UK Wrap: 19 April 2012

Grandma’s House stars Simon Amstell, the openly gay and Jewish UK Comedian and ex host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. The show takes place at Simon’s Grandma’s house where Simon and his family gather on a regular basis. In each episode Amstell works through some kind of personal or career crisis while his family offer their two cents on how he should approach the issue. In addition to Simon’s own self doubts and existential issues, his family partake in the normal familial pass times of bickering and one-upmanship. While is a little disconcerting to see Amstell essentially playing himself, while actors fill the roles of his immediate family (including the brilliant Rebecca Front as Simon’s mum Tanya) they manage to pull of the passive aggressive family dynamic really well. Simon’s self doubt about where he wants to head in life, the pride his mum and grandmas has in his achievements is very endearing. The relationships within the family feature the gamut of dysfunction, repression, jealousy, rebellion and it is from these snarky comments or outbursts come a lot of the humour. Season Two starts tonight on BBC Two and picks up 6 months after the death of Simon’s Grandad. Simon has lost his latest presenting gig and fancy London flat, and is now currently living with Grandma.

Indian Ocean With Simon Reeve is a new documentary series starting on Sunday the 22nd of April on BBC Two. Reeve, an accomplished author and documentary presenter is not afraid of putting himself in the odd dangerous situation that a normal traveller would baulk at. Over the 6 episode series he will visit 16 countries which boarder the Indian Ocean, many of whom suffer economic and social issues. Simon travels around the coast of the Indian Ocean, heading up the east coast of Africa, around India and back down the western coast of Indonesia to Australia. Episode one starts in at the tip of South Africa, where Reeves dives with sharks, looks at the plight of the endangered African penguin and has a close encounter with a drug dealer in cape town. I’ve seen two of Reeve’s previous series Tropical of Capricorn, and Tropic of Cancer when they aired on SBS last year and thoroughly enjoyed them. He is an excellent presenter, charming to those he meets and isn’t afraid to put himself in an risky situation in order to experience what the locals deal with every day. I’m really looking forward to watching his latest adventures.

Would I Lie To You is a comedy panel show It’s hosted by Rob Brydon, it’s bought to you by Charlie Brooker’s Zeppotron production company and David Mitchell and Lee Mack feature as the captains. The concept of the show each is each week two celebrity guests join each of the teams. They then compete with each player revealing unusual facts and stories to the other team about themselves which may or may not be true. It is then up to the opposing team to determine if the story is a lie. On paper this sounds great, right? It seems that despite having Mitchell, Mack, and normally two other comedians, they see fit to also have two actors or presenters rounding out the teams, and invariably there is always someone who can’t keep up with the rest of them and I find it painful to watch. Until they mandate an all comic line up, I’ll be giving it a miss. If you want to catch it, season six of the show is currently airing Fridays on BBC One

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