CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night's TV: Joe Lycett looks lost

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Joe Lycett looks a little lost in his turn as a travel guide

Travelman: 48 Hours in Split


The Split


Joe Lycett and Aisling Bea took a weekend break to Croatia on Travelman: 48 Hours In Split (C4) and enjoyed a stroll on the beach. With puppies.

For about nine quid each, the duo were able to borrow dogs from a rescue charity, including a black-and-tan pup called Billie and a red terrier called Mila.

The puppy-walkers’ duties included taking their new friends to the water’s edge and holding them as they learned to swim.

I’d love to know how many dogs the charity loses to tourists who simply refuse to give them back.

The relaxation of a Mediterranean holiday always brings on a state of delusionary affluence in me.

A couple of days abroad and I’m in danger of buying anything I see. Our house is full of souvenir tat — a Spanish donkey with matches in its panniers, a snow globe of Vesuvius sprinkling ash on Pompeii.

Joe Lycett (pictured) tries his hand as a travel guide on Travelman: 48 Hours In Split (C4). Together with Aisling Bea in Croatia the pair enjoy a Mediterranean holiday

If I can’t resist a bottle of limoncello shaped like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, how am I going to be able to part with a holiday puppy?

Joe and Aisling took their time getting into the city break spirit. Whether something was said off-camera, we’ll never know, but on their first day together she veered from being distant and offhand to snappish and sarky.

When he made a comment about women’s rights, she rolled her eyes and sneered: ‘Well-known feminist Joe Lycett, at it again.’

And at the first opportunity, she sent him off to explore one of the sights on his own: ‘I just think on a couple’s break it’s important to have some space.’

That’s taking Split literally.

By the next day, though, they were the best of chums, walking arm in arm. Maybe the director warned them to make an effort.

The problem might be that, after three excursions, the show’s new host has yet to get the hang of his role. Joe’s used to being the centre of attention, on The Great British Sewing Bee.

He still seems most comfortable doing silly scripted segments to camera, rather than sharing an experience on the tourist trail with a fellow comedian.

Aisling exhibited a better grasp of how it worked: have a go at paddle boarding or take a cookery class, make a few wisecracks, chat a little about whether you liked it and move on to the next activity.

Perhaps it helped that she has done this show before, visiting Budapest with previous presenter Richard Ayoade in 2017.

Richard’s technique, though it eventually wore thin, was to wearily detest every place he visited. That encouraged his guests to enjoy themselves more, as a counterbalance.

In Reykjavik, Bilbao and now Split, Joe has seemed neither to like nor loathe the destinations. He looks a bit lost, as though he could be anywhere — just concentrating on his lines and waiting for the next instruction from the camera crew.

Stephen Mangan stars in the gloriously overwrought divorce drama, The Split (BBC1), alongside Lara Pulver, Elizabeth Roberts, Deborah Findlay and Fiona Button

At least he’s not such an annoying drip as Stephen Mangan, in the gloriously overwrought divorce drama, The Split (BBC1).

As lawyer Nathan, who has left his wife to live with a smug psychologist called Kate (Lara Pulver), he can’t cope with any of the women in his life.

His mother-in-law (Deborah Findlay) patronises him, his daughter (Elizabeth Roberts) despises him and his sister-in-law (Fiona Button) is barely speaking to him.

He seems too pathetic to be worth disliking, till he loses his temper with wife Hannah (Nicola Walker) over visiting rights. Then we really see why none of them can bear him.

‘Clearly the amicable divorce is out of the window,’ remarks a colleague.

Good. Let’s hope Hannah takes him to the cleaners.

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