Dave has produced a fair few panel shows of late, presumably hoping to emulate the success of Taskmaster as they put together a bunch of comedians and hope they’ll generate comedy gold. But Taskmaster works because it’s so inventive and sees the contestants out of the studio involved in a number of imaginative tasks, whereas the rest of the shows the channel has produced have followed a quite bland low budget studio based formula.
This latest effort sees Mel Giedroyc chat to three comedians where they have to tell supposedly shocking stories which couldn’t be forgiven even by someone like that nice Jesus Christ fella. It’s a series which is dependent on your tolerance for Giedroyc and her smug, anodyne delivery of the scripted material, and so yes, you might be able to guess that I’m not a fan of hers and found her tepid commentary and forced reactions to the stories cloying and annoying. At least her sidekick Lou Sanders was very funny throughout the episode, dark and weird and the only person who felt unpredictable, but she’s often side-lined and only got to say something when she could get a word in edge ways.
It’s also going to be dependent on the guests on the show each week, and the very, very polished anecdotes they deliver during the show. On that front this first episode was only occasionally enjoyable, Graham Norton, Desiree Burch and Alex Brooker were the three guests but only Norton was consistently funny with the stories that he told, Alex Brooker had the odd amusing moment but mostly relied on interjections from others for them to be funny, and strangely despite being a great stand up Burch’s tales left me cold and weren’t in any way even vaguely scandalous.
There’s a number of different rounds that allow them to tell stories from different times in their lives, so the first was “Original Sin” and meant to be tales from their youth, a mystery guest round followed because the producers presumably saw it on Would I Lie To You? and decided to nick it, and a props round because, well, yeah, once again originality is not this show’s strong point, and the only difference between this and Would I Lie To You? is that all the stories are true and boy is it sorely missing someone like David Mitchell to really tear them apart and mock them. Then there’s a confession round where some unknown new guests tell a story but there are some missing words that Norton and co had to guess, so it’s kind of like Blankety Blank but not as good.
There is the makings of a good show here, the idea is a decent one and allows the guests to tell stories that you might not hear in your average chat / panel show. But to have any chance of being consistently watchable it would require the titular Giedroyc to be jettisoned and Lou Sanders replaced as the host, and the guests to give stories which haven’t been rehearsed to death, along with them being as good and as game as Norton was. As it is this is something which is probably worth waiting for Dave to put the best bits up on youtube rather than sitting through an entire episode and having to witness a fair few painfully dull tales, that or only watch the episodes where the guests are people you’re extremely fond of.