Rob Brydon’s Identity Crisis

It’s going to be a bit of a Joanna Page overload day, today – we might have to switch from "Today’s Joanna Page" to "Joanna Page day" in fact. In fact, it might even be "Joanna Page week", judging by some of the entries since the weekend. I’m not sure how it’s happened, but I suspect a bizarre cabal of Jonathan Miller, the controllers of BBC1, BBC2 and BBC3, Richard Curtis and my wife, all working together to sabotage my editorial calendar and promote blonde Welsh actresses (or one of them at least).

First, then, a little note to mention that Rob Brydon’s Identity Crisis is being repeated on BBC2 on Wednesday at 11.20pm. Originally shown on BBC4, it’s quite a nice little piece – and funny, as you’d expect from Rob Brydon.

In it, Brydon sets himself the challenge of getting to grips with his Welsh roots by touring Wales, talking with people about what it means to be Welsh, what the Welsh are like, the Welsh language, etc, before performing a stand-up act at the end based on what he discovers.

Along the way, he talks to the English (in particular AA Gill and James Corden) and various Welsh luminaries including Alfred Marks, Ruth Jones, Joanna Page (of course), Griff Rhys Jones, Max Boyce, Victor Spinetti, Nicky Wire from Manic Street Preachers, and Goldie Lookin’ Chain.

It’s quite interesting, not just because of the various opinions he encounters, but because of his personal journey. At the beginning of the documentary, he starts off quite pessimistic, not very involved with his Welsh roots and unsure if he’ll ever be able to get an hour’s material out of the trip. But by the end, he’s loving it all and feeling very patriotic and positive.

Probably the highlight of the documentary, apart from archive footage of Brydon trying to pronounce Welsh placenames while on a stint as a gameshow host, is the behind-the-scenes filming of Gavin & Stacey and James Corden, who delivers this interesting thought on the Welsh language.

If you’re just in it for Joanna Page, here’s her contribution, more or less. I won’t lie to you: there’s not much.