Comics journey into the future... | Tech travel show for Jon Richardson, Phil Wang and Alice Levine

Comics journey into the future...

Tech travel show for Jon Richardson, Phil Wang and Alice Levine

Jon Richardson, Phil Wang and Alice Levine have made a technology travel show for Channel 4, Chortle can reveal.

The series is fronted by Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud, who has despatched the three ‘tech sceptics' across the globe to investigate innovations that might save humanity, such as robot butlers, driverless cars, remote surgery and lab-grown meat.

Richardson visited the US, Wang travelled to China and My Dad Wrote A Porno’s Levine went to Japan to see if they would embrace the breakthroughs, or ‘run for the hills’ .

The three 60-minute films, which have the working title Kevin McCloud's Rough Guide To The Future, are expected to air next month.

Wang shot his journey in November, travelling to locations including Shanghai and Sichaun. To investigate alternative sources of food, the comic, who has a Chinese-Malaysian father and grew up speaking Mandarin in Malaysia, ate insects.

'It was a fun time,’ he told fellow comic Pierre Novellie on the pair's podcast. Despite the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong at the time, he said: 'The main thing that struck me was how chill everyone is.

'It's a very chilled country… I was expecting to land and be greeted by a wall of screams as everyone climbed over each other. But there's actually lots of space, people are really calm.

'They're pretty calm everywhere. I went to Shanghai. I was like "oh, this is going to be brutal". And people were really chill.'

Richardson previously addressed his fears about technology in the first series of his Ultimate Worrier show on Dave, admitting to concerns about smartphones, becoming a viral sensation and virtual pubs.

McCloud – who was a member of the Cambridge Footlights comedy ensemble alongside Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in his student days –  said: 'Our own genius is our downfall.  

‘Science and technology have aided and abetted humanity to make amazing progress for centuries, but they’ve also helped us screw up the planet.  Now let’s see if they can get us out of this mess and help deliver a future for us.

'There are huge changes happening in our environment that urgently need addressing.  We need to move to a more equitable, carbon-free world.  We can’t do that without brilliant technology. So, fingers crossed eh?'

This show is being made by Boundless, the production company behind Grand Designs.

Executive producer Ben Mitchell said: 'Humanity is facing some pretty epic challenges, so it seems like the perfect time to find out what the world’s leading tech innovators have got in store for us. And who better to act as our eyes and ears on the ground than Kevin’s trio of doubters. They’re no pushover, so it remains to be seen whether they will emerge from their travels with a greater sense of optimism about the future.’

Channel 4 commissioning editor Jonah Weston added: 'Everyone’s fascinated by the future, and in China, California and Japan they’re perfecting the technologies that we’ll all soon be living with.  

‘Kevin is one of Britain’s biggest tech evangelist, and I think audiences will be fascinated and by his vision of the future - whether that be Californian 5G robots or Chinese cockroach farming.'

- by Jay Richardson

Published: 13 Jan 2020

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