Got an amazing party trick that has to be performed on television? Lee Mack's All Star Cast wants to hear from you...Steve Saul, BBC Comedy, 12th July 2011
Do you have a brilliant idea for a gadget or device that may or may not work? Good. Lee Mack's All Star Cast wants to hear from you...Steve Saul, BBC Comedy, 1st July 2011
Lee Mack's All-Star Cast is a total mess, albeit quite an enjoyable one. The show is an unwieldy composite of comedy, celebrity chat, sketches, stand-up, lookalikes and participation from the studio audience, elevated to the all-star status of the title.
That it works at all is largely down to the heroic efforts of Lee Mack, who grabs the somewhat feeble format by the throat and runs with it, firing off witticisms as he goes.
But there are times when sheer charm and bravado are not enough. As an interviewer Mack is absolutely terrible, suffering from a bad case of Jonathan Ross syndrome, in which a host is so busy thinking up a smart response that he doesn't actually listen to the guest's answer. No great loss when the guest is Shane Richie, going into tedious cod Cockney overdrive, but Henry Winkler may have had something interesting to say about playing The Fonz in cult TV show Happy Days.
Instead he was called upon to judge various competitions and provide a cameo in a shambolic sitcom-style sketch, acting beside the plank that is Ulrika Jonsson. Ulrika needn't prepare her BAFTA acceptance speech quite yet, but she threw herself enthusiastically into the part and proved fair game for several barbed gags at her expense.
Which is All Star Cast's other strength. It may never be accused of being slick and polished, but it does generate surprisingly large quantities of cosy goodwill.The Stage, 28th June 2011
He's a great stand-up and I love his sitcom, Not Going Out. So my expectations were already ridiculously high for Lee Mack's new talk show, Lee Mack's All Star Cast which made its debut on BBC 1, Friday night. I wasn't disappointed.
Despite the fact that it was all fairly shambolic and chaotic - like it had been shot and edited on a shoestring budget for Channel 5 - the strength of Lee Mack's character and his sharp Northern wit kept it entertaining and fast paced from beginning to end.
During the show guests Frank Skinner and Fern Britton were invited to guess who various audience members were supposed to look like and choose their most embarrassing stories - all very Graham Norton, though somehow much more engaging. Lee Mack was also great in his ability to take the piss out of his guests without them taking umbrage.
But without doubt the best bit of the show was the sketch which saw Mack in his bed sit trying to get Tess Daly to ditch her hubbie 'Peter Kay' and sleep with him while being serenaded by James Blunt taking off his monster hit, You're Beautiful.
It was all reminiscent of Eric Morecambe at his best (indeed there was an Eric Morecambe poster on the door of the bed sit). And Tess Daly's acting skills were a revelation. She could have found it all rather embarrassing but really went along with it.
Looking forward to the next one, though I hope they manage to sort out the editing!TV Scoop, 20th June 2011
In the unforgettable words of the Eagles, this could be heaven, or this could be hell; a Saturday night variety show that promises to "make stars of the audience". But wait! Lee Mack, a gifted, thinkson- his-feet stand-up and the funniest man on TV, is master of this particular carnival, and he's as far away from any egregious Mr Variety as you can get. The show is recorded just days before transmission, so it's still an unknown quantity, though a very brief taster tape from the pilot episode provides some clues, notably that Mack is the best thing about All Star Cast. He holds everything together brilliantly, even if it is a curious mixture of celebrity interviews (conducted by Mack), music, stand-up and comedy sketches with guests, which are notoriously difficult to get right. There's also a weird little interlude called "Famous for Fifteen Seconds", where members of the viewing public are invited to show us their party piece. In the pilot, it's a cheerful man from Gloucester who sings Summer Holiday backwards. Yes, really.Alison Graham, Radio Times, 18th June 2011
Lee Mack, the comic and star of the sitcom Not Going Out, gets his own vehicle. It's a glorified chat show with celebrity guests, stand-up, sketch and musical acts - starting tonight with James Blunt. The gimmick is that the studio audience and viewers at home are invited to take part too. Mack makes amusing company but it's rather Graham Norton lite, and, similarly to John Bishop's Britain, which went out in the same slot, feels like a comedian carrying a slightly awkward format.Michael Hogan, The Telegraph, 17th June 2011