Alan Davies Teenage Blah Blah Blah Something Blah

In my opinion, the sliding scale of celebrity goes something like this: Elvis, Brad Pitt, Fearne Cotton, Dappy from N-Dubz, the Big Brother Diary Room chair, Alan Davies…and finally a garden shed once owned by Maureen from Driving School.

That said, I’m not sure how mop-haired tramp biter Davies managed to convince the Channel 4 execs that anyone other than him, his dad and possibly a handful of TV reviewers starved of decent telly would be interested in watching him trundle around a nondescript Essex suburb reminiscing about his childhood for an hour.

‘This house used to be my house. You see this room? It was my room. It had posters on the wall so people would know it was my room. ‘

Did I say an hour? Sorry, I meant three hours: it’s on for two more weeks.

Occasionally dipping into ‘I HEART THE 1980s’ talking head nostalgia, Alan benevolently informs us that he idolised shouty  American tennis player John McEnroe, that Margaret Thatcher happened and something something something Trade Unions something Diana and Charles something.

So far, so pointless. If you were hoping for some kind of dramatic revelation about a wild, misspent Davies youth you’re not going to find it here. Gasp! Guess what- he used to shoplift from a local bookshop. Rather ineptly, if his extremely staged reconstruction is anything to go by.

His attempt to inject a bit of ‘This is England’ style social realism by limply tackling the subject of inherent 70s racism also fell quite flat. We discover that the National Front were quite active in his local community at the time, and that he was part of a group of lads who used to pester a local Asian shopkeeper.

Rather bizarrely, the programme’s research team manage to track down the newsagent in question. Mr Shah is polite about Davies’ antics (as you would be if someone famous popped round to apologise for nicking your Sherbert Dib-Dabs 30 years ago) and they all have a good old chuckle about how Alan and co. used to call him a ‘Paki’ and he’d try to chase them away. Ahahaha. LOL, etc.

At least pay him for the sweets you nicked, Davies. You earn about a trazillion pounds these days.

Note to C4 producers: Alan Davies On Racism is about as good an idea as Rod Hull and Emu On Gangs: “There’s somebody at the door! Oh look, it’s the Crips and Bloods from Compton.’

Talking about gangs, later in the programme he goes to visit a nearby council estate with the air of an anthropologist popping down the Amazon. Outside the Winston Churchill pub, one of the skins who used to occasionally tear it up in Davies’ nice suburban neighbourhood tells him about how they used to go up Brick Lane to cause trouble, back in the day.

Davies: (Awkward grin)‘And what did you used to call that?’

Skinhead: (sheepishly) ‘Paki-bashing’

Davies: (Awkward grin, looks at shoes, shuffles feet)

He’s hardly Louis Theroux.

At its very best the programme was only mildly interesting. If you were a passionate Alan Davies fan, sitting at home wrapped in your Jonathan Creek duvet cover, watching your QI box set and drinking out of your I HEART ALAN mug, it may even have rated ‘moderately interesting’. But not to me, I’m afraid. I found it, like the 80s as a whole, to be dull as ditchwater.

Next week: Alan reminisces about his time at University. In the 80s!

Do yourself a favour and watch a repeat of the Young Ones instead.

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About Hilary Wardle
Hilary is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes for a wide range of websites, magazines and newspapers, including Buzzfeed, MSN, The Poke, Chortle, the Guardian and the Independent. She specialises in arts and entertainment, comedy, video games and viral content. Contact her at Hilary3@gmail.com.

13 Responses to Alan Davies Teenage Blah Blah Blah Something Blah

  1. Kate says:

    I completely concur. I had wilder times in the 80s at my private girls’ school in the Home counties. And I was 13 when the 80s ended. TV companies, stop commissioning posh white boys to talk about themselves: they are not interesting just because they are posh white boys.

    • ladyribenaberet says:

      I would definitely watch a documentary about Wild Times At Kate High- sounds much more interesting. I think that’s the crux of my issue with this- he’s a privileged, well off white man. Why not give a voice to someone less high profile? They’d probably have had more of interest to say.

