Now that the distraction of my birthday is done with, and Valentine’s Day will soon be a rather tawdry commercialised memory for another year, it makes sense for me to give you details of the Mad Bad Ad Show, which I recorded for Channel 4 before Christmas and which is now about to ‘hit’ your ‘screens’.
It’s a sort of half-panel show, half funny-business-exercise-like-the-Apprentice affair. Micky Flanagan and I are the team captains; we answer questions about adverts and pitch unpromising products to panels of alarmed industry professionals. We’re joined by guests who are either famous (Lorraine Kelly, Louis Spence), or in advertising. And by various other comedians. Flanagan’s ribald barrow-boy humour is the lynchpin of the show and I provide a foil with my straight-laced Oxbridgeisms. There’s a big futuristic set which looks a bit like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Mark Dolan, suave and surprisingly tall, hosts the whole palaver.
There are seven shows and I think it’s reasonable to say that the recordings vary in quality, simply because some combinations of guests are more successful than others. Also, we changed studios halfway through the run and the second studio was more favourable to comedy. So, I suppose what I’m saying is: if you watch one and don’t particularly like it, it might be worth giving it another try.
I felt the show was quite good while we were in the process of making it, but it’s virtually impossible to tell until it’s too late; that’s one of the perils of TV. It’s in a fairly high-profile slot (10pm on Friday), so if people don’t take to it, the online criticism will be swift and brutal. I’m going to deal with this by not really taking any notice of what people think, since it’s well beyond my control at this juncture. At least now you know about it. Do what you will with the information.