Well this past week saw yet another travelog programme hit our screens hosted by a ‘between commitments’ comedian/comic actor. Sigh. This time it’s Rory Bremner doing a trip round some of Britain’s most interesting locations in an old-style open top sports car (kindly sponsored by the Morgan motor company) in search of Britain’s best views. They even featured a programme from Blackpool the other day and settled on two stunning views; one looking down on the piers taken from the top of the Tower and, yes you’ve guessed it, one from the end of the pier looking up at the Tower. It’s my home town but even I could hear the distant sound of a barrel’s bottom being scraped.
Is it just me or has anybody else noticed this strange televisual phenomenon? You can’t visit any tourist location now without bumping into a clutch of comedians (there must be a good collective noun for comics like an ‘Office’ or ‘Boyle’) scrabbling to do their own re-enactment of the Monty Python Alan Whicker sketch. I can’t escape this image of Rory inadvertently bumping into Ade Edmondson in his funny little trailer or Caroline Quentin bouncing around Cornwall or coming across Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in a lovely restaurant in t’Yorkshire Dales or either Martin Clunes or Tony Robinson on one of their walks or those of Stephen Mangan, Sue Perkins and Alison Steadman wandering aimlessly without their sat navs and then there’s the trio of Griff Rhys Jones, Dara O’Briain and Rory McGrath sailing up and down the waterways. Pop across to Ireland and there’s no escaping Griff and co again stumbling into James Nesbitt and further afield it’s even more crowded as Stephen Fry does America in a London cab whilst coming across Jon Richardson and Sean Locke in a pick up truck in the deep south and almost getting run over by Billy Connolly doing Route 66 on his tri-bike. Billy of course having just traversed the expanses of Canada and Australia where almost certainly he must have come across Michael Palin who recounted a tale of the afternoon he had a glass of beer with Paul Merton in a Punjabi pub and a cup of cha with Victoria Wood in Darjeeling. Argghhh it’s so crowded…..
There can’t be many travel ideas left to cover with the deep insightful thoughts of a stand-up comedian. Perhaps John Bishop gets back on his bike to travel round the UK in search of places where people speak with really grating accents, or what about Jack Whitehall and Michael McIntyre doing a travel buddy series in a Volvo estate visiting centres of classic middle class Englishness beginning with the letter H (Henley, Harrow, Harrods etc)? On overseas soil I can see an opening for someone on the comedy circuit to explore the dykes of Holland. I was going to suggest Sandy Toksveg but that’s in terribly poor taste and anyway she’s too busy hosting 1001 Things You Should Know – like how to deliver a pay off line that’s funny but not offensive.
It’s no wonder that Kelly Brook and Holly Willoughby are filling the seats on almost every tv panel game because the comedians are all playing doctors or detectives in TV dramas or hosting quiz shows (subject of another posting) but mostly wandering around cracking ooh matron jokes about licking sticks of rock or chucking some some prawns on a beach barbie alongside Alf from Home and Away.
If you were to add in all the tv chefs doing their trips around the UK coastline or sampling the produce from our leading farms or doing the obligatory tour of Italy, southern France and Spain, or the rim of the Mediterranean or sampling cajun foods from Louisiana or Indian curries or far eastern spiced delights, then there’s a whole bloody industry shipping these comedy/chef slebs and their extensive tv crews around the globe. I should be in the business of travel co-ordination; I could be making a fortune.