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I TALK Jo Brand’s Great Wall of Comedy

Gold. A channel you may associate more with re-runs of Only Fools And Horses than original content. But soon this is all about to change, as more and more UKTV create their own content.

So far the channel have revived Yes, Prime Minister and brought back The Comic Strip Presents for a one-off episode.


So, quite fittingly the latest GOLD original is Jo Brand's Great Wall Of Comedy which features Rebecca Front, Barry Cryer and as you might have guessed from the title, Jo Brand.


Speaking on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch earlier on today, Rebecca described this as less of a panel show, which is how the show is billed, and more like a group of people having a good old chat about sitcoms. As soon as I heard that, I thought I must watch as GOLD is the perfect channel to be hosting such a show due to its history in supporting UK sitcoms. The studio set-up is also far from the usual two tables, host in the middle that we're used to on panel shows such as Have I Got News For You.


Instead what we get is a mock up of Jo's living room in which two teams answer questions about their favourite sitcoms, each week with a different special guest from the world of comedy.


Hosted by Jo Brand who has most recently been seen on the BBC Four comedy Getting On, which I feel never got the recognition it deserved. The first team captain is Rebecca Front, who has more than earnt her place on the show as just this year alone she has starred in The Spa, Psychobitches and Up The Women and of course is best known for being in The Thick Of It. The other team captain is Barry Cryer, who is no stranger to panel shows, having forged a career as a panellist on Just A Minute and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue - both for BBC Radio 4.


In the first episode, Rebecca had Hugh Dennis on her team, best known for his role as the dad in the brilliant BBC One sitcom Outnumbered and Barry we had Tony Robinson, star of Blackadder on his team, quite good timing as this weekend Tony is one of the names awarded a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.


Next week's guests are Tim Brooke-Taylor from Me And My Girl and Simon Greenall from Alan Partridge. Other guests throughout the series will include Dave Spikey from Phoenix Nights and Vicki Michelle from 'Allo 'Allo. But what do they talk about? Well, they each have questions to answer in true panel show fashion, either about the history of sitcoms, or the little facts about sitcoms that we may not know.


For example, in the first episode we saw a round which involved each guest donning a wig from sitcom past and the rest of the room had to guess who they were, for example It was also nice to see Andrew Sachs, who of course played the hilarious Manuel in Fawlty Towers appear on Jo's 'Great Wall of Comedy' to tell a story of his time playing Manuel as well as asking a question to both teams about a famous scene from the sitcom.


Also appearing were Lesley Joseph (Birds Of A Feather) and Shaun Williamson (Extras) who showed us unseen footage of himself and Stephen Merchant dancing in a scene that was cut from Extras. So, I guess the question you're waiting for me to answer is whether or not the show is worth watching, and if it's any good? - Well the answer for both, is a big fat YES.


I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the 40 minutes went by and I thought each round was great. As a fan of sitcoms myself I may be biased but if you too are a fan of sitcoms and love to talk about then, sometimes with the people who made them happen such as June Whitfield from Absolutely Fabulous), then this too will be right up your street. As a fan of GOLD for a long time, it's great to see them making their own content and with new channel DRAMA launching this year, let's hope they deliver some great drama in the not too distant future as well.


Jo Brand's Great Wall Of Comedy airs Sundays at 7:30pm on Gold

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