ALASDAIR PAL: “Chalk this one up as a victory for tools and teenagers everywhere.”
I’m pretty sure I’d fall for the premise of Britain’s Ultimate Lad. Fame! Fortune! Just think of the bragging rights! Unfortunately though, we’re not at Camp Lad; we’re at Tool Academy (4od), and things are a bit tense.
The premise of the show is its real selling point. Our heroes think they’ve been entered by their girlfriends as a little treat. Instead, it’s actually a sort of kennel for blokes, but with more howling and barking.
It all starts so well. The lads stroll through the front door of the Academy, and their partners slink in the back, to watch the action on TV monitors. As night falls, the party bus heads to a club, for lesson one: commitment. They don’t know anything about it, of course. It doesn’t go well.
Liam, aka Randy Tool, is the first to succumb to temptation. The camera follows him in to the toilet, where something untoward is going on. What are you up to Liam?
“I were fingering ‘er”, he says, in perhaps one of the greatest unscripted lines of TV ever. His girlfriend will not be pleased.
And he’s not even the bluntest Tool in the box. There’s Temper Tool, who doesn’t like being made to look a fool (yikes!), and Massive Tool, a self-proclaimed “loveable twat”. Jealous Tool has, er, “major trust issues”.
Most of them are pretty agreeable though, and here lies a problem: their girlfriends are far, far worse. Joe (Twinkle Tool) is an inoffensive, if effeminate guy, but his piece thinks he’s a “girly boy” and “a bit gay… you are a bit gay, aren’t you?” He cries, which is a nice touch.
The reveal in episode one – fireworks, bunting, and a pack of angry girlfriends – was pretty spectacular, but this week’s programme feels a bit flat. Bring back Camp Lad, I say.
Meanwhile, in Ibiza, things are also not what they seem. Holly, a trainee builder, and Rob, a student who bears striking resembelance to Twinkle Tool, have been packed off to the island by their doting parents. Except they’ll also be coming with them, lurking behind tinted windows and rifling through their luggage when they’re out. Welcome to Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents (iPlayer).
Holly is from Burnley, and is delighted with her hotel. It’s even got an “arse wash”, or bidet to you and me. While she writhes around on the floor of a club like a slippery jellyfish, softly-spoken Rob is enjoying the sunset with his mates.
There’s comedy in this contrast. “I need a wall building actually”, says Rob’s dad when Holly’s mum tells him what she does for a living. But it comes as an intense disappointment that the pair are actually quite well-behaved.
The charges, m’lud? “They’ve got cream, but they really should have taken it to the beach with them”, says Rob’s mum. “He hasn’t used his condoms; I don’t know whether to be pleased or disappointed”, his dad adds.
At the end, all is revealed, and everyone gushes about how the experience has brought them closer together, and how both kids have finally matured. Not like the grown-ups then.
Chalk this one up a victory for tools and teenagers everywhere.