CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night's TV 

Island of Dreams

Rating:

You don’t have to be telly mad to enjoy Harry Enfield’s celebrity send-up Island Of Dreams (BBC2) but it helps.

This one-off sitcom, starring Harry as welcoming famous chums to his Caribbean hideaway, Necker Island, is crammed with gags about classic TV serials, all with an off-shore theme — from the opening credits, which mimic Jack Lord’s Hawaii Five-0, to Thunderbirds and the American hit of the Seventies, Fantasy Island.

At one point a character even shouted, ‘Uh-oh!Chung-o!’ which I haven’t heard since the Banana Splits’ Danger Island, circa 1970. For a silly comedy, writers Bert Tyler-Moore and George Jeffrie have certainly done their homework.

This one-off sitcom, starring Harry as Richard Branson welcoming famous chums to his Caribbean hideaway, Necker Island, is crammed with gags about classic TV serials, all with an off-shore theme

The legal team must have been busy too, making sure that this good-natured tease doesn’t cross the libel line.Harry plays Branson as a benevolent, sun-bronzed sprite with a dark streak of mischief, welcoming superstars and fixing their lives . . . while avoiding tax.

Richard Branson played by Harry Enfield. Harry plays Branson as a benevolent, sun-bronzed sprite with a dark streak of mischief, welcoming superstars and fixing their lives .. . while avoiding tax

He wears nothing but medallions, an open shirt and a variety of swimming trunks all tight enought to choke a budgie. What the guests don’t see is the interplanetary spaceship he’s building underground, with the naive aid of Professor Brian Cox, to take over the solar system.

If Harry is relying on Branson to be a good sport, he’ll need J.K.Rowling to possess a saintly sense of humour. 

Samantha Spiro plays her as a sex-mad, foul-mouthed bully who couldn’t write a postcard home, never mind a stack of bestsellers. 

Harry wonders what J.K. stands for — ‘Jamiroquai!’ she snaps, before seducing a dim-witted Daniel Radcliffe in a tent.

Fans of The Windsors (by the same writers) will recognise the style. 

In the royal comedy, Kate is a gipsy’s daughter and Prince Harry is thicker than cold treacle. 

It’s so wildly stupid, and at the same time so much the way we’d love to believe these people really are, that you’re laughing too much to wonder how on earth they get away with it.

When Adele (Morgana Robinson) has a panic attack in the foyer, Branson tries to reassure her what a great star she is, by pointing to a guffawing bald idiot in a tropical shirt: ‘Look at Gregg Wallace.No talent at all!’

But while The Windsors is based on the UK’s best-loved institution, most Brits won’t get the obscure references in Island Of Dreams to U.S. TV shows — such as the dwarf Baboo, played by Leigh Gill (a direct take-off of Fantasy Island’s Tattoo).

And most Americans won’t know who Richard Branson is, let alone Brian Cox.Lucky them. 

 

The Cruise: Shanghai To Sydney (ITV) 

Rating:

The Majestic Princess cruise liner is its own ‘island of dreams’, a floating palace for 5,000 guests and crew, where endless banquets are served as the holidaymakers float on oceans of bubbly. 

The Cruise: Shanghai To Sydney (ITV) is part of a well-tested format, giving us a glimpse behind the scenes while tempting us to book a cabin with a balcony for the trip of a lifetime. 

The Cruise: Shanghai To Sydney (ITV) is part of a well-tested format, giving us a glimpse behind the scenes while tempting us to book a cabin with a balcony for the trip of a lifetime

Part travelogue, part advert, it reveals how much can go wrong while promising that passengers will never guess at the dramas below decks.

Maintenance man Scott was making sure the new baby grand piano was securely bolted to the ballroom floor: ‘The last thing we want is old Doris having a pint and the piano flattening her against the bulkhead.’

As heavy swells confined guests indoors, entertainments manager Robbie improvised a crazy golf course with coffee beakers, sticky tape and Мультики з українською озвучкою – https://uakino.pl/83309-schaslivij-kinec.html a flight of gold-railed stairs.

That’s what you pay your thousands for.

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