The Last Leg

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The Last Leg
The Last Leg.jpg
Genre Late-night chat show
News/political satire/sport (during Paralympics)
Presented by Adam Hills
Josh Widdicombe
Alex Brooker
Opening theme "Harder Than You Think" by Public Enemy
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 9
No. of episodes 106 (as of 23 December 2016) (list of episodes)
Production
Running time 40 minutes (series 1)
30–50 minutes (series 2–5)
60 minutes (series 6–)
Release
Original network Channel 4
Picture format 16:9 1080i
Audio format Stereo
Original release 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) is an award-winning British comedy and television talk 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] The Last Leg is also broadcast in Australia on ABC Television unless it's a Paralympic series because of rights issues.[3]

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.[4][5] It has since become a weekly show giving an alternative look at the week's events. Micky Flanagan co-hosted the first show of 2014 as a temporary replacement for Brooker, who was in Austria as co-host of The Jump.

Format[edit]

Overview[edit]

Original logo (with original title) used during the first series

The Last Leg is summed up by main presenter Adam Hills as: "Three guys with four legs talking about the week."[6] This is based upon the fact that Hills was born without a right foot and Brooker had his right leg amputated when he was a baby.

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. Celebrity guests usually also have something to promote, such as a TV series, a film or (in the case of comedians) a tour.

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.[7]

Recurring segments[edit]

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!"[6] 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. Another is the "Bullshit Button", which was first used in a segment in which Brooker interviewed the then leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg to see if Clegg could persuade him to vote in the 2015 UK general election. Brooker would press a large red buzzer that played an audio recording of him saying the word "Bullshit" if he thought Clegg was lying during the interviews. Since then the buzzer has been used in various situations whenever the show thinks someone is lying, and a second buzzer has been added which features Widdicombe saying: "That's true, actually" when someone says something that really is true.

Dick of the Year[edit]

Year Dick of the Year Second
2013
Vladimir Putin N/A
2014
Katie Hopkins Nigel Farage
2015
Jeremy Hunt Donald Trump
2016
2016

Since January 2014, The Last Leg has presented a mock prize to the "Dick of the Year", awarded for being the biggest dick over the previous year. The winner is voted on by the viewers using Twitter with the hashtag #dickoftheyear. The winner for 2013 was Russian president Vladimir Putin.[8]

In January 2015, journalist Katie Hopkins received the most votes for 2014's "Dick of the Year" but Hills and the team making the 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.[8]

The prize for 2015 was awarded to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who won 80% of the vote in the final round of voting, beating Donald Trump into second place.[9]

In the 2016 Christmas special, the prize was awarded to whole of the year 2016, defeating Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and David Cameron.

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.[10]

Episodes[edit]

The first and ninth series were 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.[11] 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, followed by a sixth series in January 2015 and a seventh in June 2015.

After the seventh series, a special 2-part series entitled The Last Leg Goes Down Under was broadcast on 29 January and 5 February 2016, and precedes the start of series 8 on 12 February.[12] Starting from series 8, the show was given a brand new set.

On 25 March 2016, the show released the #renametheLastLeg hashtag on Twitter live on the set to allow viewers to choose a new name for the show. The show brought the number of choices down to the four most popular ones and then they released a Twitter poll to change the name of the programme for next week's final episode of the series. It later concluded that the poll received a total of 3,731 votes with the highest scoring programme name being 'Your Mum' with a 30% vote.[13] The last episode of the series aired on 1 April 2016 and was called Your Mum. During one 2016 Summer Paralympics episode on 14 September 2016, host Adam Hills announced that the show was to be renamed again, this time in Paralympic athlete Libby Clegg's honour. The remainder of that show was called The Fast Clegg.

Reception[edit]

Adam Hills was quoted as saying "If the Paralympics is covered well, it can change the way Jim Davidson looks at and treats people with disabilities".[14] The Mirror described The Last Leg as "a real success".[15] 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.[16] 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".[17]

The programme provoked a discussion in the media about whether disability and comedy could work together on TV.[18] 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."[19] Frances Ryan, for The Guardian, described it as "often tasteless, sometimes awkward, always funny".[20] 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".[21]

Brooker's 2015 interview with Nick Clegg for the programme was described by political journalist Hugo Rifkind as "a model of how to talk normally to a politician – and make them talk normally back".[22]

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. ^ "Returning: Adam Hills: The Last Leg". 
  4. ^ Leigh Holmwood (11 September 2012). "Now C4 head for Hills". The Sun. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Jason Deans (3 September 2012). "Channel 4's Paralympics coverage boosted by Pistorius controversy". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Millar, Benjamin (27 May 2013). "Adam Hills' star continues to shine". The Weekly Review. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Is Twitter killing topical comedy?: News 2013 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle. 29 March 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Wolf, Ian (5 January 2015). "The Last Leg of the Year". OnTheBox. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  9. ^ York, Chris (13 February 2016). "Jeremy Hunt Voted 'Dick of the Year' In 'The Last Leg' Poll". The Huffington Post. AOL. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  10. ^ Sophia Heath (18 July 2012), London 2012 Paralympics: Channel 4 launches Paralympic Games advert, The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 August 2013
  11. ^ "Channel 4's 'The Last Leg' to return". International Paralympic Committee. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  12. ^ Travis, Ben (29 January 2016). "The Last Leg Goes Down Under, Channel 4: Can Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker survive in Australia with Adam Hills?". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  13. ^ "Channel 4's 'The Last Leg' to change its name to 'Your Mum' following a Twitter poll.". The Last Leg. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  14. ^ Gary Nunn (6 September 2012). "Language, laughter and Paralympics". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ Colin Robertson (5 September 2012). "'Frankie's jokes are tame compared to the Paralympians' says Adam Hills". The Sun. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ Emine Saner (24 August 2012). "Australian comedian Adam Hills: 'I was born without a foot. Dull. Move on'". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ Frances Ryan (5 September 2012). "The Last Leg: often tasteless, sometimes awkward, always funny". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  21. ^ Damon Rose (9 September 2012). "Paralympics legacy: Seize the momentum". BBC News. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  22. ^ Rifkind, Hugo (7 February 2015). "How Alex Brooker made political interviews interesting again". spectator.co.uk. Retrieved 16 September 2016. 

External links[edit]