In the aftermath of the vote to leave the European Union, the pro-EU fanatics of the BBC have been thirsting for revenge. The blame for this aberration - for blame there must be - according to the folk at Broadcasting House lies firmly at the door of just one man: Nasty Nigel Farage.
For reasons the corporation are still struggling to comprehend when it came to the biggest democratic vote in the history of these fair isles, the people chose not to follow the 'sensible' advice of Auntie, but rather the right-wing ravings of nasty Nigel.
It hurt. Oh how it hurt.
Still licking their wounds and brushing down their considerable ego, the Beeb decided to have their revenge; to mock, ridicule and scorn the very man who has so annoyingly rejected their ‘progressive’ wet dream fantasy of open borders and mass immigration. Shame on you Nigel.
While great satire treats the subject with subtlety and perspective despite antipathy, Nigel Farage Gets His Life Back was predicated purely on spite and hate. While it could so easily have gone for light and shade, Nigel Farage Gets His Life Back soon became little more than a diatribe.
This programme could be summarised thus: Nigel Farage is a racist. Yawn.
Predictable, yes, Funny, no.
Perhaps the lack of subtlety could have been mitigated somewhat had the actor playing the role of the ex-UKIP leader actually resembled Mr Farage in any way at all. Not sure who did the casting here – if indeed there was any casting – but surely he/she could have cast an actor with even a passing resemblance to Mr Farage?
The more Kevin Bishop strained, the less he looked and sounded like his target. Crikey, where’s Jon Culshaw when you need him? Or Alistair MacGowan? Mike Yarwood? Anyone but Bishop.
“The trouble with most comedians who try to do satire is that they are essentially brash, noisy and indelicate people who have to use a sledge hammer to smash a butterfly.” Those words of Imogene Coca might have been written especially for this programme.
In one scene a pizza delivery man arrives chez Farage - said pizza man then turns out to be, surprise, surprise, Polish... Those who have not yet watched the show will be able to guess what follows: 'indelicate' doesn't even begin to describe it...
Noticeable by her absence throughout the entire programme was Mr Farage's German wife. Odd. The 'Farage hates foreigners' line would presumably not have worked so well had the audience been introduced to the politician's wife - foreign wife.
When handled with care however satire is capable of being both funny and insightful - anyone who recalls the glorious heyday of Spitting Image will no doubt concur. But while the ITV show always treated ts targets with equanimity and even a certain degree of fondness, this BBC offering was underscored - and heavily so - with snide.
It jeered. It sneered. And the longer this went on the more smug it became.
That is not to say the programme did not have its funny moments. When a member of the public approaches Nigel outside a pub, the politician assumes it’s for a selfie opportunity. It’s not. The man is merely retrieving a jacket.
Such gentle moments of comedy were however all too rare and that is largely because in its heart, at the very centre of its core was hatred.
After a few minutes the programme had soon fired all its weapons, all two of them: (1) Farage spends all his time in pubs and (2) he’s a racist boor. From here it all became rather repetitive and as the ‘jokes’ wore ever thinner all too soon we found ourselves firmly in the territory of polemics.
Nigel Farage Gets His Life Back was the BBC at its worst: vengeful, spiteful and just plain vindictive. The man himself, like most people (metro elites excepted) is undoubtedly flawed. Satire becomes effective when it accepts these flaws and manages to show warmth, even in small doses.
From the moment Bishop delivered his first innuendo to the moment he delivered his final sneer this was a harsh night of TV bereft of charm, not even a single drop. What there was in abundance however was nastiness, 35 minutes of sheer vitriol.
Accepting a loss is never easy, especially when you have the size and ego of the BBC. But there is always a choice: One can choose to lose gracefully with head held high or ungracefully.
In the case of NIgel Farage Gets His Life Back the BBC, unfortunately, opted for the latter.