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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Sara Wallis

'Deep Fake Neighbour Wars is weird and cleverly made - trouble is, it lacks laughs'

If you flicked on ITV X this week and saw Kim Kardashian driving a London bus or Adele scraping pigeon poo off her awning, you have been deep faked.

Quite literally changing the face of comedy, Deep Fake Neighbour Wars turns impressionists into the world’s most famous people. And for added cheek, the ‘celebs’ in this show are ordinary people who are embroiled in petty neighbourhood disputes.

Are you keeping up? It’s hard to get your head around at first.

It turns out that you can morph celebrity faces on to actors’ bodies using controversial deep fake technology, which used to be the preserve of fake news peddlers and revenge porn criminals, but now plunges headfirst into entertainment.

So there are backyard battles between Billie Eilish and Beyonce, a loved-up Nicki Minaj and Tom Holland (in matching pink velour tracksuits) have a row with Mark Zuckerberg, and Harry Kane gets cross when his patio is damaged by neighbour Stormzy.

'Stormzy' and 'Harry Kane' on Deep Fake Neighbour Wars on ITVX (ITVX)

The AI tech is terrifyingly convincing – and you’ll have to wait until the end credits to see the unknown comedians reveal their true faces.

Each episode begins: “This is all fake. The stories are all made up. The real celebs have had nothing to do with this. Our celebs are all played by actors. Their faces are all DEEP FAKED.”

Let’s assume ITV’s lawyers have confirmed this disclaimer is enough to stop the celebs taking issue.

But I wonder how Idris Elba feels about being portrayed as a beer-bellied barman, handyman, chef, mobile phone repairer, car detailer and delivery driver from Catford who argues with Kim Kardashian about their communal garden? Maybe he thinks it’s hilarious. The only slight ­problem is that it isn’t.

The AI-generated Idris Elba and Kim Kardashian in Deep Fake Neighbour Wars (ITV)

The visuals are fascinating, the concept is brilliant (although slightly state-of-the-world scary), it’s disruptive and genre-busting television that will – and should – ignite curiosity.

But sadly it’s all a visual gimmick with no substance. It has some amusing touches but the impressions don’t always land and it’s funnier on paper than in actual laughs.

Where else, though, can you see scaffolder Ariana Grande fighting with single mum Greta Thunberg over her year-round Christmas lights or Rihanna accusing ex-farmer Phoebe Waller-Bridge of stealing her pants off the washing line?

Once you’ve got over the novelty of seeing Jay-Z and Olivia Colman cuddling up on the sofa or Usain Bolt stuck in a love triangle, you’ll probably want to move on… I guess there are some things you just can’t fake.

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