“We don’t have any questions, or even an intro…”, chuckles Alan Davies, shortly before his guests join him for the second series of As Yet Untitled. It’s the show that brings together some of Britain’s favourite comics for a few pints and directionless chit-chat. If you’re lucky you’ll hear them spill some juicy secrets from the past. If not, you’re still in for an hour of unscripted comedy gold.
Don’t worry if you failed to catch the first series, it’s a pretty easy concept to get your head around. An ensemble of comedians are gathered around an old table, plied with alcohol, and left to talk about pretty much anything and everything.
Although Davies is now more commonly known as the Yin to Stephen Fry’s Yang, the show is a great reminder of his natural ability for comedy, providing a throw-back to his earlier stand-up career. His role as guide, as opposed to presenter, means that he can surpass the usual question-answer routine, while also allowing for his usual moments of forgetfulness and confusion.
The first guests of series 2 are panel show favourites Jimmy Carr and Holly Walsh, Edinburgh fledgling Seann Walsh, and comedy veteran Tommy Tiernan. The usual mix of comedians old and new, Oxbridge and non-Oxbridge, and of various ages, always creates a great combination. It’s surprising to see how well they all bounce off each other in an unscripted environment, and this is part of the magic of the show.
Overall it’s the individual stories about how each comedian made their way into stand-up that really proves to be the gem of episode 1, giving you a unique insight into their lives that you often don’t get within the time restraints and promotional requirements of prime-time chat shows. Expect a mixture of university comedy troupes, an escape route from the mundanities of corporate life, and long-twisting tales of mishaps and marriages.
As Yet Untitled isn’t just a journey through the lives of Britain’s best comics. It’s an insight into the magic of old formats, long before Ross and Norton dominated the celebrity-sphere, and proof that they can still work.
As Yet Untitled will air on Dave, Thursday 6th January 2015.