TV preview: Ozzy & Jack's World Detour
Rock'n'roll history lessons from Jack and Ozzy Osbourne
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The perfect antidote to dusty fusty history documentaries, Ozzy Osbourne and his son Jack plunder the ancient past in Ozzy & Jack's World Detour. In the show, currently on HISTORY, they head on a wild worldwide road trip with pit stops in Great Britain, America, Japan and Cuba.
More famous for inventing heavy metal, Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy is an unlikely history buff with a specialist interest in World War II. Jack has put together the ultimate itinerary to share their passion for days gone by as they explore everywhere from Stonehenge and Bletchley Park in the UK to the USA's Mount Rushmore and The Alamo (the site of Ozzy's infamous 'urinating incident' back in 1982). As Jack explains in his intro, it's 'just the two of us with a bucket list of places and things we've only ever read about in books or seen on TV or the web. No roadies, no tour buses, no boundaries.'
Ozzy & Jack's World Detour is packed with the kind of freewheeling comedy and liberal use of profanities fans of classic fly-on-the-wall series The Osbournes will know and love. Since then rock's first family has been through the ringer with Ozzy's much publicised difficulties with various addictions, while Jack has battled his own demons and health problems (announcing he had multiple sclerosis in 2012). So it's great to see them back on track, and it's the warm relationship between father and son that's at the heart of the show. There's such obvious chemistry, love and affection as they bumble around various historical sites. Sometimes it's hard to tell who the parent is as they banter and bicker through their travels, with Jack permanently on hand to keep his wayward father on track.
Where else can you watch the world's most dangerous pensioner take control of an authentic WWII tank? And it's a brave man who hands Ozzy a loaded weapon – even if it is only an old fashioned musket. Despite his baffled exterior, the Double O can be surprisingly sharp and insightful, refusing to accept any bullshit, especially during a fantastically bizarre encounter with 'King' Arthur Pendragon.
Underneath the comedy capers, it's also an unexpectedly informative ten part series highlighting some fascinating events and artefacts. Unsurprisingly, Jack and Ozzy come at history from an unconventional angle, digging out quirky nuggets of info other shows would miss. Drawn to the dark side of antiquity, even though he's now clean and sober, Ozzy is fascinated by booze and drug use throughout history. The look of shock and horror on the Prince of Darkness' face as they discuss cannibalism in Jamestown (the first permanent English settlement in the Americas) during the 1600s is priceless.
You don't watch a show like Ozzy & Jack's World Detour expecting huge revelations. It's a world away from the dry data dump some programmes feel is necessary to prove their worth. Admittedly they don't delve into any topic in great depth but they make facts fun and user-friendly for a nicely balanced mix of entertainment and education. Jack and Ozzy are genuinely interested in what they discover and this sense of wonder drags you along in their wake for an instantly accessible, constantly amusing, trip through the past.
Ozzy & Jack's World Detour, HISTORY, Sundays 9pm. Sky 529, Virgin 270, BT 327, Vodafone 312, TalkTalk 327.