Here's a sneering corrective if you're worried about all that enforced merriment to come. Sean Lock hosts this Christmas edition of the comic debate show. Plus there's the sight of Robert Webb, Seann Walsh, Jason Manford and Micky Flanagan acting like five argumentative, drunken uncles souring the mood at the family lunch.
Despite the debating society format, most topics dissolve into blokey, filthy banter - all right, they start out pretty blokey and filthy. You may not come away imbued with festive spirit, but at least Sean Lock reveals Santa's true appearance - a cross between the X-Men's Wolverine and Peter Crouch. Watch out for him this Christmas, kids!David Crawford, Radio Times, 22nd December 2011
"You never feel entirely secure and safe, but that's the psychology of comedians."Caroline Frost, The Huffington Post, 11th November 2011
Dave have decided to revive their panel show Argumental, but not to revive any of the regulars who appeared in the first three series, with John Sergeant, Marcus Brigstocke and Rufus Hound being replaced with Sean Lock, Seann Walsh and Robert Webb.
The main question with this change is, "Has it worked?" Well, in terms of banter between host and panel, it does seem to be better. I think that having a comedian rather than a journalist in the chair is going to increase the laughs, simply because Lock is more used to having to improvise on the spot, as well as being used to the panel show format as a captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats.
However, I've never really been keen on Webb's appearances on panel games. It doesn't seem to be his kind of format, unlike his comedy partner David Mitchell. I also think Walsh is the stronger performer, but despite this Webb won the first episode in the series...
The main highlight of the debut episode was guest Jimmy Carr having to argue that, "There's no place for women's sport on television," while standing next to Britain's only professional sumo wrestler, which is a rather terrifying prospect. You were just waiting for her to faux-lash out at him, but instead it was Walsh who offered to fight her.
I thought it was an OK debut, but it needs a few more episodes to bed in.Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 7th November 2011
Rejoining the depressingly interchangeable comedy panel show circuit, the show returns for a fourth series on Dave. As the self-professed "home of witty banter", it should really be what it does best, as witty banter is precisely what Argumental hopes to synthesise. And when the insufferable Russell Kane isn't speaking, it has its moments. Sean Lock looks comfy, having replaced John Sergeant in the host's chair, while Robert Webb and stand-up Seann Walsh take on the roles of the new team captains, replacing the outgoing Rufus Hound and Marcus Brigstocke. Jimmy Carr also guests.Ben Arnold, The Guardian, 3rd November 2011
If I'm going to win this series - and trust me, I am going to win even if it means carrying out some unspeakable sexual act on the highly-respected John Sergeant - I need victory in at least four of the last five shows.Marcus Brigstocke, UKTV, 5th October 2010
Folks, I'm not going to lie to you, I've never been a huge fan of Osama Bin Laden.Rufus Hound, UKTV, 28th September 2010
We must be nearing the point of critical mass at which there are more comedy panel shows than there are comedians. Argumental attempts, with intermittent success, to split the difference between Have I Got News For You and Mock The Week, by getting teams of the usual suspects to debate topics suggested by John Sergeant. Tonight, captains Marcus Brigstocke and Rufus Hound are joined, respectively, by comics Will Smith and Jimmy Carr. Subjects include sweatshops, face transplants, reality TV and homosexuality.The Guardian, 28th September 2010
In my last blog I vowed not to lose another show this series, but I realise now, after 6 shows, that's starting to sound about as believable as John Terry saying he's developed an allergy to ladies' front bottoms, and will, from now on, be known simply as 'that footballer with the impeccably classy family of law-abiding citizens.'Marcus Brigstocke, UKTV, 9th March 2010