Newest Review: ... why the BBC have so many shows which involve comedians talking about the week that was. There's Have I Got News For You, Mock the Week (... more
Russell Howard's own TV Show
Russell Howard's Good News
Member Name: cerys82
Russell Howard's Good News
Date: 05/01/10, updated on 09/01/10 (272 review reads)
Advantages: Entertaining, funny
Disadvantages: A bit hit and miss in places. The stand-up on the Extra show does not always work
Russell Howard has enjoyed a massive amount of success considering his age, although he has been on the stand-up scene for a decade. His tours sell out and his cheeky chappy persona has proved very popular on Mock The Week. Therefore it is perhaps not a surprise that he has been given his own series by 'youth orientated' channel BBC Three. The series itself has proved very successful at one stage gaining more viewers week on week.
The premise of the show is simple, Howard introduces clips from news stories of the week/time and adds jokes to them, introduces sketches involving himself or entertaining clips from the UK or world news or from the internet. Some of these are included after being suggested by the public to the shows microsite on the main BBC website. The onus however, is that the stories are either funny or uplifting. On some episodes he also has a guest from a news story of the week and has to guess the story from asking the guest a number of questions about it. The show also has a sister show "Russell Howard's Good News Extra" which is the original show with a guest stand-up performing for 15 minutes at the end. This is normally shown on BBC Three in the days following the original broadcast.
It has just been confirmed that the show will be returning for a second series.
The stories featured come under any number of subjects which are all defined by a short animation eg politics, science, animals, children and so on.
It is fair to say that this is on the better end of BBC Threes output. However, a lot of your enjoyment comes from how much you enjoy Russell Howard's schtick. As a rule the footage shown is funny as is the material that Russell performs straight to camera, however the sketches are a bit hit and miss - probably because of his professional leanings which are more towards stand-up. Also, the section where Russell has to guess the involvement of a surprise guest in a recent good news story is quite weak, and a little bit cringeworthy. It has to be said that it is quite nice to see a show which has such a positive outlook without being either shallow or too 'happy clappy.' He tends to end the show with a really uplifting story which might otherwise have been overlooked.
I tend to watch the "Extra" version of the show, as I am a big fan of stand-up. The acts that they tend to get are perhaps not well known in the public domain but well established on the stand up circuit, examples are - Phil Kay, Sarah Kendall, Craig Campbell, Tom Wrigglesworth and Wil Hodgson. It is sad to say, however that somehow it just does not quite work, and it is not the calibre or the material of the stand-ups necessarily (I can vouch for this as I have seen some of the comics featured live, and heard them do the same material and come across much better.) I think that it is just too forced, a lot of the time the audience seem to be slightly bemused by the comics on stage. This is a shame and a missed opportunity I feel because programmes like Comedy Store, Edinburgh and Beyond, Live At The Apollo and Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow have demonstrated that stand-up can be presented well on television.
In conclusion, this is probably unlikely to be anybody's favourite TV programme but it is well made, mostly very funny and with a charismatic host and also smarter than it looks.
Summary: An enjoyable show from BBC Three