James Delingpole James Delingpole

The real thing

The real thing

You were probably expecting me to watch Celebrity Shark Bait (ITV1, Sunday) but I didn’t because I was feeling a bit ‘been there, done that’ and, short of filming the celebrities actually being eaten, I couldn’t see how they could possibly have made it exciting. I expect there was lots and lots of build-up as the celebrities (Ruby Wax, Richard E. Grant, a couple of others you’ve never heard of) confessed how scared of sharks they were, followed by shots of them looking at fins in the water going, ‘Ooh, er. No way am I going into the water with them,’ followed by scenes of them in the cage going, ‘Wow. This is amazing. I’m in a cage surrounded by actual Jaws-style sharks.’ Or was it even less interesting than I’ve just imagined?

What I have been watching a lot of is stuff about the hurricane because I love New Orleans, it’s my favourite American city and it was at one time my ambition to buy myself a colonial mansion in the Garden District. I expect now I could probably afford one.

Hotel on Sea (BBC1, Thursday) is a slyly funny new spoof, fly-on-the-wall comedy series in the manner of The Office about an ailing, joke hotel in Blackpool called The President, with acting so deadpan and perfectly observed you could almost believe it was the real thing. Except you know it’s not, obviously, because of characters like the duty manager who doubles up as a DJ-cum-transvestite entertainer in the basement bar (Kennedy’s) that is so spectacularly crap that guests virtually have to be paid before they think of visiting it. Such people and places could never exist.

But they do. Alerted by the fact that no writer or actors were credited at the end, I double-checked in the Radio Times and realised that Hotel on Sea is in fact TV’s first ever ‘comi-doc’.

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