When, exactly, did Armstrong and Miller make it from the graveyard of the digital channels on to the mighty BBC1? With a bit of hindsight, it makes complete sense as A&M produce a kind of “Fast Show Lite” that’s perfectly suitable for sitting around and watching with your parents. They get to titter at the occasional swearing and double entendres, while you get to laugh at the genuinely-funny bits.
If you were brought up on The Good Old Days, you’ll probably find something very familiar about the two singers who always do the outro, too…
Food. History. Sue Perkins in 1940′s clothing, her legs painted with gravy browning and a neighbourhood dog chasing her down the street. Is there anything about this programme that’s not immediately likeable?
Well perhaps: Giles Coren, after all, veers between tolerable and insufferable depending on how much meat he’s managed to cram into himself. Thankfully, as this episode dealt with the era of rationing, that wasn’t too much.
The premise of this series is simple: Sue and Giles have to live for a week on the diet and in the style of a historical period. They then eat terrible things, and make jokes about them. When I first saw this simple concept in action, back in December’s “Edwardian Supersize Me“, I ended up rewatching it so often that I memorised the recipes for both beef tea and pressed duck, neither of which I ever intend to eat.
There wasn’t anything quite as ghastly in this first episode of a new series, but there was mock crab, grass (of the kind cows eat) and cake made with paraffin. And, as we found out, while your grandparents were making do and mending with this kind of muck, Churchill was puffing away on a Havana, decimating a Stilton and quaffing back the Pol Roger. Giles, trying manfully to match the great war leader bite for bite, threw up after but a single cigar. I expect there to be much more vomiting in the forthcoming episodes.
For the over 40′s like myself, there’s something strangely comforting about the early evening magazine show. Two presenters, one sofa, a view out of some windows, and a series of segments on everything from genteel comedy through to current affairs and the odd talking dog. Think “Nationwide“, with Frank Bough and his endless series of comfortable jumpers.
The One Show continues this grand tradition, with Adrian Chiles – West Bromwich Albion supporter and general good bloke – and Christine Bleakley showing something that’s not quite on-screen chemistry, and more on-screen quantum mechanics. It’s so subtle you’d miss it if you blinked.
There’s a few features and lots of pleasant studio chit-chat with the odd guest. It’s not cutting edge, not clever, and not post-ironic – or, indeed, post-anything. But it makes you feel warm, like a particularly old and comfy jumper. Perhaps even one of Frank Bough’s.