There are certain TV programmes that I will, generally, avoid:
- Any travel show which needlessly attaches a celebrity to it (see “Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railways”), and
- Pretty much anything on ITV or Channel 5.
But this week saw a programme which caught my eye for the sheer ludicrousness of it.
“Gone to Pot: American Road Trip”, which one would expect to be on Channel 5, but actually aired on ITV1 featured five…erm, shall we say ‘more mature’ UK celebrities riding a psychedelically painted bus across the USA on a mission to investigate the pros and cons of the legalisation of marijuana.
It’s a premise which could have been lifted from Alan Partidge’s dictaphone. Think “Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank” and “Monkey Tennis” and you won’t be too far off the mark.
The celebrities in question were ex-footballer and Gladiators presenter John Fashanu, former darts player Bobby George, ex-Birds of a Feather actor Linda Robson, and most glorious of all, Pam St Clement – yes, Pat Butcher from EastEnders – and national treasure Christopher Biggins.
Each, apparently, had an ailment which may benefit from taking some of the medical marijuana products available in the States, and so the first stop on their trip was to obtain doctor’s notes to permit them to purchase some, followed swiftly by a visit to a marijuana apothecary.
From there it’s on to a venue called Puff, Pass and Paint, where the group are encouraged to join an art class and have a toot on the reefers that are passed around. Fashanu, who is staunchly anti-drugs, refuses, Biggins declines as he suffers from asthma, Robson has the tiniest drag on a doobie, whilst St Clement and George (who insists on calling it ‘happy baccy’) dive right in, inducing a fit of giggles in both of them that anyone who has ever indulged will recognise.
The sight of St Clement sucking on a bong is something I never expected to see, an image that will live long in the memory.
And then it’s on to chef Nonna Marijuana’s house. Nonna Marijuana, as her name suggests, specialises in recipes which include marijuana, and she serves up a feast for the group, with other “straight” dishes included for those who don’t want to indulge.
Anyone who has ever eaten marijuana products will know that it takes a couple of hours for the weed to be digested, the hit not as immediate as when smoked, so one needs to take it easy and not over-indulge too quickly.
But Biggins, emboldened by having seen St Clement and George giggling uncontrollably at the art class, tucks right in (as does George, to a lesser extent).
And so back on to the bus, and it’s here that a truly hilarious comedic moment takes place. I’ve tried to find a clip of this, to no avail, so here’s a summary. Look away if you don’t like spoilers.
An hour and a half later, the group are having a sing-song.
Robson: What’s your karaoke song, Biggins?
Biggins: My Way. Frank Sinatra singing My Way.
Robson: Sing us a line.
Biggins (pretending to hold a microphone, singing): And now….that’s the wrong song…And now, the end is near, and (he pauses, the rest of the group join in to help him) and so I face the final curtain….what song is that then?
George: That’s My Way.
Biggins: Oh it is My Way. Oh yes. (laughs) ..
He then sits, complaining of feeling “very dry” and a “a little bit ‘hello’, before zoning out, unable to speak and those in the know could see what was going to happen next: Biggins is about to have a whitey.
And sure is eggs are eggs, the next we see of Biggins he is at the back of the bus, spewing up into a paper bag, before being carried off the bus and out to a bed in a hotel room.
I can’t do justice to just how unintentionally funny the first episode of this show was (the second and third ones, not so much), so I would thoroughly recommend you watch it on catch-up if you’re able to, or you can watch it on YouTube here.
So, a song, and who better to soundtrack this than Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard:
Thinking about it, maybe I should have renamed this post Sunday Morning Coming Up….