Press clippings Page 3

UKIP reports Have I Got News For You to the police

UKIP says comments made about Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You may hinder his chances of electoral success, thus breaking election broadcasting laws.

British Comedy Guide, 30th April 2015

As is always the way with sketch shows like Newzoids there were some hits and misses but on the whole there were more of the former than the latter. The highlights of episode one were North Korean light entertainment vehicle 'The Un Show' and a very funny sketch involving Andy Murray's wedding night. One thing I appreciated about Newzoids was the fact that it was written quite close to transmission so that the majority of the skits felt topical. At the same time this sometimes felt like more than hindrance than a help with the writing team picking a story then trying to work a joke around it. A prime example of this was the use of Nigel Farage's controversial comments at the leaders' debate which the writers turned into a stand-up comedy routine. This felt like an incredibly ill-judged sketch that wasn't as cutting edge as the writers thought it would be and instead it just felt a bit crass. I don't think Newzoids will have the same impact as Spitting Image partly because of the fact that it's going out at 9pm on Wednesday night. Whilst Spitting Image had somewhat of a cult appeal, Newzoids appears to be going for a more mainstream audience which is exemplified by the focus on the Jeremy Clarkson firing from a couple of weeks' ago. The attacks on the three main party leaders also felt a little tame with Ed Milliband's failure to eat a bacon sandwich and Nick Clegg's claims of abuse being two more examples of weak sketches. But I'm going to give Newzoids the benefit of the doubt for now as it must be hard to write a show of this nature and there were some sketches that gave me hope that Newzoids could at least turn into something that would be worth checking out on a weekly basis.

Matt, The Custard TV, 18th April 2015

Who says satire is dead? After this, I would imagine just about everybody.

According to Jon Culshaw, one of the prime movers in ITV's new puppet-CGI farrago Newzoids

  • , this isn't just Spitting Image revisited because "the puppets have got more of a spikiness, more of an edgy exaggeration to them." You think? One other difference he forgot to mention was that Spitting Image was often really rather good.

    Where did it all go wrong? Of course, Spitting Image profited hugely from being the product of the Thatcher era, when the political battle lines were starkly drawn and the whiff of anarchy and grapeshot was in the air. Now we've entered an insipid (yet disturbing) era in which politicians posture, bluster and say anything that might nudge the all-powerful opinion polls half a percentage point in their direction. Conviction is dead, and everybody has fired off their personal opinions all over Twitter before the Newzoid scriptwriters have managed to pull the caps off their biros. And besides, doesn't the EU make all the big decisions for us anyway?

    Take out the ads and Newzoids only last about 23 minutes, but even so it could hardly drag itself to the finishing tape. The team had laboured hard to draw up a checklist of likely targets, but then couldn't think of anything satirical to say about them. Ed Miliband appeared as a gormless geek with Ant and Dec (or perhaps it was vice versa). A barely-recognisable David Cameron was carried around like Nero in a sedan chair, talking like Ken Clarke impersonating the Duke of Kent. And why have him saying "get me to a hospital, a private one obvs" when his use of the NHS is well documented?

    There was a sketch called "Mrs Crown's Boys", in which the Queen and Prince Philip kept saying "feck", and we had a pantomimic Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond singing "sod the English". It looked as if there might be a daring moment coming up when we saw a Muslim couple worrying about their son joining Isis, but it stopped before anything controversial happened. Nigel Farage was depicted as a stand-up comic with a fag and a pint of beer. Then Gary Barlow sang a song about not paying tax. It was like Anti-Pointless, where you had to find the laziest, most obvious answers that everyone else had already thought of.

  • Adam Sweeting, The Arts Desk, 16th April 2015

    Al Murray sues Nigel Farage

    Al Murray is suing Nigel Farage. Lawyers have been called to the bar after the UKIP leader accused the Landlord of breaking strict election rules by spending too much cash on his campaign.

    Colin Robertson, Sun Nation, 2nd April 2015

    As a younger show with an "open door" submissions policy - meaning that anyone can send in material for consideration - the topical sketch series Newsjack (Radio 4 Extra, Thursday) ought to be edgier, weirder, less formulaic than The News Quiz; but ends up, somehow, being just as complacent. Currently fronted by the comedian Nish Kumar, with assistance from a revolving cast of comics and actors, it's one of a small group of original, non-archival series on 4 Extra.

    This week's half-hour instalment was dispiriting in the way that only really unfunny comedy can be. A skit about a plane that had been forced to land at Heathrow because of a broken lavatory careered out of the radio and landed with a tin clunk on the floor. The nadir was reached during a skit about politicians doing drugs, in which Nicola Sturgeon was represented by someone doing a generic Scottish accent, David Cameron by someone who sounded vaguely like Ed Miliband, Ed Miliband by someone who sounded like a young Janet Street-Porter, and Nigel Farage by a woman making no attempt to do an accent at all.

    Why does BBC radio so consistently fudge this kind of thing? Neither series is doing anything that pushes a boundary, finds an edge, or ventures anywhere outside of an ideological comfort zone. Chris Morris's On the Hour, commissioned by Radio 4 nearly 25 years ago, retains more bite in a single sketch than they managed across an hour of broadcast time. Here's hoping it doesn't take another quarter-century for the BBC to try something different.

    Pete Naughton, The Telegraph, 25th March 2015

    Video: Pub Landlord Al Murray campaigns in South Thanet

    Comedy candidates are a great feature of British elections and this year is no different.

    But rarely have these candidates ever attracted as much attention as the Pub Landlord Al Murray who is standing is South Thanet in Kent.

    He just happens to be up against another beer-loving character by the name of Nigel Farage.

    Adam Fleming went along to his campaign launch.

    Adam Fleming, BBC News, 15th March 2015

    Al Murray to publish a political tract

    Pub Landlord Al Murray has signed a book deal to publish his political manifesto. Let's Re-Great Britain will be released on April Fool's Day - a month before he stands for election in Nigel Farage's constituency.

    Chortle, 5th March 2015

    Radio Times review

    Political prankster Jolyon Rubinstein from The Revolution Will Be Televised tries making a serious documentary. He ask why young people are not voting -- apathy, disenchantment, Russell Brand...? But what can be done to renew interest in the democratic process? While he does talk to politicos Vince Cable, Len McCluskey of Unite and, er, Peter Stringfellow, he can't resist a stunt and there are some corkers.

    The game of cat and mouse with Nigel Farage is hilarious. But he wants to make a serious point: a distrust of politicians is actually feeding young people's marginalisation. His solution? Start a campaign to make lying to Parliament a criminal offence.

    Hannah Shaddock, Radio Times, 11th February 2015

    Al Murray hits the campaign trail in Thanet - video

    Al Murray, the Pub Landlord, hits the campaign trail in Thanet South, where he is standing at the general election against Ukip leader Nigel Farage. The comedian-turned-politician says he decided to run in Thanet, Kent, after hearing 'destiny's call, like a trumpet in the far distance'. Among his election promises are to brick up the channel tunnel and save Manston airport.

    The Guardian, 4th February 2015

    Mark Thomas: I want to do something different

    The news that Pub Landlord is to contest this year's election in Nigel Farage's constituency might be blurring the distinction between comedy and politics, but Mark Thomas has been traversing the line between the two since his performance career began, with serious intent.

    Tommy Holgate, Chortle, 23rd January 2015

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