“Think QI… It’s not 8 Out of 10 Cats”

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 by

I’ve been watching the first episode of Rob Brydon’s new BBC3 endeavour Annually Retentive, which is now available on broadband. And, well, it’s pretty good.

The chief problem is that the real Brydon is so bloomin’ likeable and talented that the notion of him as a paranoid Larry Sandersesque egomaniac being reduced to fronting a deriviative HIGNFY rip-off doesn’t exactly wash. And, at times, Rob has his foot down on the insult accelerator a little too hard, so when Gail Porter is suggested as a guest, Brydon shamelessly lays into her baldness. Nobody who does an impression of Ken Bruce could possibly be this nasty, surely?

There’s also a slightly odd running gag about panellist David Mitchell not wanting his Peep Show schtick to be referenced, which doesn’t really ring true, though it does give Rob the opportunity to “do” his Dave, which is fun. Jonathan Ross turns up in a cameo, gleefully playing himself as the terrifying showbiz monster he has surely become.

But the really brilliant thing, as with all Brydon’s projects, is in his eye for the detail. The actual panel game itself is an excruciating fascimile of the real thing, complete with all the lazy tics and riffs. Meanwhile, in one behind-the-scenes vignette, Brydon doubts that Gordon Ramsay might be willing to appear on the show, first suggesting Ainsley Harriott as a possible replacement, before readjusting his expectations even lower and mooting Phil Vickery…


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