Love and laughter is back in The Last Leg

Friday: The Last Leg; (Channel 4, 10pm)

By Claire Cartmill
Thursday, 15th July 2021, 8:18 pm

What started back in 2012 as a jokey, daily round-up show after the Paralympics has, well, just run and run.

Almost a decade later the same three men with four legs – Australian comedian Adam Hills, British journalist Alex Brooker and British funnyman and “token able-bodied person” Josh Widdicombe – are still making us laugh while also making us think about world events.

Sport is no longer the main focus, with The Last Leg’s shift in format from Paralympics analysis to a more general late-night current affairs comedy talk show.

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Adam Hills and co-hosted by Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker

This has worked marvellously, largely due to the obvious warmth and camaraderie between Hills, Widdicombe and Brooker, and has led to the show being nominated for a Bafta and several other awards.

In fact, Series 22 does actually have a Paralympics to count down for, as the postponed 2020 Games are due to be held in Tokyo between August 24 and September 5, after the Olympics have finished. Hills has revealed that originally the show was supposed to just have him as the anchor, but that the chemistry with first-episode guests Widdicome and Brooker impressed a commissioning editor so much they completely changed the format.

He told the Radio Times: “You’ve got the young, naïve puppy dog from Ashford in Alex, you’ve got the guy with the West Country accent in Josh, and then you’ve got the really blunt, funny Australian. And those three seem to be the perfect ingredients together.”

There’s a lot of satire, quite a bit of ranting and some extremely bad language – and because it is broadcast live there is always a chance to address to breaking news.

The #IsItOk Twitter hashtag, which started out as a way for viewers to ask about how to interact with people who have disabilities, has evolved into a way to poke fun at the previous week’s news. However, disabilities in general are still casually referred to often and joked about, rather than given any special section.

The hosts are joined by a range of guests from the spheres of politics, comedy and entertainment to riff on topics as wide ranging as the latest Westminster scandal to the most amusing viral stories from social media. There were hopes of having a full live audience back in the studio by the end of the series but the delay in easing restrictions means this is unlikely to happen.

This week the trio is joined by the comedians Asim Chaudhry and Rosie Jones. Chaudhry is best known for playing Chabuddy G in the BBC mockumentary People Just Do Nothing, which he helped to create. He has also been cast to play Abel in Netflix’s forthcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s sprawling graphic novel The Sandman, opposite Unforgotten’s Sanjeev Bhaskar as Abel’s biblical brother, Cain.

The Last Leg is familiar territory for Jones, who has cerebral palsy and actually started her career in comedy writing for the show back in 2016 during that year’s Paralympics, before deciding to step in front of the camera herself.

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