TV Review: The Generation Game, BBC One

I probably have seen a worse television programme than The Generation Game but I have to be honest, nothing immediately springs to mind. I used to love the Bruce Forsyth version and I quite liked the Larry Grayson version. But this reboot fronted by Mel & Sue almost made me pine for the Jim Davidson version. I did say almost.

Everything seemed to be wrong with it for me. Even the time slot. Why was it going out on a Sunday evening and not in the classic Saturday night slot? Then there was the way they tried to update it. What was the point of Richard Osman and Lorraine Kelly chipping in from a sofa a the side of the stage? I assume there is some bylaw that says that Richard Osman has to be on television every night but his appearance here echoed his other main gig. Pointless.

As for Mel & Sue, their banter which worked so well on Bake Off seemed to be positively half-baked on The Generation Game from the very start when they tried to make some limp puns about Vegas before wheeling on Johnny Vegas. Did they really spend three years studying at Cambridge so that they could make smutty gags on prime-time television at the licence-payers expense (sorry if this is getting a bit Daily Mail, that's what this programme has driven me to)?

As for the games with members of the public competing to have a go on the conveyor belt they were a bit of fun but no more. Johnny Vegas made a brilliant teapot at the potter's wheel for them to copy - hey, the handle looks like a cock!  – and then later on they all made sausages, having been taught by the man who made the world's longest sausage. And, of course, sausages looks like cocks.

Elsewhere the contestants had to do some Bollywood dancing. I'll skim over any accusations of cultural appropriation. They were completely unrehearsed and i don't need to take their word for it, it looked like it too. Elsewhere the finalists acted in a playlet alongside Martin Kemp and Basil Brush. The RSC need not feel threatened.

Of course, you could argue that this is throwaway light entertainment, but it feels like an insult to light entertainment to me. You could say I'm not the demographic, but I don't usually have a problem with shiny-floored shows. Yet even Dec without Ant was more fun than this show. As one one point Johnny Vegas was about to pour some tea out of his newly thrown pot and Mel said "It hasn't even been fired". Maybe the person who came up with this woeful revamp should have been though.

Also Sunday, April 8, 8pm, BBC One.

Story: Good ratings, bad reviews...

Picture: BBC/David Venni


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