TV Review: Al Murray V Nigel Farage: The Battle for South Thanet, Dave

Al Murray

Unless you’ve spent all day in the pub you will know that Al Murray will not be taking up a seat in Westminster. But the Pub Landlord has left behind a legacy of sorts. A fun campaign that highlighted some of the absurdity of the electoral system and this entertaining fly-on-the-hustings documentary. 

The format of Amanda Blue’s film is very straightforward as it follows Murray through the process of attempting to become MP for South Thanet from registration to election day. Murray, of course, ought to be good when it comes to bantering with the common man and woman, he does it brilliantly at his gigs. Though, as it happens he pulls his punches a little in the Thanet streets, having genuine chats a lot of the time rather than taking the piss. 

People are certainly curious about his policies – bricking up the Channel Tunnel and beer for 1p a pint generally go down well, but everyone seems confused by his “free dogs” stance. Is he giving canines away or letting them out of prison?

Enter his political advisor Matt Forde, the Mandelson to his Blair. But things don’t quite go to plan. In one hilarious scene they study the polls and Murray has gone down in the ratings – so low in fact that they can’t even calculate a percentage. Worse is to come when Forde gives the Landlord a makeover, trying to get him to swap the 'bus driver’ maroon blazer for a lemon turtle neck…

As polling day approaches the Guv certainly gets the press whipped up. They come to see him at an airfield when he plans to parachute into Kent. Except that he is too heavy to jump: “healthy and safety gone mad”. He is accused of talking down to the electorate during a pub debate, which is hard to argue with as he is standing on a stage above the crowd at the time.

Just because we know the result doesn’t stop this from being very watchable. We also learn a bit about the Landlord’s family. Judging by a group photo he looks eerily like his Uncle Barry, who used to pop around quite often. Sadly the process didn’t end in victory, but I won’t forget the Guv's description of the noise Thanet’s gulls make in a hurry: “like a call to prayer, but for chips."

Watch it on catch-up here.

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