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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Father and son bond and embarrass on 'Backchat'


We've seen a lot of Jack Whitehall of late. His fantastic comedy Bad Education was a must see in August, he's back in the still fairly edgy Fresh Meat on Channel 4, and he recently hosted a particularly strong episode of Nevermind the Buzzcocks. But if all that wasn't enough, he returned to BBC Three last night for a brand new chat show. A chat show with a slight difference that is. Whitehall was joined by his straight laced father Michael for a new series called Backchat. 

Since I turned 30 I don't feel I'm on BBC Three's radar anymore. I find myself increasingly wary of any new format they try. Backchat worked in places but not others. Where this opener excelled were the wonderfully painful, and hopefully genuine exchanges between father and son. The cynic in me finds it hard to believe Michael isn't acting up a bit and extenuating aspects of his personality, but to be honest it doesn't matter because it's the bond between the two that makes the series so enjoyable. The story about Michael asking for a medium rare burger in McDonalds and commenting on how his wife would make a good Autocue operator due to her 'strong wrists' where particular highlights.  Jack seems to genuinely squirm and revert to an embarrassed teenager whenever Michael opens his mouth. 

Sadly, once the guests joined the pair in the form of Jeremy Paxman and the always awful Danny Dyer the format seemed to fall away, as Jack seemingly forgot his father was supposed to be part of the show and Michael became an audience member, sitting quietly on the stage listening to Danny Dyer make a prat of himself again. 

Call me a miserable old fart but I also didn't care for the awkward 'sketch' element of the opener which saw father and son take an awfully scripted trip to the plastic surgeon. It didn't seem to fit with the feel of the rest of the show and didn't make laugh in the slightest. Backchat has an awful lot of potential if  it focuses closer on the exchanges between father and son. Jack should let Michael take the lead on some questioning and perhaps drop the forced sketch element and I'll stick with it. Saying that, they've got the cast of Geordie Shore coming so I'm going to struggle.

Backchat continues Wednesday at 10.30pm on BBC THREE.

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