The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game
Rory Bremner, Alexander Armstrong, Debra Stephenson. The Imitation Game starts Sunday 2nd September, 10.05pm on ITV. (C) ITV.

Has ITV’s new panel show left a good impression? The first episode shows promise.

Alexander Armstrong chairs, with regulars Rory Bremner and Debra Stephenson this week joined by Jess Robinson and Luke Kempner. There were plenty of rounds so there was a decent mixture of both people mimicked and comedy styles.

Of these games, clear highlights included the “Miscast Movies” round in which they remade films with new cast, with Stephenson and Kempner performing When Kermit Met Piggy. Yes, we do hear Miss Piggy faking it. There was also a Blind Date parody, with one person (Bremner) impersonating Christopher Biggins for the first time, a second (Kempner) doing a better impression of Biggins, and the third being the real Biggins. It certainly helps to show how good (and bad) the impressions are with the real man in the room. There was also some musical rounds as well, including the finale medley – which you suspect is just there to give Armstrong the chance to crowbar his musical talents into the show.

In terms of the downside, the main issue would be a lack of originality concerning some of the other rounds. The opening round featured impressions of people saying things they would never say. There is a similar misquotation round in BBC Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. Another game, where they have to add voices to silent film footage, is also similar to games that feature in Mock the Week and Whose Line is it Anyway?

However, this show seems to have the chance of becoming something big. Let’s see how it goes.