The Secrets of Everything is trailed like a programmes for lads, right, but lads who secretly want to know stuff without seeming well nerdy, yeah? Not stuff that matters, obviously, that’s for spods, but cool stuff like “what happens if everyone jumps at once?” and “what does human flesh taste like?”.
What Greg ISN’T is involved in any of his own stunts. Actually, that’s not at all fair. To answer one of the questions above, we see boffins take a thigh biopsy – a thighopsy, if you will – from Greg’s leg and have it cooked up by a man in a white coat with an expensive machine.
Unfortunately those petty bureaucrats in Brussels have RUINED CHRISTMAS by decreeing that Greg can’t eat himself (something I suspect, if he’s anything like me, he proved that in his mid teens), so he takes it to another boffin who cooks it up and analyses the aroma. It’s beefy, lamby, and presumably the rest of the 1985 England cricket team, with chicken-style fibres and a porky tang. So he cooks up a burger to the same recipe.
Clever, but still a pretty fundamental cop-out.
There were a couple of genuinely cool moments. Greg managed to get 50,000 people at the Reading festival to jump at the same time (unfortunately another 50,000 were horizontal and 20,000 already thought they *were* flying) and it worked- the resulting thud measured 0.6 on the Richter scale! But 9.0 on the cider and bad hash scale.
Unfortunately, all this proves is that no, even if 7 billion people jump simultaneously, it’ll be less than one-seven-millionth as powerful as the recent Japanese earthquake. Weaponise it, you could just about cause consternation to a small corner of Surrey. Which, to be fair, sounds like a good enough reason.
Another ‘cool’ bit saw Greg bouncing around a airship hangar (really) to mimic Neil Armstrong’s “one giant leap”. He got to tie half a dozen weather balloons to himself and honestly, it looked brilliant. It’s a shame you can’t get zeppelin hangars in West London for love nor money these days.
So: what’s the best way to survive a lightning strike? After some hot Tesla coil action – always a crowd-pleaser – the honest answer turns out to be “get someone to shut you in a metal sarcophagus”. But for those of us who don’t have well-equipped sex dungeons, just hop in the car.
Moving on swiftly, the big set piece was “can a bad enough belly flop kill you?”.
I’ve not heard anyone wondering this, as any kind of fall into water will kill you if the drop’s big enough. Greg once again wimps out of taking one for the team, giving them the excuse they needed to dump a pig from a crane, cutting open the battered carcass and showing off its ruptured bowel with relish (possibly an unfortunate word, especially for fans of bacon and brown sauce).
This is all moderately entertaining (and not bad for a BBC3 budget) but it’s a bit unambitious. They use ugly animated filler to keep costs down, also the producers are hammered at every turn by ‘elf and safety, which must really rankle with the banter-style vibe they’re trying to create. It’s “Brainiac” lite to the point that the biggest surprise of the night is the fact Richard Hammond isn’t presenting it.
In retrospect, the programme this most resembles in “Mythbusters”, without the humour, detail or charisma. And if that sounds a bit harsh, it is. It’s not at all bad. It’s watchable. That’s probably all you really need to know.
The Secrets of Everything is on BBC3, Sundays at 8pm. You can catch up on iPlayer here