Bearing in mind that in the last ten years there have been more supposed sightings of the Loch Ness monster than of an actual impressionist show on television, it was therefore intriguing to see that ITV1 had recently commissioned such a show called The Imitation Game. This show aired for the first time last Sunday.
This could have so easily been car crash telly, but in fact overall it wasn’t too bad an effort. Yes, the set was a bit garish and the host in the form of Alexander Armstrong, wasn’t that witty, however something about it worked.
It never had me laughing at loud but at the same time it had me smiling. Smiling about my nostalgic past perhaps where good impressionists on TV variety shows were the norm. I also liked this show having a live band too, this gave it a contemporary feel.
Scheduling wise, Sunday night at 10.05pm, seems like a good time slot at first glance. What better way to prepare for the working week ahead than to go to bed chuckling and smiling. That was until a certain TV phenomena called Bodyguard, aired on the other side 9pm til 10pm. I was that taut and tense at the explosive ending this week that I wasn’t ready to watch something humorous just some five minutes afterwards. Therefore, do what I did and watch The Imitation Game on catch-up, you’ll be more open to being amused this way.
As already stated, the host was comedian and famous quiz master Alexander Armstrong. He was never unbelievably bad or anything, he just did a competent satisfactory job of linking and presenting the show to us. Alongside him were team captains Rory Bremner and Debra Stephenson. Two good likeable picks and two good comedy performers whose television careers seemed to have fallen off the radar somewhat up to this show. Rory had Jess Robinson on his team, whereas alongside Debra was up and coming impressionist Luke Kempner.
The format was that the teams had a series of impressionist challenges to do. Again, with this type of show it didn’t matter who won. Nobody cares as long as they are amusing, which admittedly they were to a degree. The teams had to revoice news footage, blast out surprising cover versions and reenact classic well-known movie scenes. The comedy highlight in this episode was a Blind Date parody which involved Debra trying to guess who was the real Christopher Biggins.
This is not a show to rave about, however it is also not a show to be downcast about either. In a TV world now that is full of endless boring reality TV, The Imitation Game is a welcome addition. It is something a bit different and is a bit of lighthearted relief that is always so good for the soul. 3/5.