“The old pro still finds just the right line of humour with those he meets”

Michael Palin in Nigeria

“This new travelogue is at its best when in pursuit of spectacle. After the full-spectrum vibrancy of Lagos came a mounted parade of tribal pageantry that, amazingly, didn’t look laid on for tourists or film crews. Palin stood on the side and gawped and you half expected him to mount his own imaginary steed and join in the prancing and the pomp.”
Jasper Rees, Telegraph

“The beauty of Palin’s series is their feel of wry intelligence (those understated asides such as, “after some inevitable confusion …”), in contrast to the inane, “I’ll have a go!” travelogue bilge elsewhere. The old pro still finds just the right line of humour with those he meets. When a schoolteacher in Makoko told him he had 35 siblings (and half-siblings), Palin chuckled “must make Christmas a little bit expensive”, and the man laughed, his socks charmed off.”
James Jackson, The Times

“He has always been drawn to the surreal, and Michael Palin In Nigeria is no different. On an empty beach in Lagos, he perused a placard proclaiming the local bylaws: no fighting, no stealing and no weapons… nothing odd about that. A speed limit was imposed on horses of 10km an hour, or about 6mph. Drones were discouraged, as was the smoking of Indian hemp. And there was strictly ‘no homosexualism (gay or lesbianism)’.’I mean,’ he marvelled with a mischievous grin, ‘how can you enjoy yourself here?’”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“I came away from How to Be a Man impressed, I must say. No, the scenes in which they dressed him up in a floral boiler suit to illustrate the importance of self-expression were probably not necessary. But when Danny was dumped in a room with men of every stripe he got them talking. That, as he recognised, is always the first step.”
Benji Wilson, Telegraph

“By the end, we are skimming surfaces like a skipped stone and galloping through material that could have furnished a dozen documentary series.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“With Dyer, you’re half considering his points and half just watching the (unintentional?) comedy of him. Hearing him utter “I love being around gay men”, or saying, with his usual honesty: “For me personally, as a man, pushing 50 … I’ve got a few chins now, I’ve got a pair of tits. I’m happy, though, as a man, I think I’m a decent man.” Weirdly, he is increasingly becoming an oddly mesmeric man.”
James Jackson, The Times

“It’s Showtime! gets the job done but feels heavy-handed at times. The striving after emotional effect as a race scene is followed by another man “opening up” about their lives and problems and saying nice things – in a roundabout fashion, of course, as we are firmly in the north – about each other is by the end in danger of becoming so obvious as to be insulting. But it just about gets away with it, thanks to the men’s individual and collective charm and honesty that obscure the editorial manipulation and dogged adherence to formula. Showtime himself has limited success in the local races and only just qualifies for York. To say more would, of course, spoil it so I shan’t. But it will be interesting to see how Hollywood treats the ending.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“The star is very much not the horse. It’s this earthy band of brothers who are all telly naturals. Beer and banter is their currency, and lashings of laughter. They don’t behave like your regular syndicate. Grant, their trainer, unusually finds himself in on the group chat as they discuss their refuelling plans on race day. “Oh my word,” he says, “they’ll be upside down before five o’clock!””
Jasper Rees, Telegraph

For the Love of Dogs, ITV1

“There is a short, sweet, fittingly un-mawkish tribute to [Paul] O’Grady at the start, showing us his Battersea memorial plaque and reminding viewers that, according to O’Grady, “all a dog needs is love”. As a tiny brown bundle of burps happily falls asleep on Hammond, you get the sense that she is more than capable of carrying the torch.”
Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian