I cannot believe I avoided this absolute gem when it was first released back in 2010 and its second series in 2014. I can only assume it was other commitments that were behind the reason for such a long time between series. I’ll admit that I did know about it yet always thought it wasn’t for me and I only gave in to it since we were stuck with nothing to watch and it popped up as a recommendation on Netflix.
The concept is simple, Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan head off ‘up North’ to review a selection of the best places to eat for the UK’s Observer. There is a small side story of Steve frequently speaking to his recent ex-girlfriend, who should have accompanied him on the trip but because of their split Steve decides gets Rob to fill the gap.
The real comedy factor in this programme is unsurprisingly the relationship they have with each other. When watching this it feels like a genuine friendship, it didn’t come across like 2 actors pretending to be best friends. I was so convinced I looked in to it (googled it) and it turns out that although they would class themselves as friends they are not that close. The dialogue is loosely scripted meaning the majority of their dinner chat is all improvised. They both question their achievements in the world of TV, film and theatre which is amusing but the ultimate winner is when they (always) get to the subject of impersonations. Each episode they go head-to-head with their very best impressions of the rich and famous and Brydon’s hilarious man in a box makes frequent appearances. Celebrities such as Tom Jones, Al Pacino, Michael Caine, Rodger Moore, Sean Connery and more, all get the impersonation treatment from these two and I must say have me belly laughing from start to finish. Rob often gets overexcited but it is well worth it.
Each episode follows the exact same pattern, travel to new part of the country, check-in, check out the area, eat, sleep, done. I was fully expecting to be bored of watching the same occurrences, as well as repeated impressions, as each episode passed us by. Yet with each one I was more and more engrossed. They bounce off of each other so well and seem genuinely happy to be in each other’s company and I’d like to think that since the filming of these that they have become much closer.
As previously mentioned there are 2 series but the 2nd (based in Italy) was originally a feature length film and was split in to 6 episodes. Apart from being based in Italy and the weather and scenery being slightly improved nothing has changed from the first series.
A quick mention must go to the restaurants and the food that they serve, some of it looks incredible and I hope to one day visit them.
If you are a fan of the Office, Gavin & Stacey or Alan Partridge then I highly recommend you give this a go.
The clip I have chosen to show you is when they have a “Michael Caine off”. It really is comical and shows you the back and forth that happens between them as each episode passes but you also get a sense of the friendship that is there. Please watch and enjoy.
Until next time… 🙂