Paddy’s TV Guide: Review


Paddy’s TV Guide

Channel 4, Friday, January 18, 10pm

On his fine programme Comedy Vehicle, comedian Stewart Lee once wondered whether Channel 4 was the worse channel across the board, suggesting that E4 might trump it for levels of degradation. Channel 4 may be akin to a flood of sewage that comes unbidden into your home, he stated, but watching E4 is like actively constructing a sluice to let that sewage in.

No longer being in the E4 demographic, I haven’t seen any of its recent content and thus cannot pass judgement. But having watched Channel 4’s Paddy’s TV Guide, if Lee’s theory is correct, I shudder to think what bilge E4 would pump my way these days.

Lee also has a fantastic skit about the skull-crushing tedium of life in Britain’s provincial towns, where the star attraction at the local comedy club is Paddy McGuiness, from TV’s Max and Paddy.

Well lo and behold, the Paddy in question in Paddy’s TV Guide is indeed Paddy McGuiness, from TV’s Max and Paddy, and also host of TV’s inexplicably popular dating show Take Me Out.

No shock, then, to discover that Paddy’s TV Guide is television for the provincial town dweller, where dinner at a branch of Bella Pasta is deemed vaguely exotic. Here they all are in the audience, a collage of grins masking the repressed knowledge that they have years of soul-shattering existence ahead of them under the remorseless rule of The Cameronator.

See how they cheer as McGuiness enters, moving with the conviction of a reanimated corpse and stroking the same framed photograph of Jet from Gladiators that adorned Alan Partridge’s chest of drawers during his stay at the Linton Travel Tavern in I’m Alan Partridge. And it is rather cheerful to watch him tucking heartily into a burger and joking that it’s Bully from Bullseye when, as we now know, it’s far more likely to be the winner of last year’s Grand National.

Hear how they laugh at anything and everything: McGuiness gurning, McGuiness being mildly racist about Thai people, McGuiness being sat on by fat bloke clad in Lycra. Even McGuiness warning those with epilepsy to look away from the screen gets a solid titter. Epilepsy, eh! Ha…

The premise of Paddy’s TV Guide, in which the host presents a series of lamentable clips from wretched television shows, all on a set theme each episode, is of little consequence. What is remarkable is the line in the credits that tells us it was “Adapted from an original TV format by Paddy McGuiness and ITVâ€?.

Which means that either ITV thought the show was too substandard even for the dreck it fills ITV2’s schedule with, or Channel 4 actually paid good money to take it off its hands. Either way, shame on Channel 4. As Lee himself might say, to watch it really is the equivalent of letting somebody straddle your face and defecate directly onto your eyeballs.