THE SARAH MILLICAN TELEVISION PROGRAMME: Thursday 8th March, BBC2, 10pm
“If you had to have sex with a wild animal, what would it be?” Sarah Millican asks a woman in audience. “A lion, because it goes ROOAARR!” she says, while looking into a small hand-held camera (the Millicam!). The audience duly roar with laughter, despite the absence of a joke. Mind you it’s only slightly worse than some of the other low-brow and rather dated stuff that comes after. It’s also a bit ironic to see the comedienne allowing a recording device in the audience after all that Facebook business, but there we go.
Sarah Millican is undoubtedly a talented performer. Her stand-up has received decent reviews and she was voted Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008, but for some reason the material she peddles on BBC2 is dumbed down and often unfunny, which is a real shame. If stuff like this has a place on British television, it’s on BBC1 and certainly not BBC2, the home of rising comedy which is removed from the mainstream. There’s no problem with mainstream comedy – despite the sneers I always enjoyed My Family – but bad comedy is just bad.
The half hour show, which this week has an animal theme, is constructed as a stand-up/chat-show hybrid, so which Millican knocks out a few jokes and then welcomes a celebrity guest on to the stage. This week it’s Chris Packham, which is an odd choice, but nevertheless Millican’s banter with the Countryfile presenter provides the best section of the show.
It’s no surprise to see that the audience is mostly female and the material reflects that heavily. Millican fans will know that the comic’s speciality is self-deprecation and bad sex, yet it’s still quite disappointing to find that she clings to these subjects at every turn. “This week I learned that men like Match of the Day”, “I fancy Gorillas – well I like hairy men so it seemed like the next step!” Ha di ha. I suppose it all boils down to whether you think comedy is personal or not, but either way, this just doesn’t do it for me.