Political and social satire is a difficult thing to get right. Be too glib, and people will dismiss what you have to say and therefore your aims you will never be accomplished. Be too serious, and you essentially just become another version of the news. Which is why good satire is to be treasured. So why is there so little of it? Ok, we have panel shows like Have I Got News For You and Mock the Week. But all too often they just become shows were 4 (or 6) men, and the occasional token woman, compete to be funny. With the exception of the peerless Ian Hislop, there is little insight into the news that is actually being satirised.

Thankfully10 o’ Clock Livefills that gap. And my word is it an enoyable hour! We all knew of course going into this that Charlie Brooker does excellent monologues and that Jimmy Carr is the king of the one-liner. The revelation came in the shape of David Mitchell. Again, we all knew that he was able to destroy arguments with a mind thaat is more logic machine than thought processor, but the effectiveness of it in the first series, whether it was a monologue, one-on-one interview or studio debate, was brilliant to watch.

Of course the first series had its faults. If the debates involved three people then it often became the two loudest voices that got heard, irregardless of whether they were the best ones. Lauren Laverne looked lost, more often forced to play supply teacher to her naughty tearaway co-presenters. Carr was also wasted, forced into dull and obvious sketches. So when the second series returned I tuned in to see what had changed.

Well, good news! Most of the faults have gone. The debates are now streamlined to two participants, given Mitchell more time to ask genuine questions. Laverne has now been given her own monologues, and a good job she does of them too. Brooker’s role hasn’t changed, but then it didn’t need to. One fly in the ointment though- Carr’s sketches are still in. Why? Are you that scared of taxing people’s intellects that you have to give them a 5 minute break besides the adverts?

Other items have been sacrificed to make space for the sketches. Mitchell’s monologues. And his one-on-one interviews. If you don’t want him having to much screen time, why not give the latter to Carr? Or move people round a bit. Give Laverne the debates to chair, Mitchell an interview and Carr a monologue. Or develop something new- Carr does a q +a with a guest and the audience. Let’s face it, if you are treading on Newsnight‘s toes you might as well do it to Question Time as well. Wahtever you do Channel 4, just find something to replace those sketches. This show is too good to waste.

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