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TELLYBOX: Adele shines, and gives good chat too

Adele performs at An Audience With Adele, on ITV and ITV Hub.
Adele performs at An Audience With Adele, on ITV and ITV Hub.

“Imagine if I didn’t feel imposter syndrome, I’d be horrible!” said Adele midway through her comeback television special An Audience with Adele (ITV) on Sunday night.

What might this exclusive London Palladium show to celebrate her new album 30 have done for her confidence?

All the stars were here, like Samuel L. Jackson, Daniel Kaluuya (Adele’s favourite actor), Hannah Waddingham of Ted Lasso (her favourite show), Gareth Southgate and Emma Thompson, whose enthusiastic dancing surely made her everyone’s dream grandmother.

An Audience With Adele.

Many of them asked questions, like the ever-wonderful Dawn French (“tonight is all about you… so when are you going to write a song about me?”), Adele’s close spiritual friend Stormzy, and Idris Elda.

Amid all she’s done, she told him, playing Glastonbury – driving herself there in torrential rain, listening to Spice Girls all the way – was the greatest moment.

She gives good chat

Ten years since the last ‘An Audience with…’ (that one was Barry Manilow), Adele was perfectly suited to the format.

Her songs, of course, hold generation-spanning quality, and her performances of them are always sharp. Yet she gives good chat, too.

Q: “What kind of song would your exes sing about you?”

A: “I wouldn’t imagine any of them could do it, because most of them couldn’t do a normal daily task.”

It was perfect light entertainment, but there was a bit of bite in there.

Sir Trevor McDonald in Gamesmaster.

Another old format pressed back into life this week was GamesMaster (E4), last seen in 1998.

The increasingly ubiquitous Rab Florence takes Dominik Diamond’s place as wry Scottish ringmaster of this avowed “attempt to destroy the nostalgic memories of middle-aged men”, alongside his excited co-hosting team Frankie Ward and Ty Logan.

Lively banter from the crowd

As an agreeably diverse range of gamers tried difficult video gaming challenges whose complexity’s hard to put across onscreen, the banter among the lively studio crowds keeps things fresh and enjoyable.

“More rare than a healthy work/life balance in the video games industry,” is how Florence presented the coveted GamesMaster Golden Joystick to one successful competitor.

“Are you going to sell it on eBay? That’s what I’d do.”

Hilariously rubbish ‘death’ scene

Meanwhile, a game Sir Trevor McDonald takes over Patrick Moore’s old role as the dome-headed, dungeon-dwelling GamesMaster, his dry one-liners working perfectly alongside the deliberately, hilariously rubbish contestant ‘death’ scene.

With a live esports arena heading for Dundee, this show’s time has come at last.

Along for the ride

Finally, Along for the Ride with David O’Doherty (Channel 4) is yet another celeb-holidays-at-home travelogue.

This time it features O’Doherty – one of the most genuinely inventive stand-ups in the business – on a cycling trip in the British Isles with a new pal every week.

Bets are off on whether the words “Mortimer and Whitehouse” came up in the pitch meeting.

Lurid mustard-yellow gear

This time it was Richard Ayoade, showing off some lurid mustard-yellow gear in Dungeness in Kent, famous for its decidedly unscenic nuclear power station.

The aim is clear, to train the camera on two very funny people and just let them be funny, and this pair gave their money’s worth.

Yet somehow, this worked against it; that in Dungeness, one of the UK’s most unique landscapes, with a famous local landmark in Derek Jarman’s house and more people taking up cycling after lockdown, the sense of place and purpose felt lost.

It was less travelogue, more dialogue.


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