TV Review: The Horne Section Television Programme, Dave

The Dave channel doesn't do variety shows usually, so it is no surprise that when they do do one they do it unusually. Putting their own distinctive spin on it, much in the same way that Taskmaster has put their distinctive spin on the celebrity game show. And, interestingly, it's the same fidgety, creative brain behind both shows, Alex Horne.

This one-off two-hour special fronted by Horne and his talented band was filmed at the London Palladium but that was pretty much where the similarities with previous variety shows started and finished. Horne played host but was certainly no tap dancing Bruce Forsyth. Everything Horne said and did came at you from an odd angle. There was wordplay but not quite in the Tim Vine style. There was chat with the guests but it was not straight or Alan Partridge comedic.

And those guests were very much a mixed bag. From the comedically conventional – Sara Pascoe and Joe Wilkinson (complete with carrot to help him read) – to cabaret regular Le Gateau Chocolat to the unexpected. It felt like a bit of a coup to have Nadine Coyle doing a singalong with Horne, who also sang a song with Sue Perkins about Perkins appearing on Win, Lose or Draw. 

Elsewhere the ever-present band did more than just play music. They featured in backstage sketches and had gags and spots in the limelight of their own. And Henry Hoover sang a song too. A revolving door entrance, which guests kept getting tangled in was presumably a nod to the original Sunday Night at the London Palladium television shows (ask your granddad). 

Horne doesn't feel like a natural front man for a conventional entertainment show – even though he looked the part until the camera panned down to reveal his gold trainers – but then again this wasn't a conventional entertainment show. A bit early Vic Reeves, a bit Harry Hill, but, in the end very much Alex Horne. And very much Dave.

Watch on UKTV Play here.

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