Saturday night... The Marriage Ref. Last of the sizzling series. A landmark in television history. Will it come back? No.
But another rare chance to catch ubiquitous guest Sarah Millican and her dreaded Geordie wit. Which used to be quite funny... until she started appearing on every show in town.
"I can't believe you got divorced," gasped witless host Dermot O'Leary. I can. And I'm guessing Sarah's husband saw far too much of her. Like the rest of us.
Similarly over-exposed panel game favourite Micky Flanagan sighed: "I don't know why I'm here." Because Jimmy Carr and Jack Dee weren't around... and it was your turn on the rota. Same old faces... same old jokes.
As always, the contestants all loved each other deeply. But had some meaningless minor moan.
A dead show walking right from the start, this pointless pap was so stunningly dull it was shunted to a late night timeslot. Due to total lack of interest.Kevin O'Sullivan, The Mirror, 31st July 2011
The Marriage Ref is perplexingly bad. Couples arrive with a problem that is either banal (she won't tidy her room) or manufactured (he won't stop doing magic tricks), Jimmy Carr and Jack Dee try to be funny and Katherine Kelly makes inane side-chat, having signed one of those standard TV contracts in which a woman is required to be exactly as boring as her male counterpart is funny. Dermot O'Leary I can understand, he has the clean features for such mid-evening blather, Carr has always struck me as a man who would sell an organ if the price was right, but Dee? How broke can he be? Is he trying to set up an orphanage? What's going on?Zoe Williams, The Observer, 17th July 2011
What an appalling concept the programme has at its core. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing compelling about this series.Rachel Tarley, Metro, 17th July 2011
While we're on the subject, last night's misleading episode was full of couples who weren't married. It's not like it's a brilliant name for a show. So call it something else.Kevin O'Sullivan, The Mirror, 3rd July 2011
ITV are facing a crisis after their three flagship weekend shows - The Marriage Ref, Penn & Teller: Fool Us and Popstar to Operastar - suffered a ratings drop.Metro, 30th June 2011
A cracking start for ITV's new Saturday sensation The Marriage Ref... commanding an impressively tiny audience of 2.5million. The kind of ratings that would be just about respectable on a Tuesday afternoon. But for the weekend prime time "highlight" were nothing short of disastrous. Just axe it now.
Episode two was even worse than episode one. No mean feat. Unbelievably boring. No prizes, no serious marital disputes, Sarah Millican (again) and witless hollow-laughter host Dermot O'Leary. A genial guy who is simply not funny.
If you must waste good money on a feeble format, you might as well recruit someone who can make people laugh.Kevin O'Sullivan, The Mirror, 26th June 2011