Catch up TV review: This Way Up, Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain, The Lateish Show
James R | On 11, Aug 2019
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(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.)
This Way Up (All 4)
Aisling Bea gets a deserving chance to take the lead in her own show with this fantastic series about a young woman trying to rebuild her life. That woman is Shona, who has just come out of rehab after a nervous breakdown, and is living with her supportive, concerned sister, Aine (Sharon Horgan). Together, Bea and Horgan are a dream double-act, grounding every interaction in affection but an unspoken distance, and they swap insults, one-liners, encouragement and clothes in the blink of an eye, often all at the same time. Horgan brings whip-smart wit and flawless comic timing, while Bea, in no way short of laughs herself, is heartbreakingly raw behind her cheerful front and despairing quips. Seeing her in full flow, as when she teaches English as a foreign language through the medium of the Kardashians, is a joy, but only because This Way Up fuses every beat of laughter with the pain that’s lying underneath – it’s scabrous, sad, side-splitting and superbly human, shot through with heart, hope and awkward guffaws that make you question your own reactions. The whole box set is on All 4 now – see how far you can get.
Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain (All 4)
Jade Goody. Even now, the name will likely ring bells among TV audiences. If not, they’ve certainly lived through the aftermath of her brief but bright life on screen. She spent just over 64 days in the Big Brother house during its third season, and in that short time she become the talk of the country. At first, that was because of her lack of general knowledge or clumsy ways, leading her to be vilified by the tabloid press. But as her upbringing and personal history came to light – as a child she looked after her mother, who struggled with addiction – that mockery switched to support, championing her as an everywoman hero. This three-part documentary takes us right back to her emergence as a celebrity. “She went in to get away from me,” her mother revealingly comments, but while she was Britain’s first, and perhaps biggest to date, reality TV star, the series reveals the naturally boisterous woman as a market of the country’s changing media, cultural and class landscape – interviews with journalists at the time show them still chuckling at their own cruel coverage today, balanced out by former BB host Davina McCall tearfully recalling her concern for Jade at the time. It’s the kind of detail and tragedy that made Asif Kapadia’s Amy documentary powerful and riveting viewing, and based on the opening episode, this is a subtle, sympathetic portrait of a woman emblematic of modern Britain in more ways than one.
Available until: 30th September 2019 (Episode 1)
The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan (All 4)
Mo Gilligan is the very definition of the term “rising star”. Shooting to fame in barely a couple of years, his rapidly climbing status on the stand-up circuit was boosted by viral online videos. But underpinning it all, crucially, is a charismatic, easygoing style that’s almost impossible to dislike. And so, after keeping Big Narstie in check on The Big Narstie Show, it’s no surprise that he should get his own vehicle, The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan. He hosts it like he’s been doing it for years, with a laidback charm and enthusiasm that keeps his studio audience and his guests engaged. That makes for an informal interview format, with everyone piling on the sofa at once for some chat – and if, like most late night shows, there’s a lack of depth in the questioning, it makes up for it with a relaxed feel that’s enjoyably genuine. There are games and stunts, of course, but they come with a freshness driven by Gilligan’s personality and humour, with Nursery Grimes, which sees guests improvise bars around playground rhymes, a particular highlight. The end result is a fine addition to Channel 4’s impressively diverse line-up of late night telly talent, also including Tez Ilyas, and a welcome chance for Gilligan to shine in his own right. Don’t just expect a second season – look forward to it.
Available until: 1st September 2019 (Episode 3)