TV Review: David Walliams & Friend with Sheridan Smith, BBC1

It is certainly not the most cutting edge comedy on the screen at the moment. Far from it. In fact the opening sketch this week in which Walliams changes swear words around (“duck off you annoying winkers”) to avoid offending viewers could have been an update of an old Ronnie Barker skit.

And yet of all the things Walliams has done on TV recently his sketch show is probably the thing that most suits him. Despite what some people might say on Twitter he is genuinely funny and has a healthy lack of vanity. And he was helped this week by Sheridan Smith who has talent to burn.

There were plenty of moments in this episode that were just plain old fashioned traditional funny. Walliams playing a hairy, gallumphing female body double for Smith in a Game of Thrones spoof, a send up of political correctness in an innuendo-laden Carry On pastiche (“your knob’s a bit stiff”). And Smith as a human Barbie, which I’m sure has been a genuine news item.

And some set-pieces did raise the artistic/comedy bar. Smith as a lovesick northern wife singing the praises of her sexgod hubby while he sat slumped on the sofa munching crisps. Or Smith as a chatty schoolgirl getting to grips with the phrase “back in the day”.

It would be easy to mock the easy game show spoofs and the repetitive one-note Middle Class Jeremy Kyle gag but there is actually a lot to like here. Walliams is in serious danger of over-exposing himself in the next few weeks (“ooh missus”) judging by how many Xmas shows he is appearing on, but I’d be happy to watch the rest of this series if the standard stays as high as this.

Fridays, BBC1, 9.30pm. Catch up here.



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