All Star Poker Challenge, ITV1

by | Jul 25, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

A thrilling, visceral mental duel between the best poker players in the land; or at least the finest players in the land who are famous enough to get an audience for a game no-one, save those who obsess over the “razzmatazz” of Las Vegas like teenage boys once obsessed over Lara Croft, understands.

What to say if you didn’t like it

• Five celebrities tumbling gaily down the slippery slopes of fame have their falls temporarily halted by participating in a game with has very little discernible skill among this low quality of player. They may as well just play Snap.

What was good about it?

• There was nothing really good about it, or much wrong with it either. It’s just like a vista you might encounter while out walking which is quite nice to look at but any charm soon fades after a few days when it becomes mundane and commonplace.

What was OK about it?

• The players were a fairly personable bunch. Rory McGrath tried to inject some humour into the game, but his efforts were ultimately crippled by him being Rory McGrath. He now looks like a full keg of beer that the landlord’s trying to roll out of the cellar but he won’t fit through the hatch into the bar.

• We like Helen Chamberlain on Soccer AM, but here she swapped surreptitious smiles with snooker player Matthew Stevens and not much else.

• Jonathan Maitland, one of those crusading hack types, tried to sound invigorated and

energetic but his effervescence was strangely neutered like when a confused dog, bereft of his sex-drive after getting castrated at the vet’s, sees a bitch he quite fancies for the first time since his operation.

• Matthew Stevens won this “heat”, but for most of the time sat quietly in his chair like a muddy pair of shoes cast off in the throes of passion by a couple just back from the pub.

• Victoria Coren is far too intelligent for a show like this; it’s like getting Oscar Wilde to lecture on poetry at Borstal. She did her best with the commentary but because of the repellent game of poker she was merely fine.

• Jesse Birdsall was second to be eliminated which meant we were robbed of the pleasure of watching his mechanical face in action. A good hand would see his face drop like a guillotine to mask his delight, whilst a poor hand would mean resignation would appear all over his face like fires springing up over a besieged WW2 city if viewed from the bomber pilot’s perspective.

What was bad about it?

• As a sedative or painkiller it doesn’t quite match up to morphine.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


Follow us:

Our Latest Posts:

Borgen proves TV revivals can work.

Borgen proves TV revivals can work.

Borgen is the best political series on television. It's not an area television drama dabbles in that often. There's the original House of Cards and the Netflix version...

The BBC confirm second series of Sherwood.

The BBC confirm second series of Sherwood.

As the critically acclaimed Sherwood finishes its much talked about run on the BBC tonight (28 June) it has been confirmed that it will return for a second series with...


Submit a Comment