TV Review: Nick Helm's Heavy Entertainment, BBC3

Nick Helm

Nick Helm fans may recognise the title of this show from a BBC Comedy Feed one-off a couple of years back. That show started with Helm emerging from the boot of an old car – very Vic Reeves Big Night Out – this one feels like a very different variety beast altogether.

The croaky-voiced comic hasn’t torn up the comedy rule book, it’s more like he has glued lots of different rule books together to create a whole new type of variety show. So you get songs, jokes, hyperactive camerawork and a lot of sweat, alongside an intercut “making-of” fly-on-the-wall documentary which provides a critique of the show as it happens.

Devotees of Helm’s triumphantly shouty live shows will recognise much-loved elements, from the “do you like jokes?” routine to the lovesick poetry to the cuddle-on-the-floor moment. The action now happens in a dark, seedy nightclub, which feels just right.

Fellow comic/guitarist David Trent and band are there as his onstage musical sidekicks and there is an added barman to top Helm up whenever he needs a drink, which is quite often.

And, of course, there’s an obligatory moment where Helm reveals his sweaty belly, which I think he may have partly done to scare off anyone who thinks his tragic stand-up persona is like romantic cynic Nick from Uncle.

I did mention there is quite a lot of sweat and shouting in this didn’t I? Great fun, but how his voice will survive a whole series I don’t know. Possibly the funniest programme this month. Definitely the loudest. 

Nick Helm's Heavy Entertainment, BBC3, 10.30pm, Tuesdays. 

Read BTJ's 2013 nuts-deep interview with Nick Helm here.

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