If you are a fan of watching paint dry - then you will have loved the first episode of the new Channel 5 travelogue series BRITAIN BY BOAT.

It has to be said that both of these things are not necessarily that unpleasant. They are just tediously dull and boring.


This new travel show reunited together old BBC News pals Michael Buerk and John Sergeant.  Both are amateur sailors we were told and so over the next month they would be attempting to explore Britain's coastline by yacht.  The key thing here though, being that they would have two expert sailors with them making sure they came back in one piece.

I longed for a triumph in this genre like the utterly brilliant recently aired series Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing.  Make me laugh boys, show me great scenery and most of all be interesting.  None of these things were present in Britain by Boat though.  It was bland, bland and bland again.

There are only so many shots of John Sergeant steering a yacht that one person can take before is starts to numb the senses somewhat.  Looking at the clock only twenty-two minutes had past, this meant having to endure another half of the programme yet.

Half an hour in total would have been so much better.  Instead, the action sort of just drifted and limped along.  Even the fish in the sea were bored by the two of them because they refused to be caught!

This first episode in their breakable boat (they had engine problems within the first five minutes) the Bonaventure, featured them attempting to sail from Lowestoft to Ramsgate.  The overhyped drama bit being the section where they tried to cross the Thames estuary.

There were just too many boring shots of them sailing.  Not being comedians, neither of them therefore had any amusing anecdotes to share with us to help lighten the mood.  John Sergeant tried to be witty but failed massively.  This might be an unfair comparison but he came across like a rather unfunny Mrs Doubtfire type figure.  For supposed longtime friends, Michael and John lacked any real on-screen chemistry together.

As well as the sailing there was lots of drinking and eating.  We saw them stop off at a local oyster cafe where they proceeded to show us how to slurp whilst eating oysters.  Again, it was just rank bad telly that had an element of cringe about it all. The only part of the whole programme that was slightly engaging was when they bumped into two fellow sailors, who were driving a genuine Dunkirk rescue boat.

If boats tickle your fancy then you might like this show but in all probability you won't.  It was just too boring and aimless to be given a second chance. 2/5.

- Watched on Channel 4. 23/11/2018