Joe Lycett v David Beckham: A Got Your Back Christmas Special
Joe Lycett v David Beckham: A Got Your Back Christmas Special (Channel 4, 9pm)
Comedian Joe Lycett is used to making headlines – just look at his appearance on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg back in September, where he claimed to be a right-wing supporter of Liz Truss.
However, last month he pulled off his most audacious and controversial stunt to date when he took a stand against David Beckham’s decision to act as an ambassador for World Cup in Qatar.
Lycett took to Twitter and offered to donate £10,000 of his own money to LGBTQ+ charities if Beckham ended the sponsorship before the tournament – and if he didn’t, the cash would be shredded.
Some people may wonder why the comedian targeted Beckham – after all, he was hardly the only person heading to Qatar – but Lycett explained why he found the move particularly disappointing in a video.
He said: “This is a message to David Beckham. I consider you, along with Kim Woodburn and Monty Don, to be a gay icon.
“You were the first premiership footballer to do shoots with gay magazines like Attitude, to speak openly about your gay fans – and you married a Spice Girl, which is the gayest thing a human being can do. But now it’s 2022, and you signed a reported £10 million deal with Qatar to be their ambassador during the FIFA World Cup.”
For his part, Beckham has said that the World Cup would be a platform for progress, inclusivity and tolerance.
The threat to shred money, especially in a cost-of-living crisis, divided many people, but it seemed that the stand-up believed he had to do something extreme to call attention to human rights issues in Qatar.
Speaking on Richard Herring’s podcast, Lycett said: “To get it in the press, to bring pressure, I had to do something bold. And the money has really captured people. And it’s a talking point, people have been talking about it. There’s something about destroying money…
“I appreciate what I’m going to do is bold and will [annoy] a lot of people. But I’m at that point now where I’m, I’m so angry about it. I don’t care.”
And when Beckham didn’t respond to him, Lycett did film himself apparently putting cash in the shredder, but later clarified that all was not as it seemed.
Even when it became clear that comic and consumer right’s champion had not actually destroyed £10,000, the stunt proved divisive.
Now, this festive special of Lycett’s consumer show sheds new light on the incident as it follows the comedian in the days leading up the stunt, which he hoped would draw attention to the true cost of the World Cup. it discovers that it wasn’t just cash that was at risk of being shredded – his nerves were on the line too.
Even with all that going on Lycett still found time to reunite the cast of a telly classic and resume his role of consumer champion as he took on one of the UK’s biggest sellers of Christmas cards. Presumably he won’t be expecting be on the Beckhams’ Christmas card list though.