Romesh Ranganathan doesn’t understand what he’s doing

Does Romesh Ranganathan know what he’s doing? I watched his travel show again last night, and it seemed very strangely framed indeed. I usually love that kind of program, especially Michael Palin’s travelogues. No doubt Ranganathan wants to become the new Palin, but his show last night addressed the viewer in a way I must say I did not like at all. As I touched upon in this entry last year, I find his style odd, and even a little condescending. It was curious: the presenter seemed unable to decide what his role was exactly; one minute we were hearing a standard, professional voiceover of the style you find in any documentary of this kind. In the next shot, though, Ranganathan wasn’t talking directly into the camera as a presenter ordinarily would, but past it as if talking to the film crew, like he was pretending to be an ordinary guy off the street who somehow just happened to have a film crew following him about. The result is a program which seems to want to be two things at once: professional Palinesque travelogue and semi-amateur comedy travel show. Ranganathan attempts to come across as both a professional and a subversive, comedic amateur. It’s as if he can’t decide what his role is so he tries to be both. The result, though, is he just comes across as an irritating twat who should leave this work to people who understand the genre. As fascinating as the places we are shown are (last night’s program about Mongolia made my feet itch) I must say that I find the result of this wanting to be two things at once rather greedy and irritating. It is almost as if the guy doesn’t fully understand what he’s doing.

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