Catch up TV review: Jonathan Ross’ Comedy Club, James Nesbitt: A Game of Two Halves, All Creatures Great and Small
Ivan Radford | On 13, Sep 2020
Jonathan Ross’ Comedy Club (ITV Hub)
Another take on Live at the Apollo? Jonathan Ross’ Comedy Club doesn’t sound like the most exciting addition to the TV schedules, but ITV’s short and sweet comedy showcase is a real treat for comedy fans. With comics trying stand-up outdoors and online without live crowd feedback to gauge their material, this socially distanced studio production manages the tricky thing of feeling like old-school live comedy – while people all sit apart from each other while wearing masks. As a result, Jonathan Ross is the funniest he’s ever been thanks to the tangible relief to be back doing things the way they would normally be, while he’s assembled an interesting line-up of genuine up-and-coming talent – not just rising stars such as Flo and Joan, Kae Kurd and Sophie Duker, but also names you haven’t heard of, such as Sukh Ojla. They balance a nice mix of topics and styles, from music and observational remarks to personal anecdotes and gentle rants – and even Rob Beckett finds a fresh edge in some material about post-pandemic life. All of this is accompanied by wittily chosen samples from Mawaan Rizwan, a DJ and stand-up who also gets his own chance to shine as co-host. Forward-thinking, fast-paced and – yes – funny, this half-hour may be the next best thing to a live comedy gig for the near future.
James Nesbitt: A Game of Two Halves (ITV Hub)
With the Premier League season back in full swing from this weekend, football fans will be pleased to have live sports back on their TV sets. Last week, they had the annual spectacle of Soccer Aid for Unicef to keep them going and, while the match itself is good-natured enough, the real winner was the accompanying documentary recorded by James Nesbitt, which sees him journey to places where the funds raised by the celebrity kick-about go. The result is thoughtful and genially presented by the actor, who never talks down to anyone he meets, from a young girl who likes playing football but loves educating people even more to food parcels closer to home. Heartwarming stuff.
All Creatures Great and Small (My5)
It’s only natural for Channel 5, home of The Yorkshire Vet – set in James Herriot’s original veterinary practice – to be the home of a new revival of All Creatures Great and Small. Herriot’s novels were published 50 years ago this year, chronicling the adventures of a young country vet, and this new incarnation plays straight and old-school with its take on the texts. That means some disappointingly old-fashioned TV comedy and drama that offers little new and caters to an audience longing for the good old days of British life, but the landscapes are gorgeously shot and its lead star, Nicholas Ralph, immediately impresses as a talent to watch.