Think Pineapple Dance Studios (that Louis Spence docusoap from 2010) meets The X Factor - and that pretty much sums up ITV1's new reality show called THE BIG AUDITION.
By this I mean that it was funny in parts, engaging in parts, but it also went for the jugular at times in trying to make us cry.
Do not get me wrong here it was genuinely moving in places. For example, we met an old lady who'd taken in a rescue dog with one eye and their love for each other was a joy to see. However, it did go a bit over-the-top at times much to the programme's detriment.
The problem with having watched The X Factor all these years is that, it has desensitised us to most sob stories these days.
Overall though, it was easy viewing television that had me smiling throughout. The format of the show showed three jobs up for grabs. This week the jobs up for casting were dog model, TV shopping presenter and King Henry VIII. Throughout the hour we were introduced to a whole host of different characters wanting the roles.
I did fear at first that window cleaner Barry Titler from Wigan, auditioning for the role of TV presenter - was a bit of a cruel set-up like they do with some of the contestants on The X Factor. Thankfully, as the audition played out it soon became clear though that we would be laughing with Barry, rather than at him.
Another person that it was impossible not to like was was fifty year old mum Linda John-Pierre from London. She too was up for the role of TV shopping presenter. Her backstory made me like her, however it was her brilliant contagious laugh that made her standout. She just had that instant likeability factor, which made me want to root for her. It was just a shame that the programme went overboard regarding the emotive 'cry now' bits.
Megastar Julie Walters, did the voice-over narrating bits really well. She did it that well in fact, that I didn't realise it was her until reading the credits.
I do wonder though how this samey format each week is not going to lead to boredom somewhat as the weeks proceed. It is going to be difficult to keep it fresh and interesting by week six in my opinion.
A likeable show that was not perfect, but one that prompts me to watch episode two. End of the week easy viewing, job done!
- Watched on ITV1. 05/10/2018