No sight is more assuring in the winter TV schedules this year, then that of Michael McIntyre’s Big Show being back on the box on Saturday evenings. Already two episodes in, and the new run on BBC One is proving to be its best yet.
As usual, a lot of the old favourite slots in the show, held at the London Palladium, have returned – not least of all the infamous ‘Celebrity Send to All’, where the stand up comedian takes control of a well known face’s phone by sending a baffling round robin text to all their contacts.
Last week’s first episode saw former Shadow Chancellor and Strictly 2016 star Ed Balls get his phone taken over with an invite to a pool party with Mary Berry and Stormzy (of course). This week, EastEnders star Danny Dyer played willingly along with a text that ‘spun his nut’ (his words, not ours) about being made a knight of the realm by the Queen. Some of the responses to this were by far some of the funniest we’ve heard.
There’s also been a welcome return for the ‘Unexpected Star’ slot of the show, where each week, an unsuspecting member of the public, nominated by their family and friends, gets surprised in an unusual setting to become a star for that night and perform at the end of the show. Last night saw 11 year old Anush (after being surprised by Michael in a faux Italian restaurant setup, fake Manuel accent and all) take to the stage to perform a truly brilliant version of the Jackson 5 number ‘Who’s Loving You’.
The Captain of Take That himself, Gary Barlow, was on hand last night as well, as some members of the audience found themselves on the receiving end of some cringeworthy – but side splittingly funny – hidden camera karaoke renditions of their best known songs.
The performance from Clean Bandit of their new single was admittedly not much to write home about (they’ve had better singles in the past, but this was not one of them), but Russell Kane’s stand up turn was hilarious, with a dead on the mark insight into the humour of opposites attracting when it comes to dating.
It’s so reassuring in this day and age to see a show with variety, side splitting comedy and entertainment outside of Christmas telly have a place on primetime BBC One. Michael McIntyre has more than proved he is the man for this job – and hopefully there’s many more series of Big Show to come.
‘Michael McIntyre’s Big Show’ continues next Saturday at 8:10pm on BBC One. The first two episodes are available to watch again for UK viewers on BBC iPlayer.