If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise… there you’ll find six comedians, not having a picnic, but competing for survival in this new Dave series
By Laura Rutkowski, Senior Staff Writer
David Mitchell is many things: hilarious, supremely erudite and the star of many of your favourite comedy shows, ranging from Peep Show to Would I Lie to You?. But host of a new Taskmaster-esque competition series set in the great outdoors, where comedians take on survival challenges in a post-apocalyptic world? Well, he’s hardly Bear Grylls, is he?
During an exclusive Outsiders press event that we attended, David confessed that the only time he ever went camping was when he stayed in a tent in his friend’s garden at the age of 11… he’s now 47. It’s exactly David’s aversion to the whole concept and his sheer unwillingness to get stuck in that makes him a great host, and an inspired choice.
Six comedians walk into the woods: (from left) Toussaint Douglass, Jessica Knappett, Kerry Godliman, Ed Gamble, Jamali Maddix and Lou Sanders
“Being the failing authority figure is a role I enjoy,” he says. “I think authority is a bit funny. It’s ridiculous that I’m in charge. I don’t know anything. Captain Mainwaring is my kind of authority figure.”
In Outsiders, comedians Kerry Godliman, Ed Gamble, Lou Sanders, Jamali Maddix, Jessica Knappett and Toussaint Douglass are split into pairs (Lou and Ed; Kerry and Toussaint; and Jamali and Jessica) and must complete various assignments to survive. These include: cutting down a tree, milking a goat, providing first aid (to a dummy) and coming up with a flag, religion and motto.
Kerry and Toussaint’s flag is certainly… creative, if a little scary
You’d think with five of the six comics already appearing on Greg and Alex’s show, they’d know their way around a quirky challenge by now. Well, you’d be wrong. If David is an unlikely host, then these six are the most unexpected folk you’d meet in a survival film. Then again, this is more a Scouts initiative test than The Walking Dead. The winners even get badges.
“But do they deserve a badge as part of an arbitrary format?” David wonders during the first episode. He is the gatekeeper to the badges as he decides who has earned one for each task.
He also gets to go home at the end of the day, unlike the campers. If he wasn’t hosting, he knows he wouldn’t make a good contestant. “I’m going to enjoy this civilisation while it lasts and then I hope I’ll be killed in the first wave of lootings. I just want to be incinerated instantly.”
Are Ed and Lou attempting to earn their furry badge?
The approach to Outsiders was initially “comedians as adult Scouts”, but as the pandemic hit, it became more about the human condition and means of survival, which have been topics on everyone’s mind. Dave, and David, adjusted the concept accordingly.
Comedians, David says, were the perfect group to consider a potential societal breakdown. “[They] have been most existentially threatened by the lockdown. Stand-up comedians go into rooms with lots of people and tell jokes and the people need to sit next to each other and laugh and expel lots of virus molecules.”
With six episodes filmed over seven days, the series really put them to work. However, it’s clear that if the fate of humanity was left in the hands of comedians, we’d all be doomed. Since this is (fortunately) just a TV series, it turns out the demise of our society is actually pretty funny.
When is Dave’s Outsiders on TV?
Outsiders airs on Dave/HD (CH 127) on Wednesdays at 10pm, with the first episode screening on 29 September. It is also available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > Dave.
The six-part series will subsequently air every week until Wednesday 3rd November.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box, Virgin TV V6 box or Virgin TV 360 box connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.
Interviews: Any opinions expressed in interviews are those of the interview subject and not those of Virgin Media.