Michael Mcintyre’s Big Show is fronted by a man who’s like the Duracell Bunny on acid, delivering tame material to a huge audience but by jumping around like Tigger with ants in his pants, or gyrating his backside to make it sound like something untoward is going on in that area, that somehow makes them laugh.
This is compounded with him appearing before a backdrop of multiple Michael Mcintyres superimposed on each other, doing varities of ‘dad dancing’. Because he’s wacky, like, innit, and he wants to be down with da yoof. You know wha’ I mean?
His up-to-date, bang-on-the-money material included the hassles of crossing the road and having to press a button and seeing the ‘WAIT’ sign. Hmm… I haven’t seen a ‘WAIT’ sign for years. They’ve all been replaced by ones where the button you pressed has a red circle around it. He really should’ve updated his jokes from the ’80s.
And how long did it take to come up with the title? Probably longer than drawing up the guest list.
You can see why a show like this would be a draw for the BBC – it’s cheap to make and it attempts to hail back to the variety shows of the ’70s and ’80s. ITV seem to do okay with Tonight at the London Palladium, although that sort of thing was never quite my bag whether as a child or growing up.
One of the main guests was former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, albeit referred to here as Geri Horner, since she married Formula One bigwig Christian Horner after he dated her on the rebound from another relationship, lasting 14 years. Did you know that? I didn’t. Only one of the Spice Girls have been lucky in love since they rose to prominence 20 years ago, and it was the one who wisely did little singing on the records.
Her input, here, was Celebrity Send To All, where Michael Mcintyre sent a message to all the contacts in her phonebook. Of course, had it been certain footballers/presenters then the content would’ve included a picture of his nether regions, but that’s not his style. And not before 9pm, anyway.
Perhaps, 20 years ago, a text from Geri’s phone would’ve been something you wanted to receive, but these days, the kids would prefer some interaction with Taylor Swift or Rihanna.
So, what was the missive? Massage practice – very racy for 7pm. The responses came from a member of the long-dead group Damage, her mother, her manager, and a ‘school chef’ who she employs to peel her potatoes at Christmas. That’s about as ‘celeb’ as her contacts get. A clip from this can be seen below.
Another major part of the show was Unexpected Star – featuring a member of the public that we’re told has no knowledge about any of the programme until they’re plucked from obscurity to be escorted to the recording.
Her name is Natasha John and, amazingly, there’s one of her best friends in the audience. Random, my best hat(!) Oh, and it also gave chance for the host to mock the Welsh accent and her town of residence – so we’re right back in the ’70s! Whatever next – bringing on Little and Large, with the latter shouting “Poppadom!”? Oh, no, they went one better. They pretended that Natasha’s granny had nipped to the toilet and was returning just as Mcintyre commented on an old lady performing her abloutions. Because incontinence will clearly have them pissing themselves(!)
However, my main issue with this, rather than it being far from original, is that in the set-up section the ‘unexpected star’ – brought in to style his bewigged top that would give Michael Fabricant a run for his money – didn’t get a chance to do ANYTHING! You’d have expected the pair to chat for a couple of minutes before the big reveal, to give it some sort of weight, as Game For A Laugh and many shows have done before, but no, as soon as she arrived, Mcintyre said his magic word and the front wall of the unit came down (well, after a second or three’s inadvertent delay) and Natasha stood there open-mouthed.
There was also a Top 10 track from Tinie Tempah, singing Girls Like, with unseen backing track vocals from Zara Larsson, acrobats The Peres Brothers Group, where the men are allowed to bare their chests but not the women. Well, the two women didn’t do a great deal. Only the men got to perform acrobatic-style stuff. Add a sketch where a female member of the audience’s three children were allowed to make a mess of her house (yes, if you’re running out of ideas then shove a camera in someone’s house) and climb about the place, retrieving random items on cue.
Overall, Michael Mcintyre’s Big Show was a collection of half-baked and well-trodden ideas, the 55 minutes felt like 55 hours, and the best part was when it was over.
He promised “Big stars, big laughs and big surprises”. I’m still waiting for them. I guess, to him, Natasha’s singing partner, Michael Ball, was some sort of special guest, but in my view, that man appears on TV and radio so often that he would go to the opening of an envelope.
Michael Mcintyre’s Big Show Episode 1 continues next Saturday at 7.15pm, as the start time will vary from week to week – such is the way of Saturday night TV. If you missed it, you can watch the first episode on BBC iPlayer, up until May 16th, and click on the top image for the full-size version.
Episode 1 Score: 0/10
Director: Chris Howe
Series Producer: Christian Fletcher
Producers: Ed Daggett and Sonal Patel
Music: Paul Farrer
The Peres Brothers Group
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.