Columnist James Waller-Davies gives his view of some of the recent events on television.
If you’ve ever wanted to know how to sex a crocodile, then The Last Leg Goes Down Under (Channel 4) is the show for you.
You have to feel sorry for crocodiles, even if they do eat an Australian on average once every three months. Most croc encounters seems to involve inserting something into them, be it a pencil in the eye to escape being eaten, or a finger in the other end to see whether it’s a mummy or daddy croc that’s about to chew you up.
Adam Hills during rolled up his sleeve, prepped a digit, dipped it in the croc (a male as it turned out) and did his bit for Aussie zoology. On balance, I think I could handle being digested without knowing.
Unlike the usual studio-based show, this is a two-part Aussie road trip with trio who do more for disability on television than arguably anything outside of the para-Olympics. Hills and Brooker are both amputees, whilst Widdicombe is stuck in a teenager’s body with a voice in a perpetual state of breaking.
Whilst the first episode did have some highlights, it lacks the sharp, acerbic spontaneity of the live studio. Hills, especially, struggled with some fairly clunky writing at times. But the unscripted sections are true to the no-holds-barred banter fans have come to expect. Widdicombe’s quip on Brooker’s excessive packing being typical: “Five pairs of trainers? You’ve only got one foot!”
Camilla’s Kids Company: The Inside Story (BBC1) was a revealing documentary covering the collapse of the contentious children’s charity.
The production team were invited in by Kids Co’s charismatic, though controversial, leader, Camila Batmanghelidjh, possibly and speculatively, to maintain a level of media sympathy through challenging times for the organisation.
However, what came through was more revealing about Batmanghelidjh herself. One can only imagine the personal stress Ms Batmanghelidjh was going through as her life’s work, in which she has clearly invested everything, was falling apart around her, but her to-camera rebuttals of the many accusations made against her made for uncomfortable viewing.
What started out initially as a sympathetic project by producer, Lynn Alleway, eventually left Alleway nowhere to go but ask some pretty challenging questions. Alleway is a quality documentary maker and she didn’t hide from her task, even when her voice betrayed her own uncomfortableness in doing so at times.
Kids Company did a lot of good work, but unfortunately the nature of its demise is what is likely to remain in the public consciousness. When the end came, it came out of the blue and was devastating, like the Titanic hitting the iceberg.
Insert Name Here (BBC2) continues a run of shows which prove the “BBC iceberg rule”, where 90 per cent of BBC content features10 per cent of the talent.
Hosted by Sue Perkins - yes, her again - the panellists are the usual bunch seen on almost every other panel show, in some sort of incestuous TV merry-go-round. This week, Sue was joined by Josh, Richard, Jon and Holly - all of whom were in various combinations on other channels the same evening in either the chair or panel.
Jon does 8 Out Of 10 Cats with Holly. Holly does Mock The Week with Josh and Jon. They all do Would I Lie To You with David and Rob, and a final big group hug on QI with Stephen.
And then to top it all off, they repeat the entire scam on Radio 4. It’s all the same show, just with a different titles. Is it me, or is there some comedy mafia running a racket with the BBC’s light entertainment output?
What was Insert Name Here like? I couldn’t tell you. It’s comedic ketamine. It’s Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day.