Season 17 Episode 5 of 16
“Jason Bradbury and Pollyanna Woodward see what technology the Middle East has to offer on a trip to the United Arab Emirates. They compare consumer and professional fitness monitoring devices during a dune buggy ride, test high-end compact cameras in Dubai and try out a solar barbecue – although the food is not to everyone’s taste. They also review the latest mobile-phone games, go flying underwater and embrace the national sport of camel racing, but with one slight difference – their animal is ridden by a robotic jockey.”
What happens when Channel 5’s flagship show decides to take on a Top Gear style format and send its presenters around the globe on gadget-themed adventures? Not much difference actually; it still has the inanely grinning, relentlessly kinetic presenting style of a CITV kids show – it always has.
Except this time Jason and Pollyanna travel to the United Arab Emirates with no cliché ignored. They take a dune buggy ride, testing vehicles and medical monitoring devices. There’s a spectacular fail with a parabolic solar powered barbecue – hint, 40 degree humidity doesn’t equate to solar cooking if the sky is clouded and hazy. Throw in the Soukh, the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Creek, the dunes and camel racing and no box is left unchecked.
After 16 series, Channel 5 has given the Gadget Show a makeover. Elbowed from the presenting line-up; the bizarrely eccentric Jon Bentley, token dude Otis and longer fitting the leather cat suit, Suzi Perry. That leaves Jason Bradbury (The Big Breakfast, The Web Review for ITV and various children’s TV shows including the award-winning science series Gross! on Discovery Kids) who has been on The Gadget Show since day one, with new girl Pollyanna Woodward, who graduated from on-line tech show techworld.tv and is a geek’s dream woman: glamorous blonde action girl and fiercely competitive. No prizes for guessing how Richard Desmond’s network is sexing up the Gadget Show.
Pollyanna went to Masdar City to play with the Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) that we wrote about a while ago and took a look at the renewable energy strategy and architecture. If was almost a proper documentary segment.
However, the Brits aborad didn’t come off well in the desert, with the culmination of their Middle Eastern adventure at a camel race – “piloted by robots!!!” As they have been for years. Bradbury was especially embarrassing with his borderline comments, not intentionally racist, harmless in the pub beer garden, but not the right tone for prime-time TV. That and his attempts to be cool with the locals. If Perry and Bentley are over-the-hill for the show, then why is Bradbury still on?
However, eye-candy Pollyanna kept us Channel 5 plebs distracted, crawling the sand being flagellated by the robot jockey, and, this being commercial TV, so did their competition. With 200 prizes on offer, plus a trip to Dubai, worth £35,000 in total, I felt like I was being bribed to watch this. Business as usual. AJS
The Gadget Show: World Tour – Dubai
Director: David Leighton
Executive Producer: Ewan Kiel
Producer: Dionne South
Series Producer: Colin Byrne
Presenters: Jason Bradbury Pollyanna Woodward
Next broadcast: Channel 5 8:00pm-9:00pm Fri 25 May, Sat 10:20 26 May 2012
Duration: 45 minutes
First broadcast: Channel 5 at 20:00 21 May 2012,
Watch online at Demand 5