Seriously, these super-rich show offs are comedy gold: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night's TV
How'd You Get So Rich?
Guilty pleasures. Television does them so well, shows that hold you entranced but, once they’re over, leave you feeling slightly mucky for watching.
How’d You Get So Rich? (C4) is as shamefully satisfying as eating ice cream from a plastic tub, on the sofa, with your fingers. It’s bad, but sometimes that’s great.
The premise is simple. Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan spends a day with ostentatiously and eccentrically wealthy characters, poking a little fun at them and finding out how they came by their millions.
How’d You Get So Rich? is as shamefully satisfying as eating ice cream from a plastic tub, on the sofa, with your fingers. It’s bad, but sometimes that’s great
Ryan pretends to mock. She peers inside the gaudy supercars on the King’s Road in Chelsea, and sips champagne at a barefoot party on a billion-pound yacht in Monte Carlo harbour, cooing praise with deadpan irony.
Sitting in an electric blue Bentley with multi-millionaire plumber Charlie Mullins, she flatters him, ‘You’re like James Bond!’ At 64, with a blond thatch and skin like stretched leather, Charlie is no 007, of course — he looks more like a Cliff Richard wannabe.
But we’re not here really to scoff at the vulgar rich. We’re here to ogle. Ryan can barely hide her relish as she surveys the spectacular Thames view from Charlie’s penthouse, and when he flies her to Marbella in a private jet to go shopping for a villa, she’s panting with pleasure.
Channel 4 is developing a clever line in these faux-satirical shows. The half-hour series Travel Man sees comic actor Richard Ayoade taking weekend breaks in the world’s most cultured cities, and complaining about everything he sees. The joke is that we know he’s having the time of his life — he just won’t admit it.
Ryan has uncovered an even juicier source of material. There’s no end to the number of super-rich show-offs willing to be sent up, in exchange for a chance to flash their tawdry glitter on TV.
And Katherine will never tire of cosying up to them. Her childish excitement when she spotted Prince Albert of Monaco on the yacht was unfeigned — she’s a sucker for royalty.
In last night's episode Katherine Ryan spent a day with multi-millionaire plumber Charlie Mullins (both pictured)
The only grown-up on the show was ten-year-old Isabella Barrett, who wears make-up like a woman in her 40s and runs three successful fashion and jewellery lines for pre-teen princesses.
Isabella, a beauty pageant star since she was old enough to walk, made her first million by the time she was six. Now her parents won’t let her know exactly how much money she has in the bank.
Sensibly, she thinks the cash doesn’t really matter, and her ambition when she’s older is to be a teacher. No millionaire could have bought the look of bafflement on Ryan’s face at that. It was priceless.
Money can’t buy the chemistry between the all-star cast in Broadchurch (ITV) either. Too often, the clash of egos and petty scene-stealing on a big-name production ruin the drama, but here the famous actors work together beautifully.
A stand out scene in Broadchurch was a confrontation between Olivia Colman, as Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller, and Lenny Henry (pictured), playing an obnoxious shop boss
Stand-out scenes included the anguished conversation on the beach between Julie Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Parish, as the rape victim Trish and her slippery best friend, Cath.
Also brilliant was the confrontation between Olivia Colman, as Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller, and Lenny Henry, playing an obnoxious shop boss who seemed to think women were assaulted only when they asked for it.
The lingering repercussions of a boy’s death in the first series drag the story backwards.
A fresh start would have been better. But with the turbocharged cast blazing away on all 12 cylinders, it doesn’t matter.
DAFT IDEA OF THE NIGHT: Among the prize ninnies on Meet The Lords (BBC2), Lord Blencathra stood out for his idea of building a 30ft Portakabin complex in Dean’s Yard, Westminster Abbey, as a temporary parliament. Ludicrous.
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