When i first saw a bus ad for this series i was a little skeptical, my love of Jack Whitehall came nearly exclusively from his many years and seasons on “A League Of Their Own”. The premise of the show is that Jack and his 76 year-old father Michael Whitehall spend five weeks travelling the orient, exploring Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Despite his quite posh background as he began his career as a comedian right after school he never actually got to spend a gap year anywhere or travel anywhere near the East. Given that the dynamic of him and his father works quite well for entertainment, i was intrigued to see how it would play out but was a little apprehensive that it may just miss the mark and play out contrived and done-before material. I can happily say that my worries were of no consequence and in every single episode i was impressed with the fact that no matter what mood your in when you put this on your going to be smiling.
Having spent a month travelling and exploring Vietnam a few weeks before this show came out gave it an extra pull for me as several of the places they explored i had just visited. The cinematography in this show as well is of a high caliber, if you haven’t been out this side of the world it really pulls on your heartstrings, even though I’ve been to some of the spots on your hit list, i did find that my wanderlust skyrocketed during and after watching this series.
While visiting a particularly underwhelming shrine that happens to have an unconventional beauty salon attached upstairs, the pair get asked if they’d like to take part in a session of “Health-Slaps”. This is an old tradition that apparently benefits your health and keeps your skin tight, that said, it looks far from appealing.
What i particularly enjoyed about this show was the complete juxtaposition of a young and ridiculously cheeky rascal with a refined older gentleman who considers heading out of London “Travelling”. With this in mind the different types of events or attractions they go to see are incredibly varied. One in particular that i enjoyed seeing (but that took me by surprise as i had no clue it even existed) was “Elephant Polo” in Thailand.
Being the interesting combination that it is, there are certain parts of the wilderness that Jack’s father simply refuses to take part in.. Which makes for some entertaining moments.
You also start to appreciate the variety of experiences they choose to immerse themselves in, some stranger than others.
There’s a slightly surprising amount of heart in the show, it doesn’t show itself regularly but the occasional moment leaves a little something that resonates with you. Along with this, as Jack wants to immerse himself in the “off the beaten track” activities, I’ve wound up seeing things that i didn’t encounter my whole month in the country, but would now be intrigued to indulge in.
Cambodia is somewhere that is still on my Wanderlust Wishlist… One that i have sadly yet to check off. & one that luckily, Jack and his Father Michael get to visit and explore. The name Angkor Wat literally means “The City of Temples” and the reasoning behind the name is pretty immediately obvious when you begin to recognise the scale of this place. There is such significance to this landmark that is actually features on the Cambodian Flag. The phrase National Treasure seems to be a perfect fit to describe it.
I may eventually do an episode by episode review of it, purely because it’s a joy to rewatch, this is a darling of a series to binge in a chilled couch night and comes with a recommendation. Teaching an elephant to fist-bump….. ranks pretty damn high on my list.