TV: Judge Romesh, Dave

There has been no shortage of television judges over the years. There is Judge Rinder and Judge Judy, but my favourite is probably Judge Nutmeg, Vic and Bob's dispenser of justice whose desk used to roam around the stage on wheels in Big Night Out. Now add Romesh Ranganathan to the list, who is pretty damn funny even though his desk never moves.

This is essentially a comic version of Judge Rinder/Judy, as if they weren't already comic enough. Ranganathan, fully robed up, is joined by scary bailiff Tom Davis and court note-taker (well, she has a typewriter in front of her) Kerry Howard as he passes verdicts on real people's real grievances.

Coming up in a future week is a celebrity beef between Bez and Shaun Ryder, but first up is a case that feels like Jeremy Kyle ought to step in. Sean can't stop buying bargains and sticking them in his man cave (not a euphemism) and it is driving his wife Hannah nuts. 

The audience is clearly on Hannah's side, booing skinflint Sean. "Guys this isn't Wrestlemania," says Ranganathan. I don't think this is how they keep audiences quiet at the Old Bailey.

The second case is more complex. Claimant Charles says that defendant Wez sold him a holiday in LA but when he got there it turned out he had been booked onto a course to teaching him how to chat up women. This prompts a bit more interaction as Charles has to show what he learnt by trying out some lines on Kerry Howard that promptly fall on stony ground. Davis has a much better line.

In fact Davis is such a big personality he almost upstages Ranganathan. But not quite. The ubiquitous TV star is in his element bossing the situation, banging his hammer and wondering why Sean would buy a children's halloween costume that doesn't fit any of his children.

Judge Romesh is an interesting set-up. BTJ commented a few weeks ago that Dave likes to stretch formats out for an hour that would be half an hour anywhere else. On this occasion it has kept to a tight, fast-moving 30-minute running time which feels just about right. It's harmless fun – I'm not sure if the verdicts are legally binding – I'm just concerned that the power might go to Ranganathan's head and he might start wearing those robes wherever he goes. And also carrying that hammer around with him.  

Judge Romesh, Dave, Wednesdays from August 8, 10pm.

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