The Emily Atack Show | TV preview by Steve Bennett
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The Emily Atack Show

TV preview by Steve Bennett

To be truly patronising the following sentence should really have those handclap emojis between each word. Can TV executives stick to giving stand-up shows to actual stand-ups?

You can see why ITV2 would want to promote Emily Atack: she’s young, pretty, talented, likeable and popular, as her I’m A Celebrity success proves.  But the stand-up that underpins her new six-part show doesn’t have that natural feel that a real circuit-practised comic has. Rather it has the feel of an actor approximating the real thing, performing blandly generic material the seven writers have penned for her.

The hyped-up studio audience don’t seem to mind and laugh and holler enthusiastically at jokes like: ‘So I went to ITV2 and said I want to make a show about what me and my friends really talk about. And they said, "you can’t just make a show about willies!"’

Her opening episode is about relationships, from blokes drunkenly bringing back kebabs, to smug couples’ Instagram snaps, from holding back farts from your partner, to acting out the premise ‘dating is like being on Dragon’s Den’.  

It’s all a bit bland and predictable, however much she battles valiantly to inject some oomph, often emphasising each syllable of the final sentence as she flaps both arms up and down to stress the point further. But it’s trying too hard, the performance equivalent of those handclap emojis, without any real joke to underpin it. 

The stand-up is interspersed with similarly anaemic sketches. One, for instance, suggest there should be a morning-after makeover service so women can look radiant before their one-night-stand wakes up… but doesn’t develop the idea any further over its three minutes, before ending with callback from the stand-up section about men confusing her with her Inbetweeners character.

Impressions are wheeled out for no reason other than the fact she can do them – admittedly pretty well,  apparently inheriting the skill from mum Kate Robbins. But why mimic Killing Eve’s Villanelle doing a fashion vlog when the line ‘I always dress to kill’ is the best you can do? This fake version is significantly less dryly arch than the original. 

It’s a challenge for even the most skilled comic to turn out an hour of  material a year, so perhaps it’s little surprise that six 50-minutes (including ad breaks) aims pretty low. But maybe, for the target ITV2 audience, the superficiality of the jokes  doesn’t matter so much: this is a young woman talking openly and light-heartedly about the realities of sex and dating and, in future episodes, the likes of image and growing up. She’s naughty and bit cheeky, like a modern-day Barbara Windsor, but relatable over all else.

Good company, shame about the material.

• The Emily Atack Show is on ITV2 at 10pm tonight

Review date: 4 Nov 2020
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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