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TV REVIEW - Romantic interlude; TELLY.

Byline: BARRIE MILLS

Room 101 (BBC2) PAUL Merton does such a good job of presenting this show that it's hard to remember Nick Hancock as the original host.

Last night, comedian Ricky Gervais ? of The Office fame ? attempted to consign to oblivion pet hates including caravan holidays and charity telethons.

Largely because of Merton's dry humour, this show is seldom dull and Gervais was an entertaining guest. As always, some memorable clips were chosen to illustrate each topic.

Funniest was Gene Pitney, representing the theme of lateness, failing dismally to mime along in time to his backing track while appearing at the Albert Dock in an old edition of Richard and Judy.

Equally cringe-making was when Gervais was ambushed with a video clip of himself fronting a New Romantic group during the 1980s, all cheek bones and eye-liner ? he clearly wished he had put that particular VHS in the bin before the show started.

Billy Connolly's World Tour (BBC1) IF I've ever seen a bad show starring Billy Connolly, I don't remember it.

This is the kind of programme the BBC does well, a quirky little tour around some of the nation's unusual places mixed together with clips of the irrepressible Connolly in concert.

Among the unusual places visited last night were Cardiff ? included on the basis that it had changed so much since his last visit 10 years ago ? and Portmeirion, the Italianate folly that became famous as the set for The Prisoner in the 1960s.

Although his purple-dyed beard and motor-trike make him look like some kind of Hells Angel Lite, Connolly still remains the king of observational comedy and brings that ability off stage with him when describing the places he visits.

Fifth Gear (C5) TOP Gear's old favourites - minus Clarkson - make the quantum leap from BBC prime-time to Channel 5, but fail to take advantage of the opportunity to do anything new with the show.
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Title Annotation:Media
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 23, 2002
Words:319
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