Catch Up TV reviews: News Crack, Chuckle Time, Japandemonium
James R | On 15, Jul 2018
Chuckle Time (My5)
To me! To you! Those four words are enough to conjure up childhood memories for anyone who watched Chucklevision when younger. Now, The Chuckle Brothers – Barry and Paul to their friends – are back on our screens, proving that this really is a year in which the most improbable, backwards things can happen. The comedy duo’s new programme hits upon the age-old format of a clip show, as they watch and commentate on home video fails sourced from the Internet. You’ve Been Framed for Brexit Britain? It’s a dated, tired idea, and Channel 5’s producers take the bizarre decision to stretch it out to an overlong hour’s viewing with each episode, as opposed to a sharper, 30-minute burst of injuries and gags. If that all sounds far too old-school, though, there’s some nostalgic consolation to be found in the fact that Barry and Paul’s humour is as delightfully dated as ever, from terrible puns and dad jokes to even a knowing send-up of their old catchphrase.
Japandemonium (ITV Hub)
“Brilliantly bonkers Japanese TV” is what ITV’s new clip show promises, and, well, it certainly delivers on that front. Narrated with sarcasm and mostly enthusiasm by Melvin Odoom, the resulting mosaic of oddities includes everything from a programme where people are shoved down holes in the ground, a prank that gives a singer in a wedding dress the Raiders of the Lost Ark boulder treatment, and a contest where people try to play golf by blowing ping pong balls around an obstacle course. Just like Chuckle Time, the idea of a clip show in which we all point at laugh at foreign TV feels all too apt in a time when the UK is preparing to detach itself from Europe. From the cruel to the silly, though, you suspect that Japan’s TV presenters would actually be delighted at getting a laugh from Bris on the other side of the world. It’s hardly weekly appointment viewing, but for a brief dose of ridiculousness, tune in and tune out from the world’s serious problems for 30 daft minutes.
News Crack (All 4)
Mother’s Best Child, the comedy outfit with a taste for creative mash-ups, follows up BBC Three’s web series Sabotage with a new pilot for a topical programme over at Channel 4. Dubbed News Crack, it’s precisely the kind of absurd, out-of-control creation you’d expect from the multimedia wizards, using everything from fake lip syncs on actual people to Photoshopped pictures and CGI-ed interviews. The result is extremely hit and miss, which comes as no surprise for a pilot, but is stuffed to the brim with nonsense, some of it smart and some of it plain silly – and in a week when the news is so outrageous, there’s no end of promising material on offer. Highlights include us witnessing Trump and Kim Jong-un announce their marriage at a press conference, Putin driving a bright orange truck of Novichok to Salisbury and Kay Burley being Kay Burley but with gigantic googly eyes. The importance of having someone willing to call out those in authority – and do it with a grin – has never been more apparent than in the wake of the Trump Baby Blimp that soared over London this week. Led by Guy Davidson and Danny Clarke, what’s perhaps most promising of all about News Crack is the sheer number of comedians looking to do just that, many of whom you may not have heard, including Emma Sidi, Jon Pointing, Beth Rylance, Sophie Duker and Mark Silcox. As a taste of what News Crack could offer, this pilot is uneven but holds potential as it seeks to do something different to the tired Have I Got News for You? approach to current affairs. As a showcase on national TV for new comic talents, it’s a very welcome half-hour dose of satire.