Judge Romesh? OK then… BBC2’s The Ranganation is a real irritation


WHILE nearly all of our backs were turned, there’s been a one-man takeover of the television schedules.

Judge Romesh, Romesh’s Look Back To The Future, Rob & Romesh Vs . . . , Romesh Ranganathan The Reluctant Landlord, Romesh: Talking To Comedians, The Misadventures Of Romesh Ranganathan, Romesh Ranganathan: Just Another Immigrant and on and on it goes.

BBC/Zeppotron/Brian Ritchie

The Ranganation is the latest takeover of our TV schedules by comedian Romesh Ranganathan[/caption]

He is a one-man comedy phenomenon and I, for one, don’t begrudge or blame him if he wants to cash in and, as he puts it, “ride the ethnic diversity horse”, as it could all end at any minute.

Or the box-ticking bandwagon could just keep rolling until someone is brave enough to point out the reason they’ve tried so many different Romesh formats is that none of them have been funny enough to stick and establish themselves as permanent television fixtures.

In the meantime, BBC2’s having another crack at it every Sunday with a waste of time called The Ranganation, where Romesh “gets to the heart of the week’s biggest talking points”, milkshake throwing, the environment, dating apps etc, in the company of fellow comedians Katherine Ryan and Natasia Demetriou, just in case, you know, the host isn’t funny enough on his own.

There’s also The Ranganation itself, who are 24 over-sharing members of the public, plus his mum and a very minor celebrity, who don’t have names, they have descriptions, like Small Town Girl, Ex Banker, The Dogfather, and are there to be put down, mocked and generally treated like so much civilian trash.

WARNING: Use of this image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' Digital Picture

On The Ranganation Romesh ‘gets to the heart of the week’s biggest talking points’[/caption]

Research is clearly not the show’s strong point.

Week one it came to a grinding halt when it turned out hardly any of The Ranganation watched Game Of Thrones. On Sunday it took several minutes to establish whether or not one of them, Wheeler Dealer, could impersonate an animal.

When it does get going the show can very occasionally feel like arriving two hours late at the pub. Everyone’s laughing but you’ve no idea why.

For the most part, though, The Ranganation belongs to the same comedy applause school as The Last Leg, Mash Report and New World Order.

Katherine Ryan joined Romesh to add some extra comedy

They’ll clap anything here, in fact. Romesh’s mum admits taking a curry to the cinema (clap). Nigel Farage gets covered in milkshake (clap clap whoop). The Dogfather telling us to: “Stop raping the planet,” (clap clap clap clap).

Although, I say anything, the moment it broke down was when half a dozen people applauded the idea of Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister and, woah!, Romesh had to threaten them, jokingly, with ejection.

They’d broken the rules, you see. Shows like The Ranganation like to think of themselves as edgy, but they’re very tightly governed by the laws of political correctness.

This means you no longer have to be funny to be a stand-up or comedy host, but you must be on-message, which is why, paradoxically, we’ve never had more comedians on telly but so few actual laughs.

WARNING: Use of this image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' Digital Picture

Shows like The Ranganation like to think of themselves as edgy, but they’re very tightly governed by the laws of political correctness[/caption]

Flogging them to death doesn’t work either. You may have found Katherine Ryan and Romesh funny the first time you saw them, but you’re probably fed up with the sight of them by their thousandth appearance.

As for the actual process of this show?

The Ranganation wasn’t sure dating apps worked and milkshake throwing was also a grey area, but the host definitely thought we could save the planet by not flushing our toilets.

“So do you mind if I come round your house and p*** like a horse?”
Mind? We won’t get a say in it. The BBC’s already planning the six-part series, Romesh Ranganathan: Toilet Humour.

Life Stories

Piers Morgan to Mel B: “If I could trap you on a desert island, for the rest of your life, with one Spice Girl.”

It’d be appreciated, ta.

Great TV lies and delusions of the week

Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan: “I am not morbidly obese.”

Good Morning Britain, Kevin Maguire: “There are quite a few Leave voters at the BBC.”

And Good Morning Britain, Susanna Reid: “Honestly, if Andi Peters was in 55 Hunks, which he should be, he’d be scoring 10.” Out of what, Susanna?

4-minute PC bomb warning

OVER on BBC1’s look-into-the-future drama Years And Years, all-out nuclear war between China and America seems to have fizzled out after one episode.

The good news, though, is it seems to have released enough radiation poisoning to kill off Jessica Hynes’s character, Edith, the campaigner, activist and all-round pain-in-the-ar*e, within the next couple of episodes.

WARNING: Use of this image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' Digital Picture

Years and Years’ Edith, played by Jessica Hynes, is an all-round pain-in-the-ar*e[/caption]

If you think that’ll be the end of the political lecture, however, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Writer Russell T Davies is far too hot under the collar about America, Israel, “the West”, bankers, privatisation and “NHS cuts” to get off his high horse any time soon.

