hour of television.