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Hugh Laurie means it. You can tell by his face while he’s listening to late New Orleans blues legend Professor Longhair. And it’s the way in which he somehow combines a complete lack of self-consciousness with studied self-deprecation that makes this vanity project fun, rather than a chore, to watch. In his second ‘Perspectives’ documentary on the blues, he takes his band across America having first dropped into Jools Holland’s gaff for the obligatory ‘jam’.
Mostly, Laurie’s promoting a new album, but his journey (‘in every TV documentary there’s a journey, otherwise Ofcom levies a fine’) concludes on board the Queen Mary, where an ageing Longhair made a recording of a gig that turned young Hugh on to a whole new genre of music. The erstwhile Gregory House communicates his passion with complete conviction; his singing voice may be limited, but his respect for the music and its makers is profound and rather touching.