By The TV Grump @TheTVGrump
If there's something we Brits love more than satire, it's political satire. Who doesn't enjoy seeing some puffed up, duck house owning, moat dredging tosspot get their comeuppance ?
Whether it's in print via the superb Private Eye, on the wireless with Radio 4's wildy uneven News Quiz, or more likely, on TV, it seems we can't get enough of subjecting our politicians to ridicule.
The political figures of the 60s would provide ample fodder for shows like the groundbreaking but short lived, That Was The Week That Was. The 80s and early 90s would be ruled by Spitting Image. The fantastic looking (and sounding) latex creations keeping up to 15 million viewers tuned in, each week.
More recently, Rory Bremner - accompanied by John Bird and the late John Fortune - Dead Ringers and Newszoids have all attempted to keep the political satire flag flying. And if you're a full on generation snowflake lefty, you have The Last Leg catering directly to you.
The behemoth we can't ignore, is of course, Have I Got News For You. Now in its staggering 53rd series, nowhere is the mocking of our parliamentary members more evident than on primetime BBC One.
It could be argued though, that HIGNFY doesn't quite hit the heights it once did. The conveyor belt of guest hosts can be extremely hit and miss. The guests themselves have a huge impact on the quality of each episode, and as great as Ian Hislop is, he can only carry a damp squib of a partner so many times. The Beeb might think booking a one eyed, one legged, blind vegan helps their diversity checkbox, but it doesn't always make for a laugh a minute.
And what about Paul Merton ? Dear old Paul. Although the body turns up each week, the mind retired some years ago ...
Being currently blessed with some of the most inept and downright embarrassing politicians in recently memory, surely the satire pickings are rich ? Even if the fruit is somewhat low hanging.
Now entering its third series, 'Unspun with Matt Forde' is something that hadn't appeared on my radar before now. Airing on Dave (ahh, that'll be why), and recorded the day before transmission, it's the usual setup - desk, band, monologue, guest - so, will it be getting my vote ?
On the whole, yes. It has more than a whiff of The Daily Show, albeit with the budget of Pebble Mill At One. This series is running twice a week up until the election, and the 30 minutes running time seemed about right. We were introduced to the house band, which ordinarily is made up of current MPs, but due to a certain general election, is currently being filled with a rotating selection of political waifs and strays.
After a short monologue taking shots at all the usual suspects, including of course, the gift that keeps on giving - Diane Abbott - it was guest time.
The aren't many shows where the main guest would be the Labour MP for Barrow And Furness, but John Woodcock provided decent value. One of Jeremy Corbyn's most vocal critics, he seemed almost resigned to losing his seat this time around.
A mildly entertaining video package with MPs answering 'probing' questions was also included. Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru told of the potential horror of doorstepping, only the have said door opened by a naked voter. Tessa Jowell recalled being told to "F-ck off !", so all jolly stuff.
Forde helms the show well, and I'll admit, I laughed out twice (almost unheard of), so I'll be sticking with it in the run up to June the 8th. It certainly isn't breaking any new ground, but as a plucky young upstart to the political scene, I'm willing embrace its manifesto, and put my 'X' in the box.