UK TV review: Click and Collect
Ivan Radford | On 28, Dec 2020
Ask any parent and one of the hardest things at Christmas is getting the right present for their kid. That’s as true today as it was in 1996, when Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in Jingle All the Way. And so the parents-try-to-find-dream-toy formula gets a fresh update this Christmas, with Stephen Merchant and Asim Chaudhry playing two mismatched neighbours. The result is like Jingle All the Way, but better.
Merchant is Andrew, a cold-hearted, tight-fisted father who refuses to pay the pricey premium for Sparklehoof the Unicorn Princess – and finds himself without the one thing his daughter wanted on December 25th. Enter Dev (Chaudhry) from next door, who manages to find the one remaining unicorn in Carlisle – after plastering both of their houses with garish lights. Andrew, hardly the beacon of festive goodwill, is none best pleased, but agrees to go on a road trip to get Sparklehoof, kicking off a 300-mile tour through all the expected seasonal cliches.
But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill programme: it’s written by Joe Tucker and Lloyd Woolf, who gave us the delightfully (and disturbingly) surprising Witless, and their knack for finding fresh spins on familiar scenarios is out in full force, as our odd couple encounter everything from credit card fraud and petrol station Santas to one hilariously awkward nighttime break-in. Merchant plays to his strengths, with low-key slapstick and sarcastic dialogue, while Chaudhry is an utter delight to watch. No stranger to being the buffoon in People Just Do Nothing, it’s a treat to see him playing kind and open-hearted, rather than dimwitted and selfish.
Together, they’re a highly entertaining double act, and their gradually warming friendship is a joy to unwrap, even if we know what we’re going to get – which is more than can be said for Jingle All the Way.