Words: Paul Dean
'The Trip' Episode 6: 'The Angel At Hetton'
SYNOPSIS: "Comedy series starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Steve and Rob visit Bolton Abbey and breakfast at The Angel at Hetton. On their way back home to London they stop off at Steve's parents' house." (bbc.co.uk)
The weather's changed. The sun came out and it dried the jokes up. I'm glad that I watched 'The Trip' and, at the beginning, it made me laugh a lot, but I've just finished watching the final episode and I'll be completely honest with you, it's actually an effort for me to remember what happened in it. I barely smiled once and, without the humour, I've come to realise that there's very little plot to engage the viewer, particularly as each episode follows a very similar structure.
What I do like is the natural and often improvised dialogue between faux-Coogan and faux-Brydon, as the former's desire to one up a colleague who he continually sees as a rival instead of a friend leads to the very pettiest of bickering ("I liked Bolton Abbey before you liked Bolton Abbey."), but this is now so silly that it struggles to be convincing, which often kills its comic potential. Furthermore, as the two characters seem to have relaxed a little during their midlands tour, both the humour and tension have waned - something that changes the show into less of a comedy and much more of an unremarkable tale of two chaps just spending time together with one of them occasionally feeling unhappy about his career.
That said, I hope this duo do more together. They demonstrate a natural chemistry and a fine ability to bounce off one another. I can't help but feel that with a better premise, or perhaps more material and a little more innovation, they're capable of great things. Still, I'm glad this particular journey has come to its end.
WATCH until 10.29pm, Monday 13 December. UK users only. The rest of the series is also available on iPlayer.