I Love My Country: Is the BBC's 'patriotic' celebrity quiz show television's most inane achievement yet?

 

When ITV1 launched its celebrity diving show Splash!, the critical derision it prompted only succeeded in driving masochistic viewers to the belly-flopping entertainment on offer.

So let’s help the BBC1 publicity machine out – I Love My Country, its new “patriotic” celebrity quiz show, is so thoroughly, idiotically inane, it could well be the worst entertainment offering that the corporation has yet dredged up for the edification of Saturday night viewers.

Presented by Splash! host Gabby Logan (can she repeat the magic?), after David Walliams fled the scene of the pilot episode, the entire venture appears to be a parody of some long-forgotten 1970s Seaside Special-style knees-up.

I Love My Country was imported from the Netherlands under a “first-look” deal with Talpa, the company which sold the BBC the middling talent show, The Voice.

It’s a “first look” in the sense that a bereaved family is asked to confirm the identity of a corpse.

The proceedings open with Mrs Logan dancing awkwardly to the strains of Queen’s totalitarian anthem "One Vision", played by a house band led by noughties pop singer Jamelia.

The camera swoops over the audience, hyped into a flag-waving frenzy, who are required to wear coloured comedy wigs. They are split into two teams, behind their captains, Frank Skinner and comic Micky Flanagan.

Skinner explores the comic potential of his teammate, Casualty actress Charlotte Salt, until every possible mirth-inducing permutation of her surname is ground to er, salt.

The teams compete for tonight’s star prize, a commemorative I Love My Country plate, displayed by two female “hostesses”.

A geographical test requires the teams to identify the village of Lickey End, to predictable hilarity. The captains must mark locations of interest on an oversized map of the UK, using a Yorkshire pudding to win points.

History next – who are the two figures of national importance whose faces have been digitally merged? Of course, it’s Winston Churchill and Ann Widdecombe.

The highlight of the episode is a sit-down game of Pass The Parcel. But someone in BBC Entertainment lacked the confidence that this party-stopper alone would give Saturday nights enough zing. The parcel will “explode” after three minutes of quick-fire questions. The bar is set by the conundrum, “What is the capital of Wales?”

Miranda actor Tom Ellis is asked how many letters make up the English alphabet. Under intense pressure, “28” is his best reckon. The parcel eventually emits a shower of paper and smoke with a health & safety-approved phut.

Jamelia leads the audience through a singalong of "All You Need Is Love", to lift spirits. Then out of nowhere, a question about sculptor Henry Moore is slipped into the increasingly odd cocktail.

Skinner and Flanagan are whisked off Generation Game-style to learn a “traditional British past-time”. They return, in feathered costume, to perform a spot of ye olde englishe samba dancing.

Behind Mrs Logan, a distracting Big Ben clock whirrs at ten times normal speed, giving the programme a deranged, almost psychedelic, Alice In Wonderland air.

After 45 baffling minutes, Mrs Logan signs off the show, thanking the audience and guests, with the words: “They all love their country and so do I.”

Has Mrs Logan been seized by the spirit of Hughie Green who notoriously hijacked a 1976 Opportunity Knocks to rant against bolshy unions and urge Britons to “stand up and be counted”?

Speaking at the series launch, Skinner declined to make any intellectual claims for the show, which has been adapted for national audiences across Europe and has even hit Chinese screens. “My British history is about the level of the programme. They’re not going to ask us anything about who killed the Princes in the Tower,” the comic predicted.

The Tower could be where everyone involved in I Love My Country’s garish parade of stupidity, deserves to end up. There – now watch the ratings soar.

I Love My Country, BBC1, Saturday, 7.30pm

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Arts and Entertainment
Sergeant pfeffer: Beatles in 1963
booksA song-by-song survey of the Beatles’ lyrics
Arts and Entertainment
music'I didn't even know who I was'
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl was left in a conundrum with too much talent and too few seats during the six-chair challenge stage
tvReview: It was tension central at boot camp as the ex-Girls Aloud singer whittled down the hopefuls
Arts and Entertainment
Kalen Hollomon's Anna Wintour collage

art
Arts and Entertainment

TV Grace Dent on TV
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

music
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer is believed to be playing a zombie wife in Patient Zero

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Gatiss says Benedict Cumberbatch oozes sex appeal with his 'Byronic looks' and Sherlock coat
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Clothing items bearing the badge have become popular among music aficionados
musicAuthorities rule 'clenched fist' logo cannot be copyrighted
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson will star in Seth MacFarlane's highly-anticipated Ted 2

film
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in 'Gone Girl'

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?