TV Review: The Misadventures Of Romesh Ranganathan, BBC2

I guess the pitch for this three-part travel series was a slam dunk. Everybody's favourite sourpuss stand-up Romesh Ranganathan is the anti-Michael Palin, heading to uncharted territories around the world that TV's Mr Nice wouldn't touch with a sound man's boom microphone. As Ranganathan says in the intro most countries have been ticked off, if not by the ex-Python then by fellow comics such as Jack Whitehall and his dad. But not Haiti, where he spends a week in part one. And Ranganathan living dangerously for our amusement makes rather lovely, entertaining and educating TV.

Actually I'm not sure quite how much danger Ranganathan was in when making this programme, which is the sort of thing you'd expect Vice to be making but maybe on a slightly bigger budget. He has a fixer and a security guide in tow and apart from risking getting caught in gang warfare crossfire he seems pretty safe. You've gotta look after the talent after all. 

And also he's not that grumpy once he gets going. He even likes an overpoweringly bright shirt that is given to him although he suspects it isn't as made-to-measure as is claimed. And despite saying that he is going to say something is shit if he thinks it is shit he handles every situation with a reasonable amount of sensitivity. At one point he visits the pretty basic shanty town where his long-suffering amiable guide Jeremy (pictured) grew up and says it is one of the poorest areas he has ever visited. I expected a puchline such as "And I've been to Crawley" but it didn't come.

Elsewhere he gets a bit freaked out by the enduring popularity of voodoo on the Caribbean island, gets to do some rapping and there are some nice surprises towards the end too. "Had Jeremy explained this part of the challenge earlier I'd have told him to piss off," says Romesh when he has to leap off a stupidly high rock into a pool of water (pictured). Throughout his travels Ranganathan is an honest, mainly pensive if occasionally sarcastic guide, giving us a history lesson as well as a sense of place. Fans of his previous BBC Three series Asian Provocateur might miss not having his mum along for the ride but maybe taking Mrs Ranganathan to the scariest places in the world was considered not such a good idea. Or maybe Romesh was just worried about being upstaged.

Watch on catch-up here.

Pictured: Romesh Ranganathan with Jeremy Dupin at Bassin Bleu, Haiti

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