I like Richard Ayoade. I’ve mentioned him before on this blog. I liked The IT Crowd and I liked Moss. While Graham Lineham’s recent tv offering, Count Arthur Strong, was a bit dismal, Katherine Parkinson’s Mr Selfridge was a bit soapy, and Chris O’Dowd’s Family Tree was a bit boring, Richard Ayoade’s return to TV (inbetween his film directing) was fun and frothy.
Gadget Man is a Channel 4 half hour programme on Monday at 8.30pm which presents new gadgets. It sounds like a show that would be modelled on Top Gear with two presenters, a studio audience, and demonstrations of various gadgets on a wooden floor. Well you’ll be wrong. Apparently the last series was presented by Stephen Fry but I didn’t see it and I’m not sure how he did it. Here, the new presenter Richard Ayoade, was in part character mode and in definite comedy mode as he demonstrated and discussed gadgets relating to the theme of the outdoors and camping.
Gadgets included a window that gives scenes of natural beauty, grass flip-flops, a guinness-world-record-breaking pen knife, a laser torch that creates fires, a straw that filters water, various tents, a double camper van, an outside oven, an outside jacuzzi, an outside projector and screen and various other contraptions. Not in a studio, but in a studio house and then in the outdoors, he was joined by various guests and members of the public, and then went camping to try out some of the gadgets with Stephen Mangan (Adrian Mole). They pretended that they slept in a see-through tent (that allows UV light in and allows you to see all of nature as you sleep) but of course we know they didn’t, as they wouldn’t have slept in their suits…
Ayoade presented the show with a mix of comedic wit and timing while in a blue velvet suit. He introduced himself as ‘Richard Ayoade – or at least I think that’s how it’s pronounced’ (I think he may have used that gag before, but it’s still funny) and portrayed himself as a man who doesn’t like the outdoors. In the end, though, he pointed out that with all the gadgets on display you could go camping and feel like you’ve never left indoors, but then what’s the point of that?
I stumbled along this programme and I’m in it for the series now. Light, frothy, and ever so slightly informative – sometimes that’s what you need on your telly rather than disappointing one-hour drama serials that descend into farce.
- Gadget Man (thevelvetonion.com)