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Thursday 13 December 2018

Griff was raging against it all

LOSING IT: GRIFF RHYS JONES ON ANGER (BBC2) NORTH HOLLYWOOD SHOOTOUT (RTE2)

LOOK BACK AT ANGER: Griff Rhys Jones investigates his temper
LOOK BACK AT ANGER: Griff Rhys Jones investigates his temper

Griff Rhys Jones is one very angry man. He loses his temper a lot -- at home, in the car, on the computer, at work -- and throws mad, ballistic tantrums.

He even lost it while making Losing It, a two-part look at his own and other people's anger, after he pranged his car against some scaffolding. It happened when the cameras weren't running, so we only saw the aftermath.

But there was a clip of Griff losing it during the second series of Three Men on a Boat last year. "Just f***ing infuriating! Shit! F*** it! F*** it!" he screamed, and then he repeatedly banged his fists against his head.

"I flew into a rage about something that was completely beyond my control," said Griff (the boat's sail). "That's nothing new for me."

Anger can be funny. Basil Fawlty thrashing his car with a twig. Panorama reporter John Sweeney screaming in a smug Scientologist's face. God, that WAS satisfying, that one.

Griff can also be funny, but his outbursts are not; they're irritating and offensive to the people who know him, and they worry Griff.

"I generally tend to keep out of the way," said his wife Jo. Griff reckons he's becoming more like his father, another very angry man. Griff's daughter and son -- who looks and sounds more like Griff than Griff does -- told of how their dad will sit there, hammering out angry emails late at night but, luckily, rarely sending them.

Griff talked to other people with a history of losing it, like Chanelle from Big Brother, who exploded on live TV, and chef Heston Blumenthal, who once sped after a white van driver who'd given him the finger and frightened the bloke so much that he ditched his van and ran down a lane.

But it was at its most revealing when Griff was talking to people his tantrums had hurt in the past. His former agent Pam reminded him how, the first day she went to work for him, he threw a wobbly and kicked a hole through a door.

"Nobody had warned me you would fill the room with fury," she said. Griff was crushed by shame and incredulity. "I could be crotchety but I wasn't raging with you. . . was I?" he mumbled.

Later, looking like he might have had a little cry off camera, Griff revealed how he'd hoped Pam would say that none of it mattered, that "It was a rollercoaster ride and we had a good old laugh. She didn't say anything like that."

Underneath the jaunty surface, this was a dark piece of self-exploration, full of sadness and remorse. Next week Griff tries boxing and meditating and other ways of curing his anger. Judging from his guilt-wracked face at the end of this, I'd say the healing process has already begun.

I was surprised to find North Hollywood Shootout, a docu-drama about an LA bank raid that climaxed in a massively bloody gun battle, on RTE2 at 7pm. Absorbing but graphically violent, it was definitely post-watershed material and showing it in that slot, on the day of a terrible school shooting in Finland, was doubly inappropriate. Are they on auto-pilot in RTE2?

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