Weirdly, he also wants Years And Years viewers to try and believe that, in the not-too-distant future, a Christian regime, in the Ukraine, will be torturing gay people.

Which, given that homosexuality is currently and exclusively a death penalty offence in ten Islamic states, has to be one of the most cowardly distortions of reality I’ve ever seen on a television drama.

WARNING: Use of this image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' Digital Picture

Years and Years is a political lecture by writer Russell T Davies[/caption]

Far less sinister, but almost as tiresome, is the continued presence of Alexander Armstrong on Years And Years.

He turned up hosting a 2023 edition of Have I Got News For You in the first episode, and then reappeared fronting Pointless Celebrities, in the year 2025, last week.

So don’t expect any sympathy if he reappears tonight on Best Ever Christmas 2026, still murdering Fields Of bloody Gold.

You’ve been given your four-minute warning.

Great Sporting Insights

Compiled by Graham Wray

Chris Powell: “It’s a step forward back to the glory days.”

Michael Owen: “It was great opportunityism from the striker.”

And Neil Lennon: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that’s come round again.”
(Compiled by Graham Wray)

Random irritations

Victoria Coren Mitchell’s nauseating love-in with MP Jess Phillips on Have I Got News For You.

Piers Morgan telling Life Stories guest Mel B The Spice Girls were “the female Beatles”, when they weren’t even the female Tremeloes.

Hollyoaks actor Maxim Baldry attempting a Ukrainian accent in Years And Years.

Every bone-idle chancer in Britain interpreting “Bank Holiday Monday” as “Take Friday off as well”.

And Britain’s Got Talent auditions getting lost in sob stories, sentimentality and all those magical charisma voids who begin by announcing: “I need someone to come up and help me.” BZZZZZ, “Next?”

Telly Quiz

How did Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry say Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would respond if Birmingham was taken out by a Russian nuclear attack, on Wednesday’s Good Morning Britain?

A) “He’d fill his gormless left-wing pants.”

B) “Form a conga with Seumas Milne and start celebrating.”

C) “We don’t know.”

Quiz show doughballs of the week

Tipping Point, Ben Shephard: “In 2008 Serbian Branislav Ivanovic joined which London-based football team?”
Mary: “Manchester City.”
Ben Shephard: “During which world war did the Battle of Britain take place?”
Julie: “World War One.”
And Ben Shephard: “Thought to have been born in Wales in the fifth century, Saint Non is the mother of which patron saint?”
Paul: “Shirley Bassey.”
(All contributions gratefully accepted.)

Egomaniac of the week?

Vainglorious This Morning host Eamonn Holmes, who turns every conversation round to the subject of himself, including Friday’s Theresa May/Grenfell chat, where he claimed: “If I’d been Prime Minister I’d have set up a park full of static caravans.

“I’d have had these people housed in the sort of lodges we give away on this programme.”

But you weren’t, so stop playing the hero and just link to your rip-off phone-line competition.



This week’s winner is Alex “Trevor from EastEnders” Ferns as Glukhov, the miners’ leader, in Chernobyl, and cricketer Allan Lamb. Sent in by Paul Burkett, of Bermondsey, South East London

Picture research by Alfie Snelling.

TV Gold

  • Sky Atlantic’s Chernobyl.
  • Tiny Tim spending “A night of hormone-driven passion with four OAP females”, on Secret Life Of The Zoo (he’s a fish).
  • Ross Kemp’s Hatton Garden: The Inside Story, on ITV.
  • And the Britain’s Got Talent final 40 live show list throwing up one of those precious, once-in-a-generation performers who has the talent to conquer the world.
  • Bloke who can hand fart Take On Me to win.

Stomach cherning triumph

NEVER a good sign, is it, when you vomit up your own decomposed internal organs, have to be buried in a zinc coffin and a cement mixer turns up to your funeral?

That’s the thing about Sky Atlantic’s Chernobyl, though, it spares you no details about the greatest technological catastrophe of the 20th century. Nor should it.


Sky Atlantic’s Chernobyl spares you no details about the greatest technological catastrophe of the 20th century[/caption]

Because, shamefully, I hadn’t realised just how close the 1986 disaster came to destroying the entire planet.

As well as flagging up my own appalling ignorance, this must also be some sort of tribute to the power of a production where they’ve got everything right, from the Soviet-era clothing (think Jarvis Cocker convention) to the script and performances of all the main leads, Jared Harris, Jessie Buckley, Emily Watson and even the bloke in the Mikhail Gorbachev skull cap.

It loses absolutely nothing, either, from the fact that Finchy from The Office appears to have been in the Politburo, and that the heroic leader of the Russian miners, who tunnelled underneath the damaged reactor, was Trevor off EastEnders.

Well, OK, maybe it takes a bit of the edge off, but still, Chernobyl is not just the best thing on TV, it’s the only thing right now.
(Sky Atlantic, tonight, 9pm.)


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