TV/Online Review: The Luke McQueen Pilots – Britain's Hidden Vampire Crisis, BBC Three/BBC One

Luke McQueen has made a bit of a name for himself in the past by doing audacious publicity stunts. At the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014 he told people he met that Frankie Boyle was going to do a one-off gig at the festival – then McQueen walked onstage to watch a packed house of horrified jaws drop in unison. He has attempted a publicity stunt in reverse for his first BBC Three run, protesting outside the BBC HQ demanding that people don't watch his programme and hoping, no doubt, that his pleas for a boycott will backfire.

In the first of three instalments he attempts to make a Stacey Dooley/Reggie Yates-style investigative documentary, deciding to lay bare the fact that there are 15,000 vampires stalking the UK at this very moment. Of course there aren't, but when he interviews vampire expert Nick Groom who mentions that there are around 15,000 people who dress like vampires he insists on getting the wrong end of the stick despite Groom's protests.

There's more than a hint of Diane Morgan/Philomena Cunk here in the long-suffering expert tolerating the idiot interviewer, as there also is in the way McQueen sets up his moody, atmospheric shots, skewering the pretentious tropes of the documentay format.

McQueen certainly has a fearless, watchable quality. At one point he stands in a crowded street shouting for the age of consent to be lowered. His theory is that if younger peple have sex there will be less virgin blood around for vampires to drink. Needless to say he gets a lot of odd looks. As he also does when he strips onstage during a gothy rock gig. He then gets annoyed when nobody seems to want to feast on his flesh (pictured).

Elsewhere he meets up with his father – played by comic Mark Silcox, who has pretty much cornered the TV market in awkward middle-aged men – for a personal account of his wife, McQueen's mum, being a victim of a modern day Dracula. Although maybe his mother wasn't a victim and just upped sticks because she could see that her son was turning into a twat.

McQueen doesn't exactly re-invent the spoof documentary wheel here, but he throws himself into the proceedings with gusto, nearly getting arrested outside Westminster when he tries to attract the attention of Theresa May. What this needs is a classic Ali G "is it cos I is black?" moment to make its mark. Maybe that will come in one of the other episodes due to be released soon. Unless McQueen can stop the BBC.

Watch here.

Picture: BBC/Talkback


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