Around The World In Eighty Days Review: Think Of The Children!
This is not an outstanding programme, but it’s all in the name of a good cause (as our stars often take the opportunity to remind us) so it definitely deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Following in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg and more recently, Michael Palin, twelve celebrities are taking part in a six-leg relay race to circumnavigate the globe in just under three months – and like their predecessors they aren’t allowed to fly.
The list of TV personalities who will be picking up the baton (a red carpet bag) in the ensuing weeks includes such luminaries as Mylene Klass, Shane Richie and Matt Baker (that bloke who used to present Blue Peter).
But comedians Frank Skinner and Lee Mack are kicking-off the challenge this week and the pair seem to have the easiest leg of the lot. Yet as they travel from London to the edge of Eastern Europe, they discover what most tube users know only too well: every form of transport is fraught with variables that can hinder your progress.
After a slow start, this programme rises from the mediocrity which threatened its opening stages, but you might expect that travelling with a couple of comedians would be a bit more comical, and there’s definitely something a bit odd about Frank Skinner…
It’s also a shame that they have to wait until the second half of the episode for something interesting to happen. Travelling from London to Vienna is a mundane affair which involves the pair of funnymen falling asleep on an overnight train, but from then on, the trip is pretty incidental.
They meet some real Hungarian cowboys, play pool with the Serbian royal family, and get involved in an obligatory border dispute or two.
Next week it’s old friends Nick Hewer and Saira Khan from The Apprentice.
Bring on the controversy…