Saturday, 21 June 2014


Saturday, 21 June 2014

I've really enjoyed Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled; an original piece of programming from Dave, which ran every week night at 10pm (providing respite between World Cup matches). It's a simple format where comedian Alan Davies (QI) plays host to a gathering of four celebrities around a table, who shoot the breeze in a largely impromptu manner—although a few prime anecdotes have obviously been arranged beforehand, and are used to keep viewers on the hook. The format's only goal is to entertain, although there's the loose intention of finding a title for each episode based on the hour's wild conversation.

As Yet Untitled feels like a televised podcast in many ways (which is no bad thing), and the standard of guests and quality of their anecdotes has been very sharp. If you enjoy the hilarious accounts from celebrities on Would I Lie To You?, this show provides that without any gameshow element. Likewise, if you wish chat shows would dispense with the need for guests to have something to plug, AYU is your answer. It's pure and simple in its ambitions, and you probably won't hear any funnier stories all month. Or the rest of the year, quite possibly. I'm still smiling about author Jon Ronson's backfiring attempt to get his own back on a diner rudely mimicking the way he eats soup.

Why did Bill Bailey have a kazoo confiscated by Australian customs? What happened to Andrew Maxwell inside Area 51? Which famous person mimed sodomizing Noel Fielding while dressed as a rabbit? What prank did Richard Herring play on comedy partner Stewart Lee involving a phone book? How does Bob Mortimer have to use a toilet? Which sexual fetish did comedian Katherine Ryan fall prey to? You'll find the answers in AYU!

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, and Dave have found a winning formula here. It's an hour-long chit-chat between five funny people that maintains the feel of a chin-wag down the pub. There's even moments of genuine emotion, such as when Davies himself reminisced about the death of a friend in the 1980s.

The only frustration is that five episodes stripped across a week means it feels like it's over before it began, but I recommend a catch-up if you haven't seen it. Dave will undoubtedly repeat AYU very soon, but I hope a much longer second series is in the works.

Here are some choice clips from the show: