Unbreakable review – I’m not paid enough to watch such boring and desperate TV | Television

I suspect the new gameshow Unbreakable (BBC One) is part of the broadcaster’s charitable endeavours. I think the call went out that work for six celebrity couples in greatest need of employment – ​​perhaps after receipt of the estimate for their new monthly gas bill – was available and that the first to respond would get the gig.

That is the best explanation for what we have before us, and the one we should cleave to in order to preserve the sense of Reithian ideals being upheld and the illusion of dignity upon which civilization depends.

To wit: celebrity couples (to stretch both words to the very limits of their elasticity) are gathered to perform a series of tasks that will allegedly test the bonds of love, communication and other stupid things between them. Appearing in the first episode are Loose Women’s Denise Welch and her artist husband Lincoln Townley who have been together 11 years, standup comic Stephen Bailey and his employment lawyer boyfriend of three and a half years Rich Taylor, Falklands veteran Simon Weston and his wife Lucy who have been together since Homer was a lad, BMX world champion Shanaze Reade and her girlfriend Teddy Edwardes, an events organiser, and Pimlico Plumbers founder Charlie Mullins and his singer-songwriter girlfriend Ra Ra, who have been together 10 minutes – which appears to have been more than long enough for Ra Ra to have the entire measure of Charlie. They got together when she asked him if he was a Rod Stewart tribute act, which was a meet-cute that made you warm to them both.

The final couple – Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas and her West End star partner Danny Taylor – are, we are threatened/promised, arriving later.

The couples competing are overseen by presenter-comedian Rob Beckett (the blond one who looks like he’s been put together from a presenter-comedian kit off the internet). The results are scored and analyzed by agony aunt Maria McErlane and relationship psychotherapist Anjula Mutanda. When the couples get to the end of a task without shouting at each other, McErlane and Matanda nod wisely and say things such as: “This couple has excellent communication skills and this will stand them in good stead over a lifetime together of needing skills to communicates excellently.” When one half of a couple royally screws up and the other doesn’t set about them with a machete screaming, “We need round-two money, dickhead! Get up! Get up!” the experts say: “There’s so much love between them. That’s what you need in a relationship – love. Otherwise there is no love and it’s not a loving relationship.”

It is very, very boring. The first task involves moving planks down a thing to get to another thing and raise a flag. The first couple to raise the flag wins. I think. I’m too busy fighting the feeling that we’ve all lost. It takes for ever and the second task takes even longer and runs into the next episode, too. The couples have to learn a pop song each then sing it together before they do a joint bungee jump. It is exactly as riveting as it sounds.

A rolling challenge is for each participant to write down their feelings about the other and describe what their partners mean to them. Simon and Shanaze – good on plank placement and bungee jumping, not on chat – look particularly stricken by this news. Though not as stricken as the viewer does, I’ll wager, suddenly faced with the prospect of having the equivalent of half a dozen self-penned wedding vows inflicted on them at once.

In between, there is a lot of laughter. It is strained, frantic, desperate laughter as the competitors gather with Beckett, Mutanda and McErlane to wring such further drops of entertainment from what has gone before as they can. “Lincoln just sat there holding your shoe!” screams someone, hysterically recalling the moment Denise slipped undramatically from a plank and briefly into the water. “I thought, ‘This is not going to be fun!’” says another, recalling the moment when the task was revealed and they thought it was not going to be fun. Everyone collapses with helpless mirth. This series is six weeks long.

Matters improve slightly in the second episode, and maybe even after that – I don’t know, I’m not paid enough to sit through more than that, and certainly not when there is the possibility that those vows may be read out at any moment – ​​mainly thanks to the charm of Stephen and Rich and the irrepressibility of Ra Ra. They’ve all earned their fees. I just feel that anyone watching has, too.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *