It's Only A Theory. Image shows from L to R: Andy Hamilton, Reginald D. Hunter. Image credit: Hat Trick Productions.

It's Only A Theory

High-brow panel show in which experts are given a comic inquisition by Andy Hamilton and Reginald D Hunter

Panel Show
2009  (BBC Four)
8 (1 series)
Andy Hamilton, Reginald D. Hunter
Andy Hamilton
Hat Trick Productions

It's Only A Theory sees various highly qualified professionals and experts submitting their theories about life, the universe and everything for scrutinisation by a panel of two comedians and a guest celebrity. After a thorough examination by the panel, a final decision is taken on whether the theory is worth keeping.

Will humans soon be able to live forever? Are teenagers the secret of mankind's success? Is smell the key to sexual attraction? It's Only A Theory sees highly qualified professionals and experts submitting these theories and more to Andy Hamilton, Reginald D Hunter, plus a guest.

The guest theory inspectors are Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable; BBC sports presenter and journalist Clare Balding; journalist and sports presenter Dermot Murnaghan; Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark; and Woman's Hour presenter Martha Kearney.

Our Review: This is basically a high-brow version of Genius mixed with QI.

Reginald D Hunter is always a joy to see on TV, and Andy Hamilton always impresses, so we are pleased to see the two together on this show. On the face of it, Hamilton and Hunter are actually probably the most bizarre chalk 'n' cheese pairing on television - but their chemistry is undeniable. The comic style of each perfectly complements the other. An inspired piece of casting by those involved.

As for the show itself: if you like educational television mixed with witty intelligent debate, then you're likely to enjoy this show... but it clearly isn't going to be for everyone. For every one person calling it 'interesting', we've heard one calling it 'boring'.

One criticism we think it is fair to level at the programme is it isn't making the most of the visual medium - 99% of the debate could quite easily be staged on the radio instead.