Michael McIntyre’s Big Show

Michael McIntyre’s Big Show (BBC One)

I like Michael McIntyre. Is that a terrible admission? I suspect it’s a deeply unfashionable one, at the very least. I also like Peter Kay, and Miranda. Maybe it’s an age thing (though I draw the line at Mrs Brown’s Boys).

That said, my kids love him, too. Perhaps it’s just the millennials in between – let’s call them Generation Fleabag – who don’t. I’m guessing they don’t find his routines about how long it takes small children to put their shoes on in the morning sufficiently illuminating about the human condition. But I think it’s funny because… well, my kids take ages to put their shoes on in the morning.

Anyway, here we are at series five of MM’s Big Show, and the Beeb must be mightily relieved because, Strictly aside, they’ve been struggling to find a hit Saturday night shiny floor show for years. Possibly since Noel Edmonds sold up and left Crinkly Bottom, leaving Ant and Dec to clean up on ITV with their gazillion-award-winning Saturday Night Takeaway.

Like Ant and Dec and Noel, the Big Show – recorded live at the London Palladium – leans heavily on Ordinary Members of the Public (OMOTP) for its content. This week, for example, they secretly filmed people doing terrible Abba karaoke covers, then got Björn from Abba to judge them. You get the idea.

There are celebs too, of course. In Saturday’s Send To All, McIntyre sent a comedy text to all the contacts in Bear Grylls’ phone. ‘My son’s quite inspired by you,’ he told him. ‘He runs around on an island, trying to survive. It’s called Fortnite.’ I laughed, because it’s relatable. Though probably not to Bear Grylls, whose kids don’t play Fortnite. They’re outside running around on Bear’s actual private island.

The best bit, though, is always The Unexpected Star of the Show, in which an ordinary but very talented MOTP (this week it was garage worker Lauren) unwittingly stumbles onto the Palladium stage and is then made to close the show with a song, while their mams and grans cry in the audience. I sometimes cry too. Like I say, it’s probably an age thing.


Vic & Bob’s Big Night Out (BBC4)

I’m also old enough to have been a fan of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer’s Big Night Out the first time round. Now aged 60, the Dadaist Eric and Ernie are still trading on the same surrealist nonsense (a typical gag this week involved Freddie Mercury’s ghost stealing Vic’s potato), seemingly to amuse themselves as much as anyone else. On paper, most of it shouldn’t work, but I guess they’re just blessed with funny bones.


Lambs of God (BritBox)

New streaming service BritBox is designed to offer a more Anglocentric output than Netflix et al. So it’s odd that, alongside the wealth of UK archive telly, the first new show they’ve chosen to premiere is… Australian. The story of three nuns holding a priest hostage on their remote island, Lambs of God is a very odd fish indeed, but beautifully made, and the three leads – Essie Davis, Ann Dowd and Jessica Barden – are terrific.

Published in Waitrose Weekend, 28 November, 2019

(c) Waitrose Weekend