Did we like it?
An innovative format with a genial, adaptable host in Jamie Campbell was largely ruined by an irrelevant, dull guest in Bobby Brown.
What was good about it?
• Jamie Campbell has potential as the host. He approached Bobby Brown not like, say, Michael Parkinson navigating his stammering inquisition through the choppy waters of celebrity indifference, but rather with the same primal devotion of a Neanderthal hunter circling a lumbering mammoth chucking spears at its leathery hide trying to make it squeal with an indignant rage.
• He only once penetrated the ex-celebrity’s thick skin when he made a flippant remark when continuing the analogy that the pair were like cellmates in prison. “You’re dangerous!” said Bobby of Jamie, which seemed as though he was trying to use modern street slang but came across as an out-of-touch middle-aged crone. To which Jamie replied: “And I haven’t even made any sex moves on you, yet.” A comment, especially the ‘yet’ clause, that sparked the lethargic Brown to some sort of rigid horror. Jamie exploited Bobby’s discomfort for a little while, but as Bobby is essentially an idiot with a mouth like an out-of-control hippo nothing more was gleaned from his psyche.
What was bad about it?
• The central concept of 24 Hours With… is admirable as the obvious aim is to probe beneath the glossy surface that is laid thickly on the famous like steaming tarmac. The main problem with the programme was that Bobby Brown isn’t famous, and his views haven’t been worthy of broadcast for at least a decade. And even if he was famous, he is so utterly superficially sensual that Jamie may as well have taken a pick-axe to granite.
• Ironically, evidence that Bobby has fallen further than Lucifer can be found in the very fact that he agreed to appear on the show in the first place and mingle with the rest of the ex-celebrity detritus herd following their noses to whichever show anywhere in the world that offers the biggest cheque or greatest exposure.
• Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, Stan Collymore and Lee Ryan are appearing in future episodes – such a basement standard of guest means the series has the feel of an extended pilot episode with dummies filling the place of real guests.
• When Bobby demanded to know if Jamie was gay or not, it seemed to hint at Bobby being homophobic, although Bobby said it wouldn’t have made any difference to him, the sad thing is even if Bobby was homophobic he’s far too pointless for it to be significant – he’d just be AN Other bigot. Even Jeremy Clarkson’s malicious ‘ginger beer’ snide would be more noteworthy.
• Although bigotry might also be high up on Jamie’s list of things to do. After teaching Bobby pidgin French, he assured a bemused Bobby that “the French don’t say anything other that that”. Where “that” was a series of grunts and snorts that Vic and Bob made a mockery of around the same time Bobby was last famous. Of course, he may have been trying to lure Bobby into a trap to encourage him to make a similarly disparaging remark in the knowledge that, even with his fame at its nadir, it would be Bobby’s prejudice that would attract more attention than his own.
• Bobby was perhaps selected because of fame-by-proxy because of his marriage to Whitney Houston, but Bobby only mumbled some boring stuff about this. Which is hardly surprising given that Whitney Houston produced some of the most tedious songs in history with a voice that sounds as if it’s travelling from one depressed mining town in Siberia to another like a penniless whisky salesman who ends up sozzled by drinking most of the supplies to stop his inexorable plunge into terminal despair.
• It’s also about 12 hours too long. That’s about the time Bobby and Jamie turned in, and after they wake it’s apparent that Bobby just wanted to leave. In fact, the conversation got so desperate Jamie had to seriously question Bobby about the CIA propaganda that Osama Bin Laden wanted him dead so he could marry Whitney Houston.
• Jamie sounds disturbingly akin to Tom from Spooks.
• As with Big Brother, any impression of Bobby, or any future guest, has little value as the 24 hours of ‘conversation’ could be edited to portray Bobby in any desire way. However, given that after the minor altercation about Jamie’s sexuality the next most engaging highlight was Bobby teaching Jamie to ‘box’ it’s doubtful if there was enough decent material to fill an ad break.