Comedian, actor and professional child Jack Whitehall is back with the two-episode fourth season of Travels with My Father, and this time he and Daddy (Michael Whitehall) are in Australia. Emus! Nudist beaches! Bush walks and camel humps and other tasteless innuendo! It’s the tried-and-tested travel show formula: a pair of royalty-adjacent English dudes going around a country they know very little about, making ignorant remarks and complaining about the accomodation. Unbearable.
And yet—it was a fun watch. We see them compete in a drag show as Jackie Whitehole and Queen Elizabeth II. We see Jack’s exasperation as he explains to Michael that the red sandstone formation is called Uluru: “Ayers Rock was the name a white guy gave it when he discovered it, even though it had been discovered for thousands of years by the indigenous people” (progress!). For the most part they are respectful, and when Michael’s grouchy persona slips, we can tell that he is actually having the time of his life.
If it were a show about destinations, Travels with My Father would fall far short of the mark, playing too much into British stereotypes of Australia and not letting the place itself shine. But it isn’t. Rather, the show’s heart is in its title. It’s about family, and Jack and Michael’s delightful dynamic of love and exasperation. And it’s about the ridiculousness of travelling in the searing heat wearing a full colour-coordinated suit.
7/10: Funny for the very reason that Jack Whitehall’s stand-up isn’t, because here, poshness is the joke