Culture, Hardware, Technology, TV

Review: Stephen Fry – Gadget Man


Stephen Fry Gadget ManStephen Fry welcomes us into his wonderful world of tech, from the everyday to the extraordinary.

In this show Stephen tries out all the products and prototypes he can lay his hands on, gadgets from the future, gadgets from the past, life-changing ones and sweet little gizmos that will change the way you live your life tomorrow. And he does it all in the company of some of his famous friends.

Apologies; we’re half-way through the series and haven’t yet recommended Mr Fry’s latest TV foray on Channel 4. Actor writer director, presenter, polymath, National Treasure and reknowned technology fan Stephen Fry turns his attention to gadgets. Taking a theme each episode, week three was gadgets at work.

Other gadgets in Work Made Easy
Gadgets haven’t just revolutionised the office – they’ve changed the way we work at home too. Stephen’s desk is littered with some of the latest gizmos designed to help you work faster and better. Here are a few that he’s particularly fond of.

Clearly no one at Channel 4’s press department is as erudite as Fry himself; surely that last sentence should read:
“Here is a few of which he’s particularly fond!”

Gadget Man is a piece of middle-brow, popular science, light entertainment. If you like Fry’s self-deprecating but hyper-intelligent moodlings on any and every subject, then this is for you. This is the antidote to Channel 5’s cranked-up, dumbed down fizzy-pop the Gadget Show.

It is light-ent-tech, with Fry’s gentle voiceover and jolly British bumbling. The themes are rather loose and the celebity friends slightly irritating (Lord Sugar didn’t seem to know Fry from Adam). The gadgets ranged from a smart-phone dance-off with grizzled grumpy business Womble Alan Sugar, through to an office sleep pod, power nap pillow-hood, and foot-pedal to switch your PC browser from NSFW to spreadsheet mode. This was a random collection of mildly amusing inventions. Complimenting these Practical Heath Robinson gizmos was a trip through Sugar’s own Amstrad Archive of past and present inventions.

The climax was an animatronic remote-controlled copy of Fry which was wheeled on at a computer games award ceremony on the pretext that an avatar (or Bruce Willis Surrogates style robot) could be used for tele-working so that Fry didn’t have to attend in person. It was a reasonable likeness, animated by a collection of servos and cables. The legs ended in a motorised skateboard and for all that Fry interacted through the mannequin, it remained a half-baked attempt. Comedian Ed Byrne looked doubly uncomfortable as MC and straight man to the Fry dummy.

The next episode is dedicated to leisure pursuits with another grumpy old fella, Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson as guest.

It’s a light-weight and easy half-hour of undemanding TV built around an erudite and familiar face. Gadget Man won’t set the ratings on fire and is hardly revolutionary, but if you like your tech ‘lite’ and your presenters not too pretty, this is a handy half-hour show. RC

Related: The Gadget Show

Stephen Fry: Gadget Man. Mondays, 8.30PM Channel 4, UK and 4oD (Channel 4’s On Demand Service streaming across the Internet). Show duration: 23:29

Series so far:
Mon 19 Nov 2012 Series 1 Episode 1
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/stephen-fry-gadget-man/4od#3445614
Super Commuter: Stephen and his guest Jonathan Ross look at how gadgets can make the daily commute more bearable and more…

Mon 26 Nov 2012 Series 1 Episode 2
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/stephen-fry-gadget-man/4od#3445638
Tasty Tech: Stephen takes a look at how gadgets can make shopping and cooking so much easier and far more entertaining…

Mon 03 Dec 2012 Series 1 Episode 3
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/stephen-fry-gadget-man/4od#3446610
Work Made Easy: Stephen examines devices that make work easier and more fun and meets up with Lord Sugar to road test…

About Robin Catling

Writer; performer; project manager; sports coach; all-round eccentric.

Discussion

One thought on “Review: Stephen Fry – Gadget Man

  1. Yes! Finally something about windows 8.

    Posted by Benny Ham | February 5, 2013, 7:54 pm

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