TV Review: 24 Hours To Go Broke, Dave

Baddiel Herring

Is it decadent post-imperialist arrogance or dicking about in the name of entertaining telly? That was my first thought when I started watching 24 Hours To Go Broke, Dave’s latest comedy travelogue series in which celebrities – mostly comedians – visit various parts of the world with a suitcase full of bank notes and have to spend them in a day or face a horrible forfeit. Imagine a cross between Kiefer Sutherland’s current TV thriller and the movie Brewster’s Millions, but with more laughs and, it has to be said, more aren’t-foreigners-funny? scenes.

In the first instalment David Baddiel and Richard Herring enjoyed a day trip to Armenia. I say enjoyed, but some of the food they ate when they tried to offload some of their £8000 made bushtucker trials seem appetising. The problem they had was that Yerevan, the capital city, was absurdly cheap. Even the most expensive coffee in the world - the beans are shat out by cats to make them tastier apparently – was only £12 a cup. It was a very small cup though. Maybe they could have had two each. Richard Herring cleverly asked for ideas on Twitter. Perhaps he could have spent the money by leaving his data roaming on all day, but I suppose the rules wouldn’t allow that.

So as the clock ticked they ping-ponged around the strangely quiet city trying to throw money at their problem. If they failed they were told they would have to do some sweaty Armenian grappling and not necessarily with each other. They had their portraits painted by a woman who was Armenia’s number one David Baddiel fan (though maybe Armenia’s only David Baddiel fan) and they bought some tat off a passing babushka. In fact they gave the old lady so much money for some dodgy DVDs it looked as if she had rushed back home to get some more junk to flog them.

In a bar David Baddiel spotted a (very poor) lookalike and had his photo taken with him and paid him handsomely for the privilege. They were then taken to a fortune teller who flicked hot wax on Richard Herring but was unable to predict much because, she suggested, he was a non-believer. Baddiel was told he was scared of a big fat man. Maybe she has met his agent. 

The whiff of Borat did hang heavy over the documentary occasionally, but it mainly steered clear by being relatively tasteful. Presumably the rules said that the duo were not allowed to spend the money on prostitutes. Instead they seemed to chose to spend the night together in the most expensive room of the best hotel in town. Richard Herring - who we don't see nearly enough of on television – looked particularly fetching in his dressing gown and slightly girly with his long flowing locks. Though after ordering room service and rolling about on the bed in a purely platonic manly way they quickly headed out on the town again in search of expensive kicks.

This was all good fun, though it was hard at times to get a handle on the chronology. At one point it was dark and they were blowing their wad in a casino, soon afterwards it was light and they were putting on an open air show. Maybe the show was staged at dawn - hence the low attendance, As noted earlier, the city was eerily quiet. In fact during one scene that Baddiel lookalike could be spotted in the foreground. Either he was stalking them, Yerevan is very underpopulated indeed or there is just sod all to do unless two comedians with a suitcase of bank notes roll into town.

As the clock counted down they panicked and started handing out money willy nilly to various bemused Armenians. In the end they bunged the last few coins into he hands of a very confused man and managed to avoid having to do any Armenian grappling. Instead they were given a prize of congealed lamb in a bowl of yellow broth. Baddiel tucked in, while Herring looked as if he would have preferred some sweaty wrestling. So, decadent post-imperialist arrogance or docking about in the name of entertaining telly? Probably a bit of both.

View 24 Hours To Go Broke online here until May 20.

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