Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father
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Part travelogue, part comedy with plenty of lighthearted humor, this documentary series follows the adventures of British comedian Jack Whitehall and his father, Michael, as they explore Southeast Asia, Europe, Australia, and the U.S. in an attempt to strengthen their bond.
Jack Whitehall is best known for his roles in British TV comedies such as Fresh Meat and Bad Education (which he also co-wrote). He’s also a stand-up comedian and makes frequent appearances as a guest, panelist, and presenter on talk shows and awards shows in the U.K.
Full of witty banter, this show highlights two very different perspectives on travel between laid-back comedian Jack Whitehall and his uptight, aristocratic father, a retired TV producer and talent agent. Each of the show’s four seasons—ranging between two and six episodes—explores a different region of the world. But unlike other travel shows, this one tends to avoid the obvious touristy attractions. Instead, with the occasional help of local guides, it digs deeper into each destination to reveal lesser-known gems. The father-son duo sample street food, observe local customs, and experience primitive forms of transportation, which provides a more in-depth look at each locale.
Even those who aren’t already familiar with the younger and more famous Whitehall should still find his wicked sense of humor and the banter between him and his dad highly entertaining. In one episode, Jack deceitfully convinces Michael to sleep in a straw beach hut for the night in Phuket. In another, they travel to Odessa to attend one of Europe’s biggest clown festivals, and both wind up dressed as clowns. While visiting Las Vegas, Jack tricks his dad into sitting through a raunchy live performance of Magic Mike by telling him it’s a magic show. Michael is good natured about all of this (most of the time), and sometimes even tries to outsmart his son. The fact that they continue to travel together after all this is a testament to their close relationship.
The experiences of this English pair highlight the generational divide between them in a laugh-out-loud kind of way. Despite their antics, though, they also share deep and heartwarming moments as they bond over the importance of treasuring time with family.
Though part of traveling is being able to tick off historical sites and iconic landmarks, the other part of it is about who you share it with and how these experiences impact your relationship. As Jack and Michael Whitehall demonstrate throughout this series, you can have differences and setbacks on the road but still find ways to enjoy time together.
Whether you’re a budget backpacker or a sophisticated hotel aficionado, anybody who misses international travel right now will appreciate this show. It’s easy to jump into and doesn’t have to be watched in sequential order, so pick episodes based on your mood and where you want to be transported to. And if you’ve ever gone on vacation with friends or family members who have different travel styles than yours, you might even find it enjoyable to watch together as the father-son duo set out to tackle this challenge in a very playful way.
Season 4 of this show takes place in Australia and was filmed in January 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic forced its borders to shut.