Fans of well-spoken silver-haired chaps on TV will be jumping for joy today at the news that Jon Bentley is returning to The Gadget Show a little more than a year after being handed (or more likely, considering the show’s remit, e-mailed) his walking papers.
While Bentley’s return has been somewhat overshadowed in the headlines by the show’s signing of Rachel Riley, I’ve not been alone in pumping the unseasonably cold April air to celebrate the former Fifth Gear man’s Gadget Show reinstatement.
The fact of the matter is that some people are simply irreplaceable. Imagine, for instance, Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson, Red Dwarf without Craig Charles, or Motorhead without Lemmy. None of them would be the same, would they? And that’s what’s been wrong with The Gadget Show since Jon’s been away.
Lacking his expertise, wry humour and air of dignity to counterbalance the, erm, boundless enthusiasm of Jason Bradbury and Pollyanna Woodward, The Gadget Show’s felt rather rudderless in its “All New/ World Tour” incarnations.
Besides – and possibly more importantly – Bentley’s simply a joy to watch.
Like Julian Fellowes or the late Henry Root author William Donaldson, Bentley on the box combines everything that’s smart, proper and quintessentially British with a joyful sense of mischief. If you’re not convinced, have a look at this clip, in which he plummily describes some of the water-based hazards electronic gizmos face before gamely falling face-first into a paddling pool:
“Edutainment” is a horrid word (and not really a word), but it’s apt to describe exactly what Jon brings to The Gadget Show. He’s authoritative, but never dry (especially not in that video) and entertaining without having to resort to tiresome wackiness or unnecessary clowning.
In short, Jon Bentley’s return to The Gadget Show is very much A Good Thing, and I’ll leave the final word on the subject to another Bentley-head on Twitter: “Go @jonbentley90 – hey, I might start watching @TheGadgetShow again! ”