Friday, November 02, 2007
Twenty-five to 4
QUARTER CENTURY! The Big Fat Anniversary Quiz, Channel 4, 10.00pm
ADVENTUREY! Robin Hood, BBC1, Saturday, 7.15pm
Another week, another UK terrestrial channel with a divisible-by-five birthday (well, that's two so far this year). Channel 4 is 25 years old, and what better way to mark the occasion than a TWO HOUR (!!!) celebrity comedy panel show quiz thing. Surprisingly, Channel 4 have chosen to forsake the obvious towering icons of their history in favour of a bunch of little-known comedians and mathematicians (it's mainly comedians, to be honest). So, instead of the Max and Patricia Farnham / Sally Smedley / Kevin McCloud / Brian Steadman / Hubba Hubba panel you might have been hoping for, team members include David Mitchell, Richard Ayoade, Alan Carr, Jack Dee, Frank Skinner and VorderMan, with Jimmy Carr overseeing and Wossy and Gervaisy among the special guests popping in to celebrate how much richer they became when they went to the BBC.
Of course, anyone knows that commemorating a channel's birthday is really just an excuse to dig out lots of old clips of idents, logos and trailers from days or yore and, as the channel with the best and most consistent branding of the lot, Channel 4 doesn't disappoint. The tidy Channel 4 at 25 page on their website provides a selection of beautiful idents from over the years, as well as information on their comedy, drama and documentary highlights (free for download on 4oD over the next few weeks), a controversy-charting Channel 4 timeline, exciting 1982 FACTS! and lots of photos of their office building for some reason. Never let it be said that Channel 4 doesn't know how to throw a retrospective, internet-based party.
On the subject of exuberant things that aren't very old, tomorrow Robin Hood cheerfully continues his mission to make Saturday evenings ridiculous. We really wouldn't blame you for giving this second series a wide berth, yet with every anachromism it grows more and more entertaining: so far we've seen the Sheriff of Nottingham's dominatrix sister meet a sticky end in her own snake pit,
Ocean's Eleven Robin's gang attempting an assault on the Sheriff's strongroom during a visit from a travelling supercasino, Guy of Gisborne's new armour turning him into Robocop and, last week, Ralf Little guest starring as a twitchy scientist with a plan to use a bioweapon to eradicate all the 'dirt' in medieval England (that's the people of Nottingham to you and me).
Best of all, however, has been the ongoing betrayal of Robin's gang by young, chirpy, fit as fuck Allan A Dale, who reluctantly entered into an 'agreement' with mostly evil, smoulderingly handsome Guy four weeks ago and has been haemorrhaging information about Robin's activities ever since, during secret Spooks-style liasons in doorways and behind taverns. The wonderful shame etched across Allan's face when he meets with Guy and can't quite look him in the eye is the main reason we're watching, really (well, that and Marian's FABULOUS couture wardrobe). Except this week Robin cottons-on to the fact that somebody in his camp is a traitor, potentially killing the best plot in the series stone dead before it's even halfway done. Stupid cocking Robin. Let's hope he keeps it to himself.