Las Vegas with Trevor McDonald, ITV - TV review: Sir Trev was unfailingly polite to everyone including a despicable pimp

The veteran broadcaster’s latest documentary was an interesting look at Sin City’s sleazy side, but he could have got more from his subjects  

Sally Newall
Tuesday 08 December 2015 01:42 GMT
Gambling man: Trevor McDonald's latest documentary looks at the dark side of Las Vegas
Gambling man: Trevor McDonald's latest documentary looks at the dark side of Las Vegas (ITV)

Apparently, infiltrating Mafia dons wasn’t enough for Sir Trevor McDonald. For his latest documentary series, Sir Trev headed to Sin City to get acquainted with the city’s seedy underbelly. We’re talking the ingredients for a stag do gone very wrong a la Hollywood film franchise The Hangover (of which more later). He met bail bondsmen, prostitutes, a pimp and Mike Tyson. The veteran broadcaster was, true-to-form, unfailingly polite and impassive to the point that it sometimes felt like he was narrating a nature documentary rather than getting under the skin of subjects.

As such, the juiciest stuff came from the most talkative of them. Those like Annie, a high-earning prostitute-turned sex worker safe house boss. She told how she had escaped her pimp: “He put me in a trunk, had a body bag ready, cut all my hair off, threw me in the back seat of a car and beat me with a pair of binoculars.” Sir Trev didn’t flinch. He just continued with direct, but not particularly probing questions.

The most interesting bit was his interview with one of Vegas’s big sinners: Mike Tyson, now a devoted family man and an actor (who actually appeared in The Hangover). The interview conducted in Tyson’s glitzy pad was discombobulating. We got the once Baddest Man on the Planet hugging a fluffy red cushion while Sir Trev attempted to delve into his much-documented anger-management issues. Alas, Tyson didn’t bite and both told each other they felt “lucky” with their lot.

I was more worried about Jon the bail bondsman than Tyson. He was a tragic figure who told Sir Trev that he was a gambling addict was forced to travel sans cash to avoid slipping into old habits. He took his interviewer to the casino and had a bit of luck before losing. But that game of craps seem to get him more fired up than arresting criminals who’d skipped bail.

I do wish Sir Trev had given the pimp he met a harder time. The guy wore dark glasses and a bandana to protect his identity. His explanation of teaching girls “how to look, smell and dress like his wife would", while taking 50 per cent of what they earned, was stomach churning. We heard he’d studied criminal justice at uni. “Dare I suggest that that’s a bit ironic?” said Sir Trev. He was polite to the end, disappointingly.

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