sat 13/07/2024

The Trip to Greece, Sky 1 review - jokes, jibes and indigestion in the footsteps of Odysseus | reviews, news & interviews

The Trip to Greece, Sky 1 review - jokes, jibes and indigestion in the footsteps of Odysseus

The Trip to Greece, Sky 1 review - jokes, jibes and indigestion in the footsteps of Odysseus

Argumentative duo bicker their way towards Ithaca

The last time? Coogan and Brydon hit the road

Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan have been taking their bickering TV trips for a decade, beginning in the north of England in 2010 before working their way around Italy, Spain and now Greece (on Sky 1). They say this will be the last time, but believe that at your peril.

Coogan has estimated that the characters they play in The Trip are about 30 per cent real and 70 per cent fictionalised, and part of the show’s allure is trying to spot the join between the two. No doubt this was the plan when director Michael Winterbottom (who has helmed all four series) originally sold it to them, perhaps not envisaging it becoming a developing chronicle as the duo advance into middle age (they both turn 55 this year).

The theme is that Coogan is a harassed and self-important star, whose bantering tone may at any moment turn to egocentric self-obsession. The reason they were in Greece, he told Brydon pretentiously, is that his publisher wanted him to use the route of Homer’s Odyssey to write Coogan’s own personal odyssey. Brydon enjoys puncturing his self-regard. “I look better as I get older,” claimed Coogan. “You were unpalatable as a young man,” Brydon retorted.

As they worked their way across Greece via a sequence of fine-dining restaurants, you could speculate about how much their spiky interplay masked genuine antagonism. Could Brydon perhaps resent Coogan’s movie success, most recently as the star of Winterbottom’s Greed? When Brydon described Coogan as a “British comic”, Coogan testily corrected it to “British actor, writer and producer”. Brydon’s revenge was a torrent of monologues, sarcastic jibes and impersonations, challenging Coogan to keep up.

Several times, Brydon’s inspired improvisations reduced Coogan to authentically helpless mirth. For instance, there was the moment when he suddenly became chat show host Michael Parkinson, obsequiously introducing Coogan (“wonderful stories from Steve”). Another was his ingenious backhanded compliment, praising the way Coogan absorbed himself completely into his portrayal of Stan Laurel in the film Stan & Ollie: “I was watching you and I forgot about you, and it was blessed relief.” It would be fascinating to see the footage they left out.

'I look better as I get older,' claimed Coogan. 'You were unpalatable as a young man,' Brydon retorted


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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