Noel’s HQ, Sky1

Did we like it?
If this wasn’t such a cynical programme, we’d find it hard to attack a show with such altruistic motives. But as every bit of it was carefully calculated and so dripping in insincerity, we have no qualms about hitting out. We hated it.

What was good about it?
• Ricky Whittle from Hollyoaks came across as genuinely nice as he showed a fan around the Hollyoaks set and allowed her to watch him recording a dramatic scene (in which his one line was “err, no”).
• Ben James Ellis (he should have been Joseph) was sweet enough in his report for the Noel’s Big Band campaign.

What was bad about it?
• Noel Edmonds has turned into a messianic, David Icke-like figure (“Britain, are you with me?”), mixed with undelivered Vernon Kay-Dermot O’Leary-type promises (“I guarantee this show will make your Saturday night truly memorable”), Jon Gaunt-Richard Littlejohn-type sentimentality (“I personally think we should respect the elderly more”) and a hairstyle from hell. The benevolence he spreads is nullified by his own personal gain; in a feelgood show, no one feels more good than Noel, in his privileged position to reward dogooders and right wrongs.
• Noel wasn’t the only one patting himself on the back. Lots of generous companies got namechecks and the likes of Neil Fox, a party organiser and a lifestyle guru were rewarded for their saintliness with the chance to appear on TV in a good light and earn cheers from the Union Flag-waving audience.
• The lack of any fresh thinking. This format was all borrowed, with no additional spark, from That’s Life, Hearts of Gold, Surprise Surprise, Challenge Anneka and Jim’ll Fix It.
• The embarrassed reactions of the heroes who, it seems, got a lot of satisfaction from doing voluntary work, rescuing people and pets from burning buildings and raising money. Hence, they looked awkward being rewarded with material gains or encounters with celebrities. If I had a rare, painful genetic disorder yet run races to raise money for Wish Upon a Star, the last thing I’d ever want from my charitable works is to be forced to sit on a sofa as Noel Edmonds tells me: “You are an inspiration; you are a shining light; you are a star.”
• The rancid roving reporters – Andi Peters, Konnie Huq and Keith Chegwin. Huq was the worst – “he saved not one, not two but THREE lives from a burning house!!!” she trilled before the saviour was forced to compete against a Gladiator on a bungee run to win himself some prizes.
• The Bonkers Britain slot – a rip-off from the That’s Life Jobsworth slot – which featured Cheggers shouting through a megaphone at City Hall, hoping to get Boris Johnson to sort out a minor mishap involving the congestion charge (which seems to have replaced the Holocaust as the most dreadful thing ever in the minds if middle England).
• Just to help the less caring viewers be moved a little, Leona Lewis’s Run and Alexandra Burke’s Hallelujah provided the schmaltzy musical beds to ratchet up the emotions on reports about the death of have-a-go hero Gary Newlove and the three redundant Woolies workers from the same family (the ones who were asked by a concerned Noel: “Just how bleak are the job prospects?”).

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