Jimmy Bullard

ITV to rest Play To The Whistle panel show

ITV will reportedly not be commissioning a fourth series of sports-based panel show Play To The Whistle, however the format may occasionally return for one-off specials.

British Comedy Guide, 6th September 2017

An obvious attempt to capitalise on the success of Sky One's superior A League of Their Own, Play to the Whistle had none of that show's charm or boyish humour. Part of the reason for this was the bizarre decision to have Holly Willoughby host the show which I don't think suited her girl-next-door style. Indeed, I found that she failed to make any of her scripted lines remotely funny and her attempts to act like one of the boys fell flat. In my opinion Play to the Whistle would've been a lot better had team captain Bradley Walsh taken up hosting duties. As anybody who watches The Chase knows, Bradley Walsh is a fine anchor and he was the stand out performer against a mediocre group. The only other highlights were provided by Jimmy Bullard who was the show's recurring character, often competing against team members in a number of challenges. Bullard, who was the best contestant on last year's I'm a Celebrity, would've made a better team captain than the dull Frank Lampard and I do feel the roles on the show definitely need a rethink. The other problem was that each round didn't last very long meaning that it was hard to play along at home or indeed root for either team. One example saw comedian Rob Beckett take on Bullard in a hurdles race which lasted all of about thirty seconds and provoked no laughter to speak of. There was also very little humour provided by the opening five minutes of banter the majority of which didn't do much for the overall feel of the show. At the end of the day, for a programme that's meant to have comedy at its centre, there was nothing about Play to the Whistle that was very funny. I do feel that if Walsh had replaced Willoughby and Bullard had taken his place at least there would've been a bit more fun. But as it was Play to the Whistle is one of those shows that has been written by committee and looks destined to join the host of Saturday night shows that eventually sunk without a trace.

Matt, The Custard TV, 18th April 2015