24 Hours to Go Broke, Dave - TV review

 

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The Independent Culture

The Brewster's Millions-inspired format of Dave's new series 24 Hours to Go Broke challenges two celebrities to spend £8,000 in 24 hours. The catch is they aren't in over-priced London, where £8,000 is roughly the going rate for two pints of lager and a packet of dry roasted peanuts, but in a more unlikely locale.

This first episode saw comedians David Baddiel and Richard Herring roaming the streets of the Armenian capital Yerevan, for instance, where a nice cup of coffee costs the equivalent of just 30p. This exchange rate made it harder to plough through eight grand but they gave it a good go, visiting a fortune teller, splashing out over £500 on a slap-up lunch in Prince Charles's favourite Armenian dining spot, and paying a Baddiel-lookalike in a bar to appear in a souvenir photograph. As we would have said to this unlucky chap back in the old Newman and Baddiel days: "See that David Baddiel? That's you that is."

Two wealthy British comedians throwing money away in one of Europe's poorer cities sounds in poor taste and it is. But then, as Baddiel was careful to point out, "Really, all TV shows that send anyone anywhere are doing exactly the same thing." That's true. His later claim that their activities were "taking the piss out of richness", however, seemed a stretch.

This show worked best not as a stinging satire on wealth inequality, but as an enjoyable, and unexpectedly informative travelogue. By forcing the presenters to spend on experiences, rather than goods, we got a much richer sense of the country and its people. Who would have thought, for instance, that a woman on the street in Yerevan would profess herself a fan of David Baddiel's movie work? She must have been confusing him with David Schwimmer. Or that bloke from the bar.

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