The ubiquitous Griff Rhys Jones's comedy panel series reaches its final episode tonight. Captains Marcus Brigstocke and Charlie Baker are joined by journalist Grace Dent and comedian Rob Rouse. As ever, their knowledge of recent history - and ready wit - are tested via a bewilderingly broad range of archive footage.Andrew Marszal, The Daily Telegraph, 19th July 2012
Although its derivative format and focus on the relatively recent past makes it feel at times a little like Have I Got Some Really Very Stale News for You, when it hits its stride this Griff Rhys Jones-chaired comedy quiz can provoke an occasional belly laugh. Tonight, comedians Robin Ince and Andi Osho join the reliably acerbic team captains Marcus Brigstocke and Charlie Baker, attempting to answer random questions on a wide range of tentatively historical topics.Gerard O'Donovan, The Daily Telegraph, 26th June 2012
Comedian, TV presenter and 'renaissance man' Griff Rhys Jones on getting rich, his desire to be liked, and the 'love of a good woman'.Griff Rhys Jones, Big Issue, 19th June 2012
Yes, it's yet another panel game, although given that this series is only four episodes long rather than the conventional six, you can't help but think Channel 4 don't have much faith in it.
Hosted by Griff Rhys Jones and featuring team captains Marcus Brigstocke and Charlie Baker, A Short History of Everything Else uses old film footage to ask questions about recent history, from the famous to the obscure.
Watching this show, I can't help but think that it's just too much like Have I Got News for You. The key difference, though, is that the questions are too old to be satirical enough and the set is a bit more high-tech. This one actually features TV monitors rather than just turning boards!
Most of the humour in the show come not from the footage, but the panel insulting each other and trying to mock Rhys Jones (mostly over an old beer advert he did). That's all well and good, but it'd be much better if they could get more funny still from their video archives.
If I were a betting man, I'd say before long this show will be history...Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 18th June 2012
There's currently a bit too much quiz in the mix and not quite enough banter, though Marcus Brigstocke warmed up nicely and the clip researcher had done a pretty decent job.Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 14th June 2012
If A Short History... is really to catch fire, the questions and clips definitely need to contain more surprises.James Walton, The Daily Telegraph, 14th June 2012
The last time I saw Griff Rhys Jones on television was during the Jubilee pageant, when he was meandering up the Thames in a motor launch. I thought he looked miserable then, but that was nothing compared to how fed up he appeared presenting the first episode of the comedy panel quiz show, A Short History of Everything Else (Channel 4). Griff's script opened with: "We're off down memory lane without a seat belt ... because we didn't have to wear them in those days" and went downhill thereafter. His rictus smile throughout was almost certainly pain, though it would be more charitable to put it down to professionalism.
It wasn't just the script that was desperate: it was the concept as well. It was as though someone in the commissioning department had watched a couple of episodes of Have I Got News For You on Dave and come up with the brainwave of dispensing with topicality and making a news show that would feel like a repeat the first time you watched it. From round to round, the format never changed; Griff would make some crap gags to introduce a sequence of archive footage before inviting the two team captains - Marcus Brigstocke and Charlie Baker - along with guests Micky Flanagan and Kirsty Wark to make their own crap gags. I guess it was cheap, but it wasn't funny.
Brigstocke looked for a moment as if he thought he had actually wandered on to the set of a HIGNFY repeat as he gave a passable imitation of an extremely grumpy Paul Merton, looking permanently pissed off and not laughing at anyone else's jokes. But, on reflection, he was probably just annoyed he too had let himself be talked into signing up for such a turkey.
Satire just doesn't work on 30 year-old archive footage. Margaret Thatcher gags stopped having any edge the moment Ben Elton started making them in the 1980s. As for the old clips of Elton John having a tantrum and the 70s beer adverts ... For what it's worth, Charlie and Kirsty won by 15 points to 14. The result might seem rather more relevant in five years though, after the show has been repeated a few times.John Crace, The Guardian, 14th June 2012
It's not quite as good as the 'Big Three' of quiz 'banter' - Have I Got News For You, QI, and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, but it's still early days. Marcus Brigstocke and Charlie Baker have yet to establish a comedic rapport as team captains, but this does take time.George Wilkinson, On the Box, 13th June 2012
The past catches up with the present for Griff Rhys Jones as host of a panel show that grapples with recent history.Griff Rhys Jones, The Daily Telegraph, 13th June 2012
A sort of Have I Got News for You from Yesterday, this comedy panel game hosted by Griff Rhys Jones must have sounded a winner when it was first pitched. The idea is for panellists to identify past events (such as the Newbury Bypass protest, the furore over Cabbage Patch dolls) from archive footage and then make witty remarks that will win them random points. It takes a while to warm up (as the teams get into the swing of it, the f-word rate rises), but even then it's more of a wry smile than a guffawing kind of show.Jane Rackham, Radio Times, 13th June 2012