TV Review: Jack Dee's Referendum Helpdesk, BBC2

Nobody seems to have told the person that did the opening credits for this comedy version of Question Time that it is about the EU. Instead subject titles such as “relationships” and “money” rolled past as if our host, serial cynic Jack Dee, was any old agony aunt. 

As it turned out the programme was very much about the Referendum. The first question asked: “Should Nigel Farage be on the £20 note if we leave?” The member of the public then provided his own punchline: “What’s more British than a pissed up ex-banker?” before being told to leave the funnies to the panel.

And the panel – Romesh Ranganathan, Katherine Ryan, Kerry Godliman and rock and roll cheesemaker Alex James – was pretty good at the funnies Even if sometimes they were so busy thinking up gags they didn’t really answer the questions. Godliman did at least remind me that if you fold a note the right way you can see the Queen’s bum. 

And then there was the elderly couple divided by Europe. She wants to remain, he wants to leave. Ryan had a constructive suggestion here. As they cancel each other out if neither of them vote they don’t need to waste their time going to the polling station. She then added tartly: “But I do think you should split up.".

Luckily there was a cheese expert on hand when a woman complained about wet mozzarella. Alex James revealed that he had once considered making mozzarella: “I was going to call it Wonderball.” 

if we vote to come out of the EU can we still enter the football? Shouldn’t we vote leave just to see what happens? Considering the programme is not scripted the panellists did well handling questions off the cuff, though I doubt if they helped make anything any clearer.

As the programme reached the end a woman with a penchant for wine and beer asked if she would need a visa to go on a booze cruise if we pulled out of Europe. She turned out to be a banker. Maybe we should put her on the £20 note.


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