Travel Man, Channel 4 - TV review

Watching someone have a terrible time on holiday is much more satisfying for those of us stuck at home

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The Independent Culture

Richard Ayoade is another man on a mission, oblivious to worldly concerns. The film director and star of The IT Crowd established his presenting credentials with the tech review show Gadget Man, and in this new series, Travel Man, he applies his idiosyncratic turn of phrase to a different topic.

Each episode he will challenge himself to squeeze the most out of a short stay in a given destination, accompanied by a pal from the world of comedy. This week it was 48 hours in Barcelona, with the magnificent Kathy Burke.

"Well, this isn't chavvy, is it?" said Burke approvingly, once they were safely installed in their £550-a night suite at the El Palauet boutique hotel. A weekend in Barcelona can be done for £69 per person, Richard informed us, but what you get on a bigger budget is of course much, much better.

Their first real sightseeing stop was the Barcelona Football Club Museum, despite the fact that neither had any interest in football. "I feel it's my duty to pour scorn on this in a glib manner," said Ayoade as they entered, and pour scorn he did, thus demonstrating what so many other travel programmes are yet to comprehend – watching someone have a terrible time on holiday is much more satisfying for those of us stuck at home.

Next there was a cava tasting, during which Ayoade insisted he couldn't tell the difference, followed by a dutiful stomp round the Miró Foundation gallery which left Burke unmoved: "Does fuck all for me," she confided. Ever in search of the next disappointment, the pair never dallied anywhere long enough to try our patience, and thus, true to his word, Travel Man packed it all in, in an offbeat, enjoyable half-hour.

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