Despite it being a very overcrowded genre, new BBC series For Facts Sake has joined the ranks of TV panel shows.
When done well, the genre is still a joy to watch - I'm thinking of Would I Lie to You? The best panel show on the telly right now. The format remains fresh because the stories and panellists remain as funny as ever. Watch the ones with Bob Mortimer in them because they are always comedy gold.
However, when done badly a panel show can become absolutely excruciating to watch. This my friends is what happened recently with the first episode of For Facts Sake. Hosted by Brendan O'Carroll, from Mrs Brown's Boys and featuring some of the cast from the show, dire is probably the best word that sums it up and that is putting it kindly.
Before elaborating on the negatives, lets first mention the positives because there aren't that many to mention. Firstly, if you love the Mrs Brown's Boys sitcom then you will no doubt like this show too. Some of the gags were blue and there was swearing aplenty, somehow making the studio audience laugh hysterically.
The second positive is that I think, I half-smiled at one of the jokes. To be honest I was doing a lot more grimacing than smiling so maybe I didn't even do a half-smile after all.
Now lets talk about the things that wound me up about it. My biggest issue - is it's just not funny. I do not get the fits of giggles when somebody merely swears or says a rude word, in this case it was host Brendan doing this the most. The studio audience were irritating because they were laughing their heads off at all the banal humour on show.
Talking of the studio audience, they seemed to wind me up as much as the actors and the panellists. There was one round in the format where Brendan put on a silly wig in order to pretend to be a Professor asking the questions. Upon him putting on this wig - the studio audience fell into hysterics. How was that funny I ask you??
The difference with this panel show is that the team members apart from the captains, are ordinary members of the public chosen from the studio audience. Their selection reaction was that crazed and over-the-top that it was reminiscent of that iconic 80's game show - The Price is Right. It was up to the two captains to buzz them off the show once they'd had enough of them or they'd ceased their supposed comical use. In this episode, the two captains were Danny O'Carroll and Paddy Houlihan from Mrs Brown's Boys.
The show then contained a series of rounds which involved an endless amount of unfunny rude jokes. Near the end there was a sports round and this featured sports presenter Kirsty Gallagher. Surely her agent can do a better job than getting her a gig on a show like this? Her extremely brief highlights included doing a Monica Seles 'grunt' impersonation, as well as talking about a female golf trophy that looked like a phallus (much to the hilarity of the studio audience of course).
It wasn't funny, it wasn't original and it felt like an extremely dated crude show. After watching this first episode, I'm surprised it ever got commissioned in the first place!
- Watched on BBC One. 15/10/2018