The Last Leg

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The Last Leg
Starring Adam Hills
Josh Widdicombe
Alex Brooker
Opening theme "Harder Than You Think" by Public Enemy
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 6
No. of episodes 42 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 40 minutes (series 1)
30–50 minutes (series 2–5)
60 minutes (series 6–)
Broadcast
Original channel Channel 4
Original run 30 August 2012 (2012-08-30) – present
External links
Website

The Last Leg (known during its first series as The Last Leg with Adam Hills and its end of year special as The Last Leg of the Year) is a British television show that originally ran alongside the 2012 Summer Paralympics every night following the main coverage on Channel 4. Hosted by Australian comedian Adam Hills and co-hosted by Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker,[1] it gave an alternative review of the day's events.[2]

Featuring a mix of comedy, guests and Paralympics highlights, the show received strong reviews and regularly pulled in more than a million viewers each night of the Paralympic Games.[3][4] Micky Flanagan co-hosted the first show of 2014 as a temporary replacement for Alex Brooker, who was in Austria as co-host of The Jump.

Format[edit]

The Last Leg is summed up by Hills as: "Three guys with four legs talking about the week."[5] This refers to the fact that both Hills and Brooker have only one leg each.

The original series, broadcast during the 2012 Paralympics, was a look back at each day's events during the competition, as well as a look at the news that week. Following on from the Paralympics, the series became weekly and thus looks at the events in the news that week, as well as covering Paralympic matters. The show features guest interviews with Paralympians and celebrities.

The series is broadcast live and encourages interaction with the viewers at home, holding polls via Twitter using hashtags. A recurring theme in the show is the use of the hashtag #isitok to highlight questions from Twitter users to be asked in the show. Initially it was for asking questions about disability that people felt awkward asking; the broadening of the show's remit is reflected in the questions asked in this stream.[6]

Recurring segments in the show include rants or attacks by Hills on certain people and organisations, which has since resulted in the coining of Hills' catchphrase: "Don't be a dick!"[5] Also there is "The Last 7 Days", in which Widdicombe looks at more comic news items that have occurred during the week, and Brooker's various attempts to qualify for the 2016 Summer Paralympics.

Dick of the Year[edit]

Since 2013 The Last Leg has presented a mock prize to the "Dick of the Year", given to the person who has been considered to be the biggest dick over the past year. The winner is voted on by the viewers using Twitter with the hashtag #dickoftheyear. The winner for 2013 was Russian president Vladimir Putin.

In 2014, journalist Katie Hopkins received the most votes, but Hills and the team making show made an executive decision to not give Hopkins the prize on the grounds that she would enjoy receiving it. Thus the prize went to the person with the second-highest number of votes, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage.[7]

Theme music[edit]

The theme music chosen as the three stars enter the studio is an instrumental version of Public Enemy's "Harder Than You Think", which became the show's permanent theme after initially serving as the title music to the whole of Channel 4's 2012 Paralympic Games coverage.[8]

Episodes[edit]

The first series was broadcast daily at the end of the day's Paralympics coverage on Channel 4. The second series was broadcast each Friday, with the show moving to Wednesday nights for its third series, before reverting to Friday nights for the fourth and fifth series.

In October 2012 it was announced that the show would return for a Christmas special titled The Last Leg of the Year and a second series, which began broadcasting in January 2013.[9] A third and fourth series followed in July 2013 and January 2014 (timed around the 2014 Winter Paralympics) respectively. A fifth series started broadcasting in August 2014 and a sixth series in January 2015.

Reception[edit]

Adam Hills, who was quoted as saying "If the Paralympics is covered well, it can change the way Jim Davidson looks at and treats people with disabilities",[10] was praised for his witty take on the sporting action and his refreshing attitude to disability issues.[11] The Mirror described The Last Leg as "a real success".[12] Colin Robertson for The Sun said that the show's success was down to the simple fact that you can joke about disability – you just need to know what you can say.[13] Veteran TV pundit Clive James said: "Taken as a whole, the Channel 4 coverage of the Paralympics was very good, but almost the best part of it was The Last Leg, the discussion show at the end of each day".[14]

The programme provoked a discussion in the media about whether disability and comedy could work together on TV.[15] The Independent described it as "a high risk venture" saying that Hills "reminds us frequently that he has a prosthetic leg, giving him licence to crack jokes that most of us wouldn't dream of."[16] Frances Ryan, for The Guardian, described it as "often tasteless, sometimes awkward, always funny".[17] Damon Rose for BBC News said that "Comedian Adam Hills' late night irreverent Para-chat show The Last Leg – a title reflecting Adam's lack of a segment of his lower limb – has taken mainstream viewers to dark and delightfully surprising places that only disability humour can go. And it has given a sense of permission for regular viewers to talk openly about things they may previously have shied away from".[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ned Boulting (2 September 2012). "Ned Boulting: Alex Brooker deserves a medal for his Paralympic performance". Metro (DMG Media). Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Last Leg With Adam Hills and The Kindness Of Strangers: TV picks". Metro (DMG Media). 30 August 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Leigh Holmwood (11 September 2012). "Now C4 head for Hills". The Sun. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Jason Deans (3 September 2012). "Channel 4's Paralympics coverage boosted by Pistorius controversy". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Millar, Benjamin (27 May 2013). "Adam Hills' star continues to shine". Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Is Twitter killing topical comedy? : News 2013 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle. 29 March 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Last Leg of the Year 2014". The Last Leg. Series 6. Episode 1. 2 January 2015. Channel 4. 
  8. ^ Sophia Heath (18 July 2012), London 2012 Paralympics: Channel 4 launches Paralympic Games advert, The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 August 2013
  9. ^ "Channel 4’s ‘The Last Leg’ to return". International Paralympic Committee. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Gary Nunn (6 September 2012). "Language, laughter and Paralympics". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "Channel 4 bosses ‘to sign up Adam Hills’ after Paralympics success". Metro (London: Metro). 11 September 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  12. ^ Mark Jefferies (10 September 2012). "TV gold: BBC and Channel 4's superb coverage of Olympics and Paralympics show's there's life in the old telly box yet". The Mirror. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  13. ^ Colin Robertson (5 September 2012). "'Frankie’s jokes are tame compared to the Paralympians' says Adam Hills". The Sun. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  14. ^ Clive James (15 September 2012). "Clive James on... The Last Leg, Parade's End, The Culture Show, Darwin’s Struggle: the Evolution of the Origin of the Species, Treasures of Ancient Rome and Dallas". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  15. ^ Emine Saner (24 August 2012). "Australian comedian Adam Hills: 'I was born without a foot. Dull. Move on'". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  16. ^ Andrew Tong (2 September 2012). "Sport on TV: When it comes to jokes Hills holds the moral high ground". The Independent. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  17. ^ Frances Ryan (5 September 2012). "The Last Leg: often tasteless, sometimes awkward, always funny". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  18. ^ Damon Rose (9 September 2012). "Paralympics legacy: Seize the momentum". BBC News. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 

External links[edit]