After a year in which Ulrika Jonsson claimed she had been raped, was it really wise of her to appear as a belly-showing schoolgirl in a spoof of Britney’s Baby One More Time video? Or laugh off the rhyme “She’s football crazy, she’s football mad, I can’t think of a footballer that Ulrika hasn’t had”?
Spoofing Britney as the opener to Vic and Bob’s Christmas special seemed very dated and provided evidence that it is getting harder and harder for comedy’s craziest couple to stay fresh. It’s been eight years since Shooting Stars first appeared, with Jonathan Ross, Wendy Richard, Martin Clunes, Danny Baker and Noddy Holder as the first guests.
Johnny Vegas’s rants are funny but cannot lift the show alone. Will Self is no Mark Lamarr. Donald Cox, the sweatiest of all foxes, is no Dove From Above. And Vic’s over-excited thigh rubbing seems completely perverse when the subject is the asexual Anthea Turner. She was, surprisingly, the least dull of the guests – gaunt Robin Gibb and Hugh Laurie contributed nothing except boringly correct answers.
But all is not lost. Reeves and Mortimer are still prodigious in concocting insane stunts and sketches. The remake of Fawlty Towers was brilliantly observed, the cable car opposition group was bizarre and George Dawes’s rendition of the Flintstones theme in a German oompah-band stylee was sheer madness.