TV

The Goes Wrong Show: why not laugh as the wheels come off?

Give your adrenal glands the month off and enjoy some good old-fashioned slapstick instead. The Goes Wrong Show is proper art, promises Lucy Sweet

Although this is traditionally the time of year for resolutions and decluttering, 2020 already feels like hitching a ride on a marauding clown car that’s on fire and heading towards a cliff. So why not laugh as the wheels (and doors, and roof) come off? With uncharacteristic perfect timing The Goes Wrong Show is here to soothe our troubled brows. It’s the ideal accompaniment to our everyday diet of global and existential chaos, in that everything goes to shit with alarming regularity. The fundamental difference is that it’s actually funny. 

This is a spin-off from the West End hit The Play That Goes Wrong, by the fictional and incompetent Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society – a seamlessly choreographed theatrical disaster zone that could make a corpse, well…corpse. If there was a floorboard to fall through, a door that didn’t open or a line to stumble embarrassingly over, this group of largely unknown yet fiendishly talented actors risked their lives to pull it off in the most creative (and painful) way possible. Since 2016, there have been several festive TV productions; Peter Pan Goes Wrong (the main character gets trapped in a window), A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong (Derek Jacobi losing his dignity) and 2019’s The Spirit of Christmas, which made me almost drop my Baileys in a fit of hysteria when a snowman got caught in a mangle and an elf suffocated behind a fireplace.

Join The Ride Out Recession Alliance

The Ride Out Recession Alliance (RORA) will develop and implement practical steps and solutions to prevent families losing their homes, and help people remain in employment.

Learn More

So it was only a matter of time before a full series beckoned, with the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society back at their alma mater, performing six terrible half-hour plays to a hapless studio audience. The first one is called The Pilot (Not the Pilot), which as the title suggests is about a pilot, not to be confused with a TV pilot – which it is, constantly. This stilted World War 2 drama is doomed from the outset thanks to the main character’s fake amputated leg that keeps springing out of its straps, a door with a trompe l’oeil staircase that backfires uncomfortably and an actor who is supposed to be from the French resistance but doesn’t know any French. (At one point, she stands there looking blank, before seductively breathing the words “petit filous” into the pilot’s ear).   

OK, we’re not talking highbrow here. If you like that kind of thing, there are plenty of boring, bloated, Oscar-worthy films on right now at your local multiplex. However, there’s a genuine art to this kind of breathless slapstick. This is physical theatre of the most accomplished and daring kind, with clever devices everywhere you dare to look. 

It also works as a glorious summer holiday for your brain. Seriously, if you’ve ever laughed at the Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies, you need this in your life. Treat your inner 10-year-old to a laugh. In fact, you never know – watching this might just become a vital coping strategy for the next 12 months.  

The Goes Wrong Show is on Fridays on BBC One at 8.30pm and on BBC iPlayer 

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Rebus star Richard Rankin on TV reboots, defying his late dad's advice and getting his arse out
TV

Rebus star Richard Rankin on TV reboots, defying his late dad's advice and getting his arse out

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith on friendship, TV and saying goodbye to Inside No 9
TV

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith on friendship, TV and saying goodbye to Inside No 9

Doctor Who star Millie Gibson on hope for Ruby Sunday and lessons learned from 'magical' Ncuti Gatwa
TV

Doctor Who star Millie Gibson on hope for Ruby Sunday and lessons learned from 'magical' Ncuti Gatwa

Marge starts a union and fights for workers' rights in powerful new episode of The Simpsons
TV

Marge starts a union and fights for workers' rights in powerful new episode of The Simpsons

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know