Cricket tourist stays too long at the crease

There is a great deal of him po­litely con­sum­ing the tucker

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - Stephen Matchett

An Aussie Goes Bolly 8.30pm, Fox 8

ANY­BODY mis­er­able they missed his first suc­cess­ful se­ries ( on pay television, an au­di­ence that rates above sam­pling er­ror is a hit) should cheer up, be­cause Gus Wor­land is back.

In his first out­ing, Aussie ex­traor­dinare Wor­land tramped across Aus­tralia with the Barmy Army as it cel­e­brated the per­for­mance, or lack of it, of the English cricket team in songs and suds. And now Gus is at it again, this time in a six- part se­ries on the op­po­si­tion ’s turf, as he goes to ev­ery game on an Aus­tralian tour of In­dia.

This is a ter­rific idea for an hour­long travel show but if this ini­tial episode is any in­di­ca­tion, not even the ami­able Wor­land, who seems game for most things, can carry an­other five.

Tonight there is much more of Gus the tourist than Gus the cricket tragic. Sure, he goes to a cou­ple of one- day games and the shots of the enor­mous crowds be­hav­ing much the same as spectators at any Aus­tralian ground are en­ter­tain­ing enough.

How­ever, judg­ing by the po­lice pres­ence, any­body who starts a Mex­i­can wave at the Cochin ground would be in strife quick smart.

But this se­ries is about Gus on tour rather than the game, so there is a great deal of him po­litely con­sum­ing the tucker and gen­er­ally play­ing tourist in the com­pany of some re­mark­ably good- na­tured In­di­ans, who do not mind this big pink bloke wan­der­ing all over their pitch. And he does it over and over.

To the ex­tent the show works, it is be­cause of Wor­land, who is ei­ther a good bloke or an ex­cel­lent ac­tor.

He takes peo­ple as he finds them and is happy to have a beer and a yarn with any­one who shares his love of cricket. There is a sense of the sales­man in Wor­land ’ s per­for­mance but it is hard to imag­ine a bet­ter qual­i­fi­ca­tion for this sort of TV than gen­uinely lik­ing hu­man­ity and hop­ing peo­ple like him as well.

Wor­land ’s mate — and the show ’s pro­ducer — Hugh Jack­man ob­vi­ously agrees that the pre­sen­ter ’s per­son­al­ity can carry the se­ries.

Per­haps it can, but 30 min­utes into this episode you get the idea, and af­ter an hour it is ob­vi­ous what will be much the same in sub­se­quent episodes. For peo­ple who have al­ways wanted to watch an Aus­tralian tour of In­dia, this should be enough to ei­ther cure them of the com­pul­sion or com­pel them to book their seats for the next se­ries.

But as a travelogue, with ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion about In­dian cricket and the vast num­bers of peo­ple who adore the game, it is an in­nings that just goes on and on.

Me and my mate Jacko:

Gus Wor­land with se­ries pro­ducer Hugh Jack­man

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