TV Review: The Nightly Show, ITV1

Maybe the theme tune should have been Things Can Only Get Better. ITV1’s much-trailed attempt at a topical comedy and chat show five nights a week started with a plodding episode that was equal parts unoriginal and uninspiring.

Perhaps we can excuse it for being unoriginal as presumably it wants to emulate other hit shows such as James Corden’s show in America. In fact I did wonder why David Walliams, who guest-hosts the first week, took the gig. He hardly needs the ITV1 work to pay the rent. And, by the way, I like other things David Walliams has done. He just didn't seem very relaxed in this format.

It is difficult to know who to blame here. The writers on the show – people like Ged Parsons, the Dawson Brothers and Kevin Cecil – have a cast iron pedigree. But too often the gags played safe, even with the subject of the Oscars. In the sub-Graham Norton opening monologue, for instance, there was some mandatory Walliams-style camp humour and a compulsory Trump gag – a picture of a fish that looked like the President. Talk about fish in a barrel...

In fact at least Walliams put his own stamp on the show – albeit with some trademark quips about Simon Cowell and some cross-dressing, digitally inserting himself into the Emma Stone role in La La La Land in a clunky scene with Ryan Gosling. Fake news indeed. 

As for the guests, Martin Clunes didn’t really do much to write home about apart from plug Doc Martin, appear in a spoof ad for an East End eaterie and awkwardly read out some saucy fan fiction about him*. Nina Conti did a very quick bit of her stage act from inside a bag where you certainly can’t see her lips move before turning Clunes into a human puppet with the aid of a mask, which is always funny and god knows I’ve seen Conti – and Paul Zerdin – do it loads of times recently.

Twitter wasn’t very kind to the show either. @suebaggy wrote: "Glad to read on here I'm not the only one who thinks is utter crap. Bring back news at 10 !!!!!" Let’s put it down to teething problems. But if it is teething problems this baby is going to need a lot of very good parenting in the next few weeks…

The Nightly Show, Weeknights, 10pm, ITV1.

*Which, as some people noted on social media, was similar to Richard Herring reading from #dirtybritcomconfessions in his interviews.

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