Were we gripped?
Catch us if we fall, we’re losing hold.
What was good about it?
• Alexa Chung was surprisingly good in delivering her lines at that perfect pitch between adolescent bewilderment at the world and teenage ignorance. It’s just a pity she had to read out such rotten material, and we’re not quite sure she was acting.
What was bad about it?
• Ben Elton. Elton is the great turncoat of British comedy, a Lord Haw Haw minus the Haw Haw. Where we once worshipped him for the Young Ones and Blackadder he forsook all his integrity like a dumb rhinoceros absently abandoning her young to the gathering pack of hyenas.
• Much like Iggy Pop’s compulsion to release a dreadful new album which diminishes the impact and fervour of Raw Power and The Idiot, so Elton’s continued desire to sit at the top table of British television impels him to write and present utter tosh like this, unaware that everyone else has vacated their seats as they are nauseous at the sight of him.
• It was difficult to gauge whom this was aimed at. Those aged 16-25 quite rightly don’t listen to anyone over 40; all aged 26-45 have their blood raised to boiling point by Elton’s aforementioned betrayal; 46-55 year olds are desperately playing squash to stave off that inevitable heart attack; while over 55s nod off around 9.30pm.
• Elton is so out of touch with popular culture it’s like an artist trying to sketch Stonehenge from a vantage point atop the Olympus Mons. Take his comments on the comparison between the postage service and email: “’Snail mail’ may be slow, but at least the postman didn’t mock you about the size of your dick.” That’s right, a joke about spam in 2007.
• Even the seeds of promise quickly withered as with the observation that Britain’s drivers could be forced to drive over a cliff if terrorists hacked into the sat-nav system which was followed by a poor, overlong sketch to hammer home the point.
• Elton grates like a migraine with his insistence on exclaiming each syllable of every word as if he’s trying to sell you double-glazing. While his efforts at being subversive come across as tired such as when he leered: “How old does Hermione have to be for it to be alright to fancy her.” It would be entirely justified if Emma Watson took out a restraining order on Elton; or it would be even better if everyone in the country did.
• The audience applauding with all the forced sincerity and credibility of British soldiers confessing they were indeed in Iranian waters while off camera a gun is pointed at their heads.
• Elton tried to invoke some of his past political fire and brimstone by branding the Royal Family “a powerless anachronism”; which is also a fitting description for a washed-up satirist