This year Mark Steel aims to give a brief overview of the cities and sights of Scotland. It’s effectively like your uncle showing you holiday slides with added jokes and minus the racism. Some would say it is bit of a brave move for a bloke from Swanley to do a show about Scotland, but his love of the country shines throughout.
As always Steel’s politics is always simmering underneath the surface.
The show is divided into two sections, one covers pre/post Brexit material, the other half is about Scottish towns and the various humours facts attached to them. This split means the show feels a little unfocused and it’s really two shows fused together. A greater focus on one would probably lend to a more pleasing arc.
Mark is a master at finding comedy gems hidden within local newspapers and the like. These are often the highlights of the show especially as he approaches these with affection, where many comedians fall back position would be scornful. In fact his great passion for the eccentric nature of the communities he visits is infectious.
He’s got a good eye for what makes a community tick and is knows how extrapolating ideas to their illogical conclusions. His rants well constructed and well paced throughout the show. As always Steel’s politics is always simmering underneath the surface, for many it’s a good release but it’s unlikely to change anyone’s mind.
There is a lot of recycled material, mostly from his recent Radio 4 programme. so to some extent serves as a best of compilation. Fans of the series will certainly enjoy getting to go over some great jokes again.