Monday, October 3, 2016

Monday, Tuesday, Sunday.

First of all, a big thank you to everyone for being so understanding about my poor health and the knock on effect its had on the production of Series 4 of Modern Life Is Goodish.

A few people have asked if it means the series will be returning later than originally planned... and the answer to that is that it won't. While we're taping the final episodes a couple of weeks later than originally scheduled, we'll still be delivering the series by our original deadline. So it won't affect the broadcast dates.

That said, I'm not sure when the first episode is scheduled to broadcast, as yet. But it will be on this year. The reason it's starting later than in previous years is that we started work on it later than in previous years - and that's on account of the Gorbaby.

In other news, it seems that lots of things I recorded at different times during this year are all about to be broadcast in relatively quick succession. In the next seven days there are three. One was filmed in April, another in May - but also in December 2015, January, February and March of this year - and the third was taped in September.

First up, is Dara O'Briain's Go 8 Bit.

Those of you who came along to the last Goodish recording will know that I don't really do computer games. That said, I am a big fan of McNeil and Pamphilon - who are the team captains and creators of this show.

I've booked them for my Screen Guild gigs in the past and have been along to watch their live show many times. The fact that I know nothing about the computer games world but still love that show probably proves something or other... but really, I just don't think the success or failure of a comedy is ever really to do with what it's about.

For what it's worth, I did make sure that they knew I was almost completely ignorant about computer games before I said yes, so they did know what a complete ignoramus they were taking ob.

I already can't remember what happened in the show, other than I came away from it seriously thinking about buying a console. Then I didn't buy one and the feeling soon passed. Anyway, it was huge fun to do... and it's on tonight at 10pm. On Dave.

Meanwhile, tomorrow night, sees the start of Series 3 of Taskmaster. This will be on Tuesday nights at 10pm for the next five weeks. Also on Dave.

This was such a joy to do - in part, I think, because it's such a contrast to how I normally work.

When I'm doing a live show - or Modern Life Is Goodish - I'm running a powerpoint presentation.

My tour shows normally contain between 600 and 800 slides. An episode of the TV show normally contains between 300 and 400. When I press the remote control the next slide - or sequence of slides - appears. And the order can't change. So that's 100s of tiny moments - one every ten seconds or so - that have been planned in advance and that have to run in a given order. It is - and makes no pretence at being otherwise - planned in great detail in advance.

On Taskmaster, nothing is planned in advance. At least not by the contestants. None of us - for series 3 it's Al Murray, Paul Chowdry, Rob Beckett, Sara Pascoe and myself - ever knew what a task would entail until we opened the envelope on camera. We all did our tasks in isolation. Apart from on one day when there were some team tasks. On any given day I was probably set six or seven tasks. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But it was only in the studio that we would find out how our fellow contestants had approached each task and - given how many weeks had elapsed since we'd actually done the things - there were many times when I had no idea how I'd done until I saw the tape play out in the studio.

There are moments of awful embarrassment as well as occasional, odd triumphs along the way. But my main recollection of the recordings is simply of laughing. Because taking part in Taskmaster means getting the best seat in the house to watch Taskmaster from.

And finally - for now - The Chase; the kind of show that seems like a good idea... right up until you first step up to the plate to face your first questions... at which point, it seems like a very bad idea indeed. My team mates were Nigel Havers, Melinda Messenger and Michelle Hardwick and the team spirit turned it into a good day out - but I can't tell you much more about what happened because on a show like The Chase, everything's a spoiler.

There is at least one moment where I make a bit of an arse of myself so let me say this in advance: I didn't hear the year!

Oh, and my chosen charity was, as always, Shelter.

In brief... should you want to catch - or avoid - any of the following, this is when they're on...

Monday, October 3rd, 10pm on Dave: Dara O'Briain's Go 8 Bit.

Tuesday, October 4th, 10pm on Dave: Taskmaster. (And every Tuesday night up to and including November 1st, for that matter)

Sunday, October 9th, 7pm on ITV: The Chase