Dermot O’Leary roared back onto our screens tonight with brand new motoring-quiz show The Getaway Car. Thank goodness for that.
Not only is it about time Mr Saturday Night himself returned to our TVs – we’ve had almost a full year without him – but it’s a lively new format that’s perfect for its early evening Saturday night slot on BBC1. And… it’s not about people singing at us, which makes a change.
The couples are out to win a peachy £10,000, Dermot ribs the contestants, Top Gear’s Stig takes a bit of a bashing and the couples seem genuinely excited to have a go at driving blindfolded and trying car football. To put it simply, it’s fun.
Tonight, as five pairs took on four rounds of driving challenges, the contestants swapped between screaming at each other for driving too fast to yelling at each other for driving too slow. One felt the wrath of her frustrated co-pilot after she shot forward when he’d clearly instructed her to reverse full pelt in first gear… I bargain there was plenty of ‘this is what it’s like driving with you’ when they watched it back at home.
There were moments of brilliant awkwardness as those romantically involved discussed whether they were still together post-driving challenge (“Yes” and “I’ll have to think about it” sang out by one engaged couple). There were Gogglebox-style crackers as the cameras caught every snippet of action from behind the wheel, too. This included one lad yelling he’d accidentally choked on two flies making love as they took on the off-road track.
The icing on the cake was a healthy dose of join-in-and-row-at-home action as at various stages the couples were asked to answer general knowledge questions, which each had multiple answers. And, let’s face it, what Saturday night entertainment show is worth its salt if it doesn’t involve you yelling at a loved one and adamantly taking to Google to prove yourself right, eh?
It is, as Dermot himself told us, a “tongue-in-cheek show” that “doesn’t take itself or the couples too seriously”. The BBC clearly has faith in it, the new series boasting a twelve-episode opening run. While I’m told it’s too early to discuss such ideas, I personally think it feels ripe for a celebrity version. Mel and Sue, Ant and Dec, Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman… plenty of famous double acts could team up behind the wheel. Whether they’d still be a double act at the end, well, I take no responsibility at all.
The Getaway Car continues Saturdays on BBC1