Catch up TV reviews: The Horne Section, A&E Live, Bollywood #MeToo, Carry on Brussels
Ivan Radford | On 27, May 2018Reading time: 4 mins
The Horne Section Television Programme (UKTV Play)
Fans of Taskmaster need no introduction to Alex Horne, its creator and co-host. What they may not be familiar with is his band, The Horne Section, a comedy music troupe that is about as edgy as its pun name suggests. After some stints on 8 Out of 10 Cats Do Countdown and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, they get their own televised special here, courtesy of UKTV’s Dave, and they jump at the opportunity with the energy of a group used to entertaining comedy festival crowds and the comforting familiarity of a wool jumper.
Horne’s humour as deadpan as it comes, which makes him a decidedly dry host. If that style doesn’t always lend itself to as many laughs as you might hope, it makes up for it by being perfectly in tune with the rest of the ensemble. Musical comedy only works if the music is up to scratch, and the band doesn’t disappoint, from Joe Auckland’s impressive trumpeting (at one point flutter-tonguing to make it sound like a bird) and Will Collier’s catchy bass riffs to Ben Reynolds’ drumming (accompanied by a witty slice of physical comedy) and Ed Sheldrake on keyboards, who balances memorable chords with a running joke about Alex not remembering his name.
Guests such as Nadine Coyle give them the chance to strut their stuff, while others such as Sara Pascoe and Joe Wilkinson allow for some old-fashioned jokey accompaniment to short monologues. It’s all intercut with an inevitably hit-and-miss playlist of silly ditties, which makes for an amiable yet deceptively varied mixtape. Occasionally, bursts of inspiration hit real high notes, such as a backwards conga line featuring Sue Perkins, while the less-is-more climax will leave your toes tapping. It’s not quite Victor Borge, but for those old enough to know who that is, this 90-minute number is in just the right key.
Carry on Brussels (All 4)
The last thing anyone wants to hear about right now is Brexit, but full credit to Channel 4 for finding a new angle with which to examine the folly of our nation. Securing unrivalled access to European Parliament, we leave behind the campaigning and government posing of British soil to see the whole thing unravelling on the continent, charting British MEPs as they charge around the corridors of Brussels in turbulent political times. Seven MEPs are put under the microscope for a good 12 months, from Nigel Farage joking about the whole mess, as UKIP come across as comically inept. Remainer Seb Dance (Labour), meanwhile, and his poor assistant, Emily, find their cause beset by such obstacles as having a Bulgarian computer keyboard with no question mark on it. The farce of the title soon becomes worryingly apt.
A&E Live (ITV Hub)
The last thing you need when you’re in A&E is a TV presenter popping up from behind a curtain with a camera and a microphone. Fortunately, in the case of ITV’s live broadcast from Leeds General Infirmary, the person holding the mic is Davina McCall, the mother and former Big Brother host loved by living rooms across the UK. She’s a typically sincere and charming presence, even as she interrupts the most mundane of check-ups or winces at minor operations on the emergency ward. The result is a refreshingly different spin on the usual way we see the NHS in action – and a reminder of how stretched, and how important, the service is in 2018. Needless to say, the staff all grin and put up with the camera crew for three nights in a row with a polite professionalism. Real heroes, indeed.
Unreported World: Bollywood #MeToo (All 4)
One could perhaps be forgiven for thinking (incorrectly) that we’ve had enough #MeToo news in headlines of late. Channel 4’s always excellent Unreported World is just one example of proof this is far from true. This 30-minute documentary takes us into the heart of India’s film industry, as director Alicia Arce examines the growing campaign to end harassment on movie sets – and expose the assault that has long gone unspoken. Reporter Sahar Zand is just the right balance of zealous and sensitive, introducing us to actresses who are trying to book jobs after speaking out against perpetrators, and, in one standout sequence, follows a TV show that brings male social media trolls on stage in front of a live audience and unmasks them for their online abuse. Unreported World has always impressed with its ability to shine a light on otherwise unknown issues. This important half-hour reminds us that even when we think we know the full range of showbiz’s endemic abuse, it’s still more widespread than we are beginning to realise.