  2. Jack Everett says:

    Now if Alan had only had girls to play with-and after a while even hopscotch and washing dolls grows tedious-and the only place he could play was on the main road. Or fishing for newts, tadpoles and sticklebacks in the canal, he might have been mildly more interesting.
    But of course I was born during the war when everything was scarce and then on the ration and I never saw my father for the first five years of my life because he was away fighting a war. Unfortunately as soon as you talk about those times it becomes an instant shut off; no one wants to hear depressing things. Why it’s even more depressing than Mr. Davies

    • ladyribenaberet says:

      I agree with Fazza- not depressing at all. I’d be interested to hear all you have to say about growing up in the 40s and 50s. In fact, you’re welcome to write a guest blog post 🙂 x

  3. Babs says:

    Fucking Marvellous review. Davies did seem to think it was a hilarious old jape now that al that comedy race violence was like, SO 80’s, and fat cunt Ian reminiscing about ‘chasin about’ asians in Brick Lane was understatement on a par with ‘collateral damage’

  4. Chris says:

    What a bitter person you must be!

  5. Fazza says:

    I missed this show and by the sounds of it I didn’t miss much – but you say it’s part 1 of 3 (didn’t you?) so there may be some surprises to come?

    !Jack Everett – you use the word ‘depressing’ to describe your childhood growing up during the war, personally I would use the word ‘fascinating’ and I seriously hope you have spoken at length about it to any children and grandchildren you may have as I’m in my 30’s and I can’t fully imagine what life was like as a child during WWII.

    No PlayStations, very few toys, no bananas, living off rations and having to create your own fun in the outdoors! Lots of children these days spend most of their time in front of some sort of screen either watching TV, playing on games consoles or chatting to their friends on the internet on a computer!

    • Jack Everett says:

      I was not saying that I thought my childhood depressing, in fact although times were hard I would not have swapped my upbringing for any one born in the past twenty years. What I was trying to get across-obviously badly-was the fact that when you bring up the subject in conversation other people believe those times to be depressing. A sort of total turnoff.

  6. I didn’t realise this was on, and was texted by a friend and told to watch because he was enjoying it (he’s a Manc). I recorded it and watched it last night, and both me and my Boro bf really enjoyed it. me for different reasons to him. i used to drink in the Churchill and everywhere shown was my old stomping ground so it all really resonated!

    What my northern mate and bf were enjoying about it, I haven’t asked!

    • ladyribenaberet says:

      Good point- I’m sure if I’d grown up round there it would have been a total nostalgia fest. I didn’t like Davies’ attitude to racism. I think he was sort of playing down his own involvement in things quite a bit, mentioning how he shook the hand of that black goalie and how he was one of the people who continued to be pals with that asian lad, etc. Not quite showing off…but. I don’t know. Something about the whole thing just didn’t sit right with me.

      I suppose that, on the whole, I didn’t really see why Davies warranted 3 weeks worth of intensive, in depth coverage about his early years. Maybe a series where a number of celebs each get one week each would be more interesting. In which case, I’d like to nominate the celebs in question:

      John Cleese
      The Pope
      Charlie Brooker
      Dappy from N-Dubz
      Uncle Bulgaria from the Wombles

      • I think it was mainly because he wrote a book a while ago, based on people that were important in his life. A chapter for each person eg his dad, Harry Redknapp (I don’t know any more as I never bought the book!).

        http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Favourite-People-Me-1978-1988/dp/0718154878/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284289427&sr=8-1

        It obviously got picked up by a TV company.

        I wasn’t as disturbed by the racism element. Being a complete mix of nationalities, I know how the area was in the 70s/80s. I used to get called Paki all the time, and I wasn’t (my dad is Tunisian). Casual racism was rife back then and I bore the brunt of a lot of it, so again, it rang true!

        When I look back now I find it shocking. I only live ‘down the road’ in Walthamstow, and yet my 11 year old daughter is in a real minority in her school being white!

        LOL, I feel like I’m defending Alan Davies, but I wasn’t 😀

  7. Jack Everett says:

    Dear Ladyribenaberet,

    I would be happy to cobble up a blog for you on growing up in the 40’s and 50’s if you don’t mind giving me a week or two so as to do it justice. At the moment I am trying to figure out how to promote an upcoming book release- this is a story in itself as the release date was last year but the publisher (Small Press) closed down and we had to find someone fast as the story was so topical it was being over taken by events. The book is entitled ‘1/1 : Jihad-Britain’ and is being brought out by Acclaimed Books. com and it has been swallowing up so much of my time, I haven’t had much sleep.

    I digress, if you would like to give me some guide lines I will do what I can.

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