It’s a simple premise: a celebrity, family photos and a chat show.
Pictures of You may not have many bells and whistles, but it works a treat as affectionate television.
Working Dog’s new show gives us new insight into famous faces as host Brian Nankervis (RocKwiz) escorts us through major turning points in the lives of two celebrities.
Comedian Anh Do and actor Shane Jacobson are the first two guests in this new show.
It’s funny, touching and honest stuff as each looks back on moments in their life. They chat before an enthusiastic studio audience who are clearly happy to sit back and lose themselves in stories -which is exactly what the home audience will do.
Pictures of You may be pre-recorded but it has an as-live feel about it, like a Tonight show void of punchlines and performers. The anecdotes, prompted by photos from the past, feel genuine and it’s this that connects with the audience. Turning a slide show into entertaining TV is a feat in itself.
Anh Do reveals compelling stories about his family’s escape from Vietnam, where pirates threatened their very survival on refugee boats. He fights the tears as he details horrific situations.
These are contrasted with charity help from “St Vinnie’s,” and humble, happy snaps of family celebrations in the 1980s, where the family’s new-found status could be measured by the number of Fanta cans on the dinner table. Another shot of his mother peering out of the Do house window could be straight out of Time magazine.
Shane Jacobson doesn’t remember much about his parents splitting up. Ever the optimist, his childhood was marked by two family houses, two sets of presents. There are snaps of the young comedian performing in home-made shows for the family.
Nankervis is perfect as host, relaxed, amusing and allowing the guest to shine. It’s terrific that Seven hasn’t opted for one of its stable of personalities here.
In its candour, Pictures of You sometimes aspires to Enough Rope with Andrew Denton. But much will depend on its guest list (upcoming guests include Zoe Ventoura, Julia Morris, Peter Helliar, Megan Washington, Layne Beachley, Russell Gilbert). Enough Rope wasn’t always driven by celebrity, so much as prominent guests and decision-makers, balanced too with ordinary Aussies.
That said, this is entertaining stuff and deserves warm applause.
Pictures of You premieres tonight 9:30pm on Seven.