Cast your minds back to the mid-1990s; lad mags, Trainspotting, and Geri Halliwell. More importantly, TFIFriday was the best thing about Friday evenings. Before that The Tube had been the best thing about Fridays and before that…. nope, there was nothing. Crackerjack?
So TFI was back, for a one-off special but, apparently, with the possibility of a full blown series (I hate to link to the Daily Mail, but needs must) should this programme be well received. I work in PR and we say “well received” quite a lot. The presentation of our new campaign was well received. Our idea for a video of a cat surfing from a holiday cottage in Wales to a hotel in Cork was well received. My suggestion that a press release about a man attending an exhibition wouldn’t garner any press coverage was well received. Okay, maybe not that last one.
Anyhoo, Chris Evans, all grown up and mature etc. The same set. The intro music. The same pissed audience. MY GOD I’M YOUNG AGAIN.
Will came on, having not aged a day. What moisturiser is he using? We should be told. There was a lot of blather about what people were saying on Twitter. Chris Evans apologised for his previous bad behaviour and attempted to cover people in feathers. He showed everyone a picture of his grandchild. His GRANDCHILD? The archbish of York, John Sentamu, made a mess of reading out a Irish blessing and splashed Chris with Holy Water.
Blur came on, wearing blazers for chrissake, sounding like a sixth form band. For a mercy, Alex James managed not to mention cheese. “We could start over again.” Yes, do. If they’d had any brains, they’d have sung Girls and Boys and brought the house down, but they’re SERIOUS MUSICIANS now and no fun at all.
Time for “Freak, or Unique”. We revisited people who had been guests years ago. First up, a clip of a baby with a lot of dark hair… followed by THE SAME BABY in real life, now 16 and with roughly the same amount of hair. Whevs. A know-all child appeared as a know-all adult. “I’m studying for a PhD.” A man whose body fat years ago had to be less than five per cent and who could make his stomach look like an elephant, revealed he was now a sports journalist and could still make his stomach look like an elephant. Pfft. He should ditch the journalism and write a diet book. A girl who could cry milk appeared via Skype and cried milk again. Tom Daley appeared, looking hot as balls, and did things with his eight-pack. Killing the buzz was an ad for the film Entourage, which looked like absolute shite.
Ricky Wilson, Steve Merchant, Rita Ora and Kirsty Allsopp came on for roughly 10 seconds each, smiling whilst simultaneously deciding to sack their agents. Nick Grimshaw was allowed 20 seconds and heroically fluffed his intro to a band that nobody had heard of. The future of broadcasting, people. Holding everything together however was the brilliance of Chris Evans, who pretty much gave a masterclass in how to broadcast live, have fun and stay in control of the madness.
Amanda Siegfried came on and was interrogated, weirdly, by Ewan McGregor. “What have you been doing since you arrived in the UK?” asked Ewan. “Av bin eatin”, lied Amanda, a woman who probably last ingested a calorie in 2005. “Amanda Siegfried, everyone! Whoooo!” Amanda smiled graciously and applauded herself. 18 year olds (if they were watching, which I doubt) turned to each other in puzzlement. “Seriously. This is bantz?” Kenneth Branagh did a very funny clip. More Branagh, please.
Whoop! Liam Gallagher and Roger Daltry! Suddenly the energy and downright pizzazz of TFIF was brought alive. They sang “My Generation” and everyone kindly ignored the fact that most of Rog’s generation were care home residents. Kirsty Allsopp was behind the bar, pulling pints. “Posh pints.”
Ooh, Tony Bennett singing “It’s Your Letters”. A 15 year old wrote in wanting to know what Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, looks like when she smiles. Chris played a clip from way back when of Posh smiling. Her make up made her look like Willy Wonka, but it was the 90s and we all looked like that then. Yes we did. No YOU shut up.
Meanwhile, not everyone on Twitter was viewing the programme with a similarly jaundiced eye:
Shaun Ryder appeared, for no discernible reason other than to apologise for swearing on the television several decades ago. Oh Shaun. Why? My God we’re all so OLD. Chris got excited about Monaco UK-tax-avoider resident and champagne-sprayer-in-women’s-faces Lewis Hamilton coming on as a guest. Meanwhile Twitter reminded me of the more anarchic The Word and Oliver Reed’s “TV Gold appearance”
Lewis, vapidity made flesh, appeared wearing a New Look pleather jacket, a watch the size of Wales and Pat Butcher diamante earrings. “I’ve never seen the programme.” Thanks, Lewis. Twat. Nicole Shirtswinger is well rid. There was a sort of Top Gear film segment comprising Chris Evans’ mum racing around the Top Gear track in a mobility scooter. it was reasonably funny (talk about damning with faint praise). Should I switch channels to the Graham Norton Show? Mark Walhberg was sure to be pissed again. Much more fun.
Ultimately, TFIF proved one thing. We need Chris Evans back on telly. He is the master of live television broadcasting, and was let down only by his poor selection of guests. Why was Lewis Snore Hamilton allowed so much airtime? “I actually don’t have that many houses.” Watching penicillin spores growing on an ancient piece of cheese would be more interesting. Bring back TFIFriday and bin Hamilton. Then Ch4 would be onto a winner.