Last Thursday I took refuge in Radio 4's Afternoon Theatre, The Hamster, by Anders Lustgarten, a comic fable, about a man who buys his wife a special hamster. They have chosen to have no children and live in an upmarket gated development where the rules forbid all pets. This one grows bigger than a very large dog and becomes an object of veneration to world wide hamster fans who flock to visit it, photograph it, pay good money for half an hour alone with it. Busy as I was making a Dundee cake according to the free Daily Telegraph book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (excellent recipe, but allow rather more baking time than he does) I grew uneasily suspicious that this hamster thing was some kind of peculiar kinky metaphor. As I didn't like the characters, the squeaky hamster or the many mentions of its giant droppings, I switched off.Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 6th December 2011
Little Karen gets the better of a charity mugger in tonight's episode that also sees Pete and the boys turning their hands to domestic chores while Karen and her mum enjoy some quality mother and daughter time together.
Karen is at that age where she's starting to take an interest in fashion and make-up, thanks to her friends' irritatingly well-groomed and glamorous mum, while Sue is at that age where she really can't be bothered with it at all.
Meanwhile, as Ben prepares dinner for the very first time in his life, you might be struck by how much he looks like a pint-sized Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Needless to say, this similarity doesn't extend to his cooking.Jane Simon, The Mirror, 9th September 2011
You may be forgiven for thinking you'd somehow slipped through a hole in the space-time foam if you tuned into BBC Two at 10pm - as a new episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks aired with Simon Amstell at the helm and Russell Brand, restored to lascivious form, as a team captain.
The episode was discarded during the furore over Russell Brand's 'Sachsgate' scandal in 2008 and it seems the BBC only saw fit to air the Buzzcocks episode - shot around the same time - some two years later.
It was rather nostalgic to see a rakish Brand on our screens again leaping about energetically and humping female panellists.
It shouldn't be a prerequisite for a comic to be single-and-ready-to-mingle, but he carved a persona for himself so fixated around sex and promiscuity that it remains to be seen if his act will be as successful now he is Mr Katy Perry.
For once in his life the attention (and the laughs) were not directed at Brand however.
Buzzcocks has been ailing somewhat since the exit of its acid-tongued host Simon Amstell and this episode reminded us exactly why.
Be it his surrealist remarks aimed at guest Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall ('Hugh is it true you keep a pork chop in your pocket at all times?') or his cruel but hysterical volley of zingers aimed at Rachel Stevens, Amstell more than stole the show, displaying a fast wit that Brand's theatrical way with words could not match.
One highlight even saw Amstell impersonating Brand's Ponderland demeanour, gesticulating wildly with his limbs and talking in riddles, which, in fairness, Brand took very well.
Both comedians however showed off their talents and reminded us why at its height Buzzcocks was so much sharper than the slew of mildy amusing panel shows such as Mock The Week and 8 Out Of 10 Cats that our screens are now littered with.
With Amstell's subsequent sitcom Grandma's House flying under the radar somewhat and Brand off playing himself in Hollywood movies, I just hope we haven't lost these two comedic talents for good.Christopher Hooton, Metro, 20th January 2011
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, protector of poultry, guardian of gourds and foragers' friend, only gets picked for panel shows because he doesn't kick up a stink when comedians tease him for being a wet hedge-muncher. Here, though, his sense of self-humour is tested to the max when he reads out the line, "Occasionally, I put Marmite on my face and let my dog lick it off." If Hugh's telling the truth, he's an even better sport than we've given him credit for. But, all angles considered, we watched hoping it was a fib. The alternative is just too creepy. Also guesting is Miranda Hart who, thankfully, gets through the half-hour without once referencing her boringly self-deprecating belief that she looks like a man. Best in show is David Mitchell's fight with Rhod Gilbert over the aforementioned yeast-based spread.Ruth Margolis, Radio Times, 27th August 2010
In tonight's episode of the comedy panel show, guests Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Rufus Hound, Miranda Hart and Rhod Gilbert compete to disentangle outlandish fact from fiction. Can it be true, for instance, that Fearnley-Whittingstall allows his dog to lick a well-known yeast extract spread off his face? Has Hound visited every pub called The Red Lion inside the M25, apart from four? Comedian Rob Brydon is the host, with David Mitchell and Lee Mack as the team captains.Ceri Radford, The Telegraph, 27th August 2010
Jon Culshaw (Dead Ringers) and Debra Stephenson (Frankie Baldwin in Coronation Street) join forces in this new sketch show featuring their range of almost flawless impersonations. With his brilliant George W Bush on Dead Ringers, Culshaw has already established himself as a John Sessions for the Noughties. It's remarkable, though, that Stephenson hasn't unveiled her impersonating skill until now. She does a mean (in both senses) Anne Robinson, and performs some impressive facial gymnastics as a hyperventilating Davina McCall getting so excited over a bedtime story she ends up upside down. As is eternally the way with these shows, the quality of the jokes lags behind the success of the impressions themselves. The sight of Culshaw and Stephenson as Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley on the sofa of The One Show is as banal as the original - though it's made up for by Culshaw's superbly dead-eyed Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall barbecuing a polecat on Autumnwatch in front of Stephenson's Kate Humble. Most impressively of all, Stephenson nails the voices of not just one but both Minogues - Kylie as an irrepressibly sunny little pixie, and Dannii a steely, glacial automaton.Robert Collins, The Telegraph, 31st October 2009