TV Review: Paul Merton’s Adventures Ep:4 In a caravan
Channel 5, 9 November 2011
WHEN CARAVANNING AND maninsteam television broadcasts meet, it is usually a mixed blessing.
Although everyone gets excitied about the fact that there is some wider media exposure for caravanning, by the end of the broadcast, it has usually degenerated into a limp series of jokes about chemical toilets.
The premise of Paul Merton's Adventures is that he is experiencing lots of different types of holiday. With trips to Ibiza and a cruise under his belt already, this week he was trying something closer to home.
Episode four was all about the comedian experiencing a touring caravan holiday. It never set out to stick the boot into caravanning and over the course of the broadcast, avoided most of the lame stereotypes (toilets, old people, holding up traffic). Happily, caravanners in the show were not the oddball curtain twitchers that such programmes usually seek to portray caravanners as.
In fact, after some towing instruction, Paul pitched up next to two super-helpful chaps who helped him through the basics. They were genuinely typical of most caravanners you'll meet on site. Although most would watch you struggle for a bit longer if you weren't famous...
As a relatively experienced caravanner, it is easy to pick holes in some of the factual aspects and dwell on what wasn't done correctly. He had no towing mirrors and never unhitched the car and caravan during the trip for example. He also left his 2012 Swift Challenger Sport 524 in a pub car park while he went in for his lunch and it was still there when he returned! Not very realistic...
Beyond the opening 20 minutes, the programme became more of a discussion about oddball British pastimes, rather than specifically about caravans although the Swift made fleeting appearances as it toured the country. Egg Throwing is not something I'd feel the need to try in a hurry and I hate circuses, so I don't think I'd have enjoyed his holiday. Still, it was a diverting hour of television and despite his protestation that he 'didn't sleep a wink' in his caravan and that he had a 'terrible meal' cooked up in the kitchen, you'd have to conclude it was a pro-caravanning piece.
Overall though, the biggest crime was that, regardless of the subject matter and despite having an engaging host, it just wasn't very interesting. On the plus side, at least there were no jokes about chemical toilets.
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Want to watch?
Paul Merton's Adventures is on Channel 5 at 10pm on 9 November and repeated on sister station 5* at 9pm on 10 November. If you miss it, it will be shown on C5's catch up service, Demand 5 in the next couple of days. Get to Demand 5 by clicking here!