TV Review: Harry Hill's Alien Fun Capsule, ITV1

I was so distracted by the recurring car crash of The Nightly Show that a much better new ITV1 comedy series passed me by this week. Harry Hill's Alien Fun Capsule kicked off on Thursday evening and looks set to recapture the glorious insanity of TV Burp.

The programme is very, very, very loosely a panel show, in which contestants choose items to be sent to aliens to show them that humanity does not deserve to be annihilated. But one aspect of the programme seemed to have been overlooked in the execution. As Hill himself muttered during the mayhem: “Probably should have some point scoring, in case we try to sell it abroad.”

Instead the guests - all extremely good sports – simply grinned and mucked in as Harry mucked about. At one point they all attempted to recreate the act of old variety performer Bob Blackman, who used to sing Mule Train while hitting his head with a tin tray. If points had been awarded Patrick Robinson from Casualty would have picked up the most. And also the most bumps after repeatedly whacking the tray on his bald head. 

Kelvin Fletcher from Emmerdale was also game for a laugh and chuckled along as a montage of clips of him in not-many-clothes was aired. But it was proper comedians Josh Widdicombe and Sara Pascoe who dished up the most laughs. Firstly during a class-based debate about the difference between clotted cream and cream that can be squirted, prompted by a clip of Widdicombe going all Devonian on Countryfile. Hill also pointed out that Widdicombe was the original model for the Cabbage Patch Dolls, an inspired comparison he may never shake off.

But the best was saved until last. Following a clip of Sara Pascoe’s father during his 1970s heyday as a pop singer – he was vocalist in Flintlock, who barely had hits but were always on ITV kids shows – Sara dressed up as her dad and the rest of the panellists dressed as the rest of the band to recreate one of his songs. I thought carving the face of George Michael out of a kebab in the enjoyable Harry Hill’s Tea-Time on Sky was absurdism taken to its logical conclusion, but this seemed to go even further.

Widdicombe, sporting a curly wig and dodgy jumper for the routine, said: “This is the most fun I’ve ever had on TV” and it was easy to see why he felt that way. I’m not sure if this is going to win Hill any new fans but after a few years when he seemed to be casting around for a suitably workable post-Burp vehicle, he seems to have landed on his feet here. 

Harry Hill's Alien Fun Capsule, ITV1, Thursdays, 8.30pm. Catch up here.


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