TV Review, Micky Flanagan's Detour De France, Sky 1

Micky Flanagan

After Jon Richardson and his wingman Matt Forde going in search of the meaning of life on C4 recently, Micky Flanagan teams up with his mate, brickie Sean Lynch, for his own comedy travelogue about, well, I’m not quite sure. But it is great fun trying to work it out.

Flanagan's series is very loosely about him getting on his bike and doing a bit of the Tour de France around France. But the “Detour” in the title is the key word here. The first episode is largely taken up with Flanagan and Lynch donning their lycra and meandering around Belgium. You can’t knock the logic of course. Even the Tour De France itself has ventured as far as England. At least Flanagan, who has said in interviews that he is not a big fan of travelling, crossed the Channel.

He might be no Michael Palin, but Flanagan does hit it off with the locals, whether it is doing a little bit of bum-numbing pedalling over cobbles, trying out the strong Belgian beer or visiting a farm where the tractor still has a habit of uncovering live bombs from WW1. His French is pretty hopeless at the start – and not much better at the finish – but a bit of arm-waving and gesticulating seems to get the message across. The farming family keeps the live ammo in a cage near their house. Flanagan, in that trademark dry East End wit of his, suggests that if he lived there he’d keep the explosives as far away as possible.

Unlike the Richardson/Forde programme, Flanagan’s travels do not go particular deep, apart from towards the end of the first episode when the duo visit some war graves and contemplate the enormity of the slaughter in WW1. But they are soon back to their jokey, blokey selves. It's more of a "jolly" than a "journey". A wisecrack here and a playful observation there keeps things chugging along nicely. It looks nice too, despite some pretty windy weather. It's not great art, but unlike the actual Tour de France it's no endurance test either.

Micky Flanagan's Detour De France, Sky 1 HD, 9pm, Mondays.

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