Over the past few years Rhys Thomas’s annual mockery of the previous year has been one of the highlights of the Christmas tv season, and now he’s returned with another selection of clips which have either been digitally faked or the audio messed around with, though frustratingly it’s a slight case of diminishing returns. The episode was mostly strong but by the end the formula was getting a bit repetitive, and I found myself laughing less and less often as it went on.
It’s a shame as the first half of the show was incredibly strong, starting with some lovely editing of the recent Prince Andrew interview which supposedly gave us photographic proof that he’d been in Pizza Express the night he claimed he was present, all framed as an episode of “Royal Gogglebox” and having Princes William and Harry mock their Uncle, it was sharp, incisive satire and brought a fresh edge to something which has been joked about an enormous amount.
Also great was a piss take of the film Yesterday, here reworked as a film where the lead character wakes up to find that Richard Curtis no longer exists, and which ends with a fantastic dig at The Boat That Rocked, while also suitably vicious was a fabricated episode of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares which tore in to Jamie Oliver’s failed restaurants in a gloriously vicious way. Perhaps it was a case of Thomas front loading the episode with all the best bits as equally as good as that which came before was a take on the Tory Leadership debate which supposedly saw the candidates strip naked for the Channel 4 show Naked Attraction, but after that it felt a fair bit patchier. A segment on Chernobyl had one good gag but too many average ones, Dom Littlewood’s antics as a prison guard fell mostly flat, and though conceptually it was a great idea an interview with David Cameron on This Morning stretched the joke too thinly.
That also applied to footage from Mastermind, which started strongly but then faded quickly, a mix up of Midsommar and Midsummer Murders really should have been funnier given how great an idea it was, and a phoney interview with a player from the Women’s World Cup and David Attenborough supposedly performing at Glastonbury made me smile but nothing more than that. Not that it was all bad, Mick Hucknall serenading Andrew Neil was glorious stuff, the Who Do You Think You Are with Daniel Radcliffe worked well, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s nightmarish motion capture suit version of Dominic Cummings was one of the best things in the programme. But again the quality was uneven with the rest, the bit on The Crown which included footage of dodgy animated comedy The Queen’s Corgi was really bad, a far too long bit with the normally amazing Tony Way mixing up Question Time with Antiques Roadshow actively annoyed, and Laurence Fox singing over footage of Freddie Starr was just a bit boring. But then Radiator Bleeding with Christopher Eccleston was superb, as was a short attack on Disney ruining their legacy with bad live action remakes.
Now that Charlie Brooker can’t be arsed to make a yearly Wipe, and Cunk & Other Humans on 2019 was so painfully disappointing, it’s frustrating that this was so uneven. The best segments proved that Rhys Thomas is an incredibly funny man with a fantastic eye for satirising things in a unique manner, but perhaps he needs to bring on-board a few more writers next year and that way the quality will be more consistent.
Our review of A Year In The Life Of A Year 2018.