McDonald's fries

I’ll Get This: But who gets it?

red traffic light No empathy

I’ll Get This BBC Two

You have to hand fifty per cent of it to Mike Johnson (@tvcameracrew, a utilitarian handle if ever one was) on Twitter. He’s a 4K/HD (aren’t we all?) lighting television cameraman who has hit the puppy half on the head with his verdict on I’ll Get This, the er… show nearing the end of a six-episode amble.

Mike says that IGT, where celebrities open their pietraps to scoff a pricey dinner, play parlour games and try to avoid paying the bill, looks beautiful. Can’t dispute that. It is, framed in the sort of soft-life lowlight everyone aspires to be in. Very pleasant, and realistic for the celebs, who reputedly are bathed in a similar glow all the time, even when they’re clearing out the cat tray.

That thing about looking good is a professional assessment from Mike, and he knows what he’s talking about. On the other fifty per cent of it, the half you can’t hand it to him on, he thinks it’s one of the best new formats on telly.

But how can it be? What the hell is it? It’s an er… show. That’s er… as in a genre.

Relative newcomers to the world of er…, its producers 12 Yard also turn out Eggheads, Think Tank and Instant Gardener – all things of some kind or another with a purpose of some sort or another, insofar as dusting your shelves or orienteering has a purpose. At least you get to some point or another.

On the other hand, 12 Yard do Coach Trip, Big Star’s Little Star and Insert Name Here. All dips into the opaque pool of er… But meek compared to the deep-end uber-er… of I’ll Get This.

The format, such as it isn’t, is a glorified and quite complicated version of that game where you stick a Post-it Note with a name on it to your companion’s head and get them to work out who they are. A bit of guessing, a bit of bluffing. You don’t need to know any more than that. Each competitor slings their credit card into a bowl and then takes it back when they win a round. Last one left in foots the bill.

What are they eating? You know the sort of thing. Squash, coriander and chipotle soup with tobacco onions. That’s great. Watermelon. Scallops. Steak (£50).

Why has no-one spotted the fatal flaw that renders it pointless? Surely it’s obvious? There’s no empathy. You just can’t feel the feelings of such as Richard Madeley, Gemma Collins or Victoria Coren-Mitchell as they joust to swerve a £600 tab.

For the contestants, it’s just a number that’s a price expressed as a sum of money. There’s no pain, shame, debt or desperation. They could pay the bill in their sleep in jail. Fair play to Coren-Michell for turning up with a grand in cash. But the whining and grimacing just doesn’t ring true. What’s more, it’s only really funny when there’s a comedian in the mix. The rest of them are good for only the occasional crack.

In the latest outing, Gemma, Essex person made real, summed it up well. When she saw the bill. “Six hundred and fifty-five quid. Bargain mate, I spent that on a pair of shoes last week.”

Get I’ll Get This on iPlayer if you want it

Another little bit that told it like it is was when the chums had to identify which of them constituted the blanks in a series of tweets about them. First tweet: “When did it become the law that [blank] has to appear on every TV show? I half-expected them to read out the Queen’s Speech.”

Everyone knew it was Josh Widdicombe (who read it out, like a Queen’s Speech).

Now there’s nothing actually wrong with Josh, but sometimes you feel like he might be following you home to tell jokes outside your window. He’s a bit omnipresent,  a flippant counterpart to Owen Jones.

Omnipresence is a characteristic common to most of the guests on IGT. It’s like a rest home for banter merchants to unwind. Or is it? Are they ever at rest? Is rest within their souls?

And if all you’ve got to do to earn your corn is gargle old hits with table water – in Adrian’s case, 9 To 5, while spitting half of it out – why ever rest?

Who lost? Quite literally, who cares? But she could afford it despite the shoes. Still, at least Adrian admitted he was shit on Daybreak. And the soundman’s got a great name.

Wes Tastard

Photograph: Fries by from Pexels

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