Dom Joly and the Black Island Review: Tin Tin Out
DOM JOLY AND THE BLACK ISLAND: Friday 19th March, Channel 4, 7.30pm ALERT ME
Some things on TV are so niche there’s literally nothing to compare them to. Dom Joly and the Black Island is one of these things.
Dom Joly is best known for his anti-social antics on hit show Trigger Happy TV, in which he regularly confused old people and donned animal costumes, all for shameless amusement.
But, Joly reminds us, he’s not just an attention-seeking anarchist. He’s also a travel writer don’t you know. So how does he go about proving these powers of journalism?
That’s right. He dresses up as Tin Tin for his own shameless amusement, and drags a reluctant cameraman along every step of the way.
Now, don’t get me wrong; I love Tin Tin. Only Nazis and people who like salted popcorn would say otherwise. But a totally self-indulgent documentary about a man living out a childhood fantasy? It’s all just a bit… weird.
His plan – to follow in the footsteps his hero’s Black Island adventure – Brussels and Scotland. To really get into the swing of things/attract maximum attention, he gets a full Tin Tin makeover including a blue jumper and shocking ginger hair.
Not content with his transformation, he steals a dog resembling the fictional character’s Snowy and runs for the hills trigger-happy style. This is much to the bemusement of the cameraman who clearly thought those days were over.
It all gets mildly interesting when Joly visits the office of Tin Tin’s creator, Hergé, in Brussels. Since his first appearance in a comic strip in 1929, Tin Tin’s adventures have sold over 220 million copies. With this is mind, it would have been interesting to learn more about the cartoon’s history.
Instead, we get Dom Joly imploring Belgium for captain Haddock and questioning gay bar tenders about Tin Tin’s sexuality. Fun for him, less so for viewers.
To be fair, he does meet ‘Tintinologist’, Michael Farr, on a train to Glasgow who has some interesting insights. ‘He’s an ologist, I’m only a phile!’ laments Joly. No – you are not dreaming.
‘I’ve done it, I’ve been Tin Tin, it feels good’, he says at the end. ‘I don’t know what’s next, as long as someone pays for it’. Please, for the sake of the cameraman, make it end here.