At last two of Britain’s best loved Comedians and impressionists have teamed up to produce The Trip, a comedic masterpiece which I know will go down in British sitcom history.
The series stars Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge and Saxondale) and Rob Brydon (Gavin and Stacey) as fictionalised versions of themselves who carry out a restaurant tour of North of England for The Observer. With a witty plot and impressions that will leave you in stitches this really is British comedy at its best.
The Trip centres around the pair visiting eloquent restaurants with marvellous dishes whilst they poke fun and dissect each other’s egos. Whether it’s Coogan’s self-doubt, Brydon’s unbridled joy or pitch-perfect impressions, this is a series that has got into its stride quickly, where many have failed.
Gone are the days of Little Britain and Catherine Tate, sketch shows which to me became dated by their final series. Furthermore, British comedy is seeing a revival on television, particularly with the success of stadium and small venue stand up tours and a more sophisticated branch of comedy with the institution that is QI and Would I Lie To You (where Brydon also appears). The same can be said for The Trip which offers elegant and highly entertaining piece of comedy. In particular, the simple, yet clever cut back camera shots of the two characters gives the programme a very authentic feel. Coupled with the beautiful scenery of the Lake District and the quaint restaurants visit adds a charming quality.
In last weeks episode ‘Holbeck Ghyll’, as Brydon’s popularity and impression of a man in a box succeeds in diffusing a very awkward situation at a country home (“Old people seek out aggravation”, cries Coogan) the shot of Coogan trying to do the impression himself behind closed doors, followed by a soulful look in the mirror tells all you needed to know about this episode and the drama underneath the surface. It was, quite simply, brilliant.
If you have not seen this I recommend that you do, as it will leave you hungry for more. The series is broadcast every Monday from 10pm on BBC Two, and the whole series is available on BBC iplayer.