Triple Threat Live

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

You probably can’t get a more obvious, easy target than the explosion of talent shows filling prime-time TV: X-Factor, Pop Idol, Britain’s Got Talent, Grease Is The Word… the list is just a bit longer than that.

A phenomenon so ubiquitous is clearly ripe for parody. But it also means you have to try harder to avoid being blindingly obvious – which is where Triple Threat Live falls down completely.

There’s very little sign that the script has been worked on. It’s as if the team have just scribbled down a few of the very first ideas they thought of and made do with that, without bothering to try for anything subtle – or anything someone else might also have though of - at all

The signs are there from the start, when you learn the name of the cable channel airing their fictional show: SH1TV. That really is the level of inventiveness. When the characters need to exchange insults, they come up with nothing better than: ‘That’s the dangers of inbreeding!’

Their contestants are a dance duo who can’t dance, a singer who can’t sing and an actress who can’t act. And we meet last year’s winners, a plastic pop band who can’t dance, sing, or act. Yes, it really is all the same joke four times.

As well as spoofing what’s on screen, the show also takes the audience backstage, with more supposed comedy that’s so broad as to be ineffectual, featuring a parade of washed-up has-beens all bitter at being reduced to working on this cheap, tatty piece of television. Bizarrely, in this stupid fiction, they’ve made one of the characters the guy who used to play Roland in Grange Hill – which is surely actionable by the real actor Erkan Mustafa.

The main problem is that there’s not enough distinctive style to the show, it feels too bland, too much like something a bunch of drama students have cobbled together to try to set themselves apart from those desperate TV wannabes without paying much attention to the writing.

Despite the big hole where a knowing, funny script ought to be, some of the performers do manage to bring a smile to the lips and fleshed out their roles beyond the two-dimensional stereotypes they might have been. Rob Tofield has fun as the increasingly drunken co-host, and gets to do a subtle nod to Eric Morecambe, while the delightful Alison Thea Skot makes her middle-class hippy convincing – even if it rather stands out against the blunt caricatures of everyone else – and she boasts a knockout voice, too. Fraser Millward might also find work in the future if Green Wing’s Stephen Mangan is unavailable, as he has that same level of part-geek, part-cool good looks.

But for the most part, Triple Threat Live is a lot less interesting than the shows it’s trying to parody. Honestly, you’d be better off spending the night with Simon Cowell.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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