Mark Dolan: I’m Here To Help!

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

This is a polite and pleasant hour: a gentle and deliciously middle-class Jeremy Kyle show, where Mark Dolan makes blandness a virtue.

The premise of solving the audience’s problems (submitted on a slip of paper) seems genuinely without evil intent. Nobody is ridiculed or embarrassed for having too trivial a problem, the women are deemed to be beautiful and lovely people and the men are jollied along warmly and respectfully.

For especially interesting or knotty problems, the proposer is invited on stage for a cup of tea and biscuit - as that’s how most problem-solving begins in this country.

What’s not to like? Well. You might want to scream, ‘Write a bloody show’‚ but that would be too uncharitable. What’s impressive is the calm ease with which Mark Dolan makes the hour bowl along. Many improvised shows involve manic high-energy shouting and bawling, and incoherent non-sequiturs to fill the unforgiving minute.

This is different. We’ve had character preachers, character motivational speakers and character self-help gurus before now, all slightly alarming and extraordinary, but Mark Dolan could almost use this to pitch for a TV half hour.

His smart presentation in a cream jacket and tortoiseshell glasses imbues him with a trendy vicar aura. He’s more Michael Aspel than Russell Brand.

He has some poor assistant writing on a flipchart and pouring tea throughout the show, when for once you wish he’d go high-tech and put down the problems and proposed solutions into PowerPoint and project it like anyone else.There’s also the slightly barking phonecall to his Mum, as the higher expert. It’s anti-slick in presentation and none the worse for it.

Gently amusing, which is sometimes all you need.

Reviewed by: Julian Chambers

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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