Fresh off the stand-up circuit and sitcoms that made him famous, Jack Whitehall returns, starring in something completely different – a travel documentary series. Taking his pessimistic Father on a trip to the Far East, Travels With My Father features some hilarious and insightful episodes full of comedy and beautiful scenery. Although the series is spoilt slightly by a few cringe-inducing staged incidents, Jack Whitehall’s travel documentary is great entertainment but also quite subjective, with a lot of slapstick and silly humour dotted throughout.
The documentary begins in England, with Jack booking a gap-year off and inviting his Father along for the ride. Intent on breaking the tough shell his father Michael has adopted throughout his life, Jack drags his reluctant Dad along to rough it in Thailand. Once there, they travel through the country to Vietnam and Cambodia experiencing the rich culture and diving head first into life in those countries. Narrated by Jack himself, the episodes take on a familiar travel documentary format with numerous establishing shots of the beautiful locales breaking up the comedic moments littered through the episodes. Full of Jack’s trademark slapstick, the back and forth exchanges between him and his Father inject some much-needed entertainment into an otherwise by-the-numbers series.
The final episode which reflects on the pair’s journey and what they’ve learnt is certainly the best episode and it nicely concludes the series. The different locations are interesting and whilst the camera angles and composition don’t involve anything particularly noteworthy, there are some good shots that show off the beauty of these countries. Seeing Vietnam neon-illuminated by night and the endless stretching countryside of Cambodia is beautifully realized although these moments are fleeting, with most of the series focusing on the comedy first and foremost.
Travels With My Father is just long enough to prevent it from outstaying its welcome. Those with a distaste for Jack Whitehall’s slapstick style or haven’t found any of his previous work appealing won’t necessarily enjoy this series. This is strictly a travel documentary designed as a platform for Jack’s silly comedy rather than interesting facts and promoting the countries they travel. Those who do like Jack’s style of comedy will love this series with endless slapstick and silly comedy dominating most of the series. Whilst there isn’t anything here that’s particularly groundbreaking or innovative, the series is still enjoyable although it’s unlikely you’ll return to this one any time soon once you’ve finished watching it.