Joe Lycett

Joe Lycett

Date of birth: 05-07-1988

Joe Lycett's first gig was at the Comedy Store in Manchester in February 2008, and later that year was a finalist in the City Life North-West Comedian Of The Year.

The following year he won the Chortle Student Award and was runner-up in the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year.

In 2010, he was named best newcomer in the Chortle Awards, and the following year he received his first TV break, as a regular panellist on Alexander Armstrong's primetime Saturday night BBC 1 show Epic Win.

He is now a regular on TV and radio, and in 2018 won the Chortle award for best TV comedian.

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Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back

TV review by Steve Bennett

Consumer programmes have long been a mainstay of broadcasting, though their tone has always tended  to be piously earnest rather than funny. Unless you count the rude-shaped vegetables that Esther Rantzen featured on That’s Life!

Well, Joe Lycett has now become the suggestive turnip of the 21st century, bringing some much-needed humour to the genre with his first name-above-the-title show.

The comic has form when it comes to tackling bureaucracy, fighting petty red tape with even pettier emails of his own, highlighting the absurdity of sometimes Kafkaesque customer service. The story of him challenging a parking ticket, for example, has been part of his stand-up set, and went viral when he told it on Countdown, while many more examples featured in his 2016 book Parsnips Buttered.

However, the story at the heart of Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back, at least in episode one, is delivered fairly straight, especially for a show which the comic suggests is ‘a cross between Rogue Traders and Ru Paul’s Drag Race’.

Nurse Claire Leslie had her life savings taken by scammers who posed as her bank – even faking the number they called from so it looked legitimate. NatWest refused to refund her, saying the money had been taken out as per her instructions.

Warnings are duly repeated to help other viewers avoid the same, Lycett investigates how the fraudsters did it, and the bank challenged over its policy. All pretty much as you’d expect a consumer show to handle things –  except perhaps the use of Paul Chuckle in the example. After all, a woman’s gone through an awful experience and it would be callous to mock that.

But around the central crusade – which takes up the lion’s share of the show – there is some room to be lighter hearted.  

Lycett responds to an email spammer, guest Kathy Burke is as good value as ever, while Mark Silcox is a fine foil, creating a few intrusive graphics and offering a deadpan counterpoint to Lycett’s camp cheer. And the comic highlight of the show is him heading to Burger King to put their longstanding ‘have it your way’ slogan to the test with some ridiculous demands.

Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back is, then, something of a hybrid of strait-laced consumer reporting, silly stunts and engaging chat, which means it’s never going to be the funniest show on TV. But the ever-watchable host’s charisma and cheeky good nature carries the gear changes, while Silcox adds a more subtly subversive tone that should win him more fans.

No need to demand your money back here.

Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back is on Channel 4 tonight at 8.30pm

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Published: 5 Apr 2019

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