As a great fan of the Comic Guv'nor, Al Murray, the Pub Landlord as was, it grieved me to watch the man himself dig himself even deeper into the merde (French of course for mud) once again in return for pieces of TV company silver. "Time Gentlemen Please" had been a warning unheeded. More has meant worse, and here much much worse.
Murray, Perrier Comedy Award winner, had honed his Pub Landlord character to perfection over more than a decade. Ignorant, Patriotic and Franco-phobic in equal but very generous measures the Pub Landlord character engaged members of his stage show audience in conversation where the brilliance of Al Murray shone through in his instant unscripted devastating responses. Able indeed to carry out a radio interview wholly in character and out-wit late-wit Ned Sherrin the interviewer.
Alas, Murray whose ability to portray a hideous and chilling Nazi, a leaping stag, baby dinosaur or toy motor-car must be unmatched instead in this show tries to portray ordinary people. The script is deadly flat and missing is Murray's instant razor-like wit.
I could not watch more than a few minutes before forced to apply a monster Union Jack handkerchief to my eyes - not just to wipe away tears of shame and sorrow but to block the sight of Al Murray letting himself down. Its not that he should not have done it at all, its that he does it so badly. My last sight of Murray was thus as he disappeared behind the red white and blue of the patriotic cloth. It was fitting.
At the time of writing England, never mind the other bits, is entering a depression yet... France...appears to be weathering it better than we do. Come back, Al Murray Pub Landlord, make sense of a world turned upside down. Your country needs you.
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