Welcome to The Indiependent’s Top TV of the Decade! Emma Morgan takes a look at Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan’s The Trip…
Part sitcom, part travel programme, part restaurant review, The Trip is an unusual but engaging showcase of the talents of two of our best loved comedians. Beginning with a restaurant tour of the North of England and returning later for a jaunt around Italy’s most distinguished eateries, this gentle and meandering comedy pits a chirpy, bright-eyed Rob Brydon against a sardonic and melancholy Steve Coogan, in a good-natured sparring match of wits. As they drive through the muted, frosty loveliness of the Yorkshire Dales, or gorge on fresh octopus above the glittering Amalfi Coast, their improvised dialogue meanders from subject to subject, punctuated every now and then by an aggressively competitive exchange of Michael Caine impressions.
Brydon and Coogan appear as magnified versions of themselves, the former filled with pride and enthusiasm over his career, the latter struggling against the lonely ‘mid-life hiatus’ which marks the end of his days as Alan Partridge. The contrast between Brydon’s boundless optimism and Coogan’s relative lack of purpose lends a strain of poignancy to their light-hearted conversations, so reflecting their impressive ability to flit almost imperceptibly between humour and pathos. Their partnership, as well as being funny, is intelligent and natural, and it is a treat to watch their bickering friendship unfold on screen.
Words by Emma Morgan