In Review

The Trip to Spain: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon go back on holiday

Comic duo joke and bicker their way through the Spanish countryside in return of hit series

The Trip returns to our screens this week and this time, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are taking their comic antics in Spain.

However, unfortunately for some, The Trip to Spain will be shown on Sky Atlantic and not BBC, where the duo's previous tours of the Lake District and Italy were aired.

The format stays the same, though, with semi-fictional versions of Coogan and Brydon driving, joking, eating, bickering and impersonating famous people as they travel around the Spanish countryside.

While director Michael Winterbottom plans the basic outline of the story, most of the actual dialogue is improvised by the two men themselves.

One teaser for the series shows the pair eating lunch while Brydon describes meeting Sir Mick Jagger, leading to the two comedians competing to impersonate the rock star.

Another clip simply shows them driving in a Range Rover while improvising songs.

It's a simple format, but one that has been a hit with both viewers and critics.

Christopher Hooton in The Independent says that after reviewing narratively complex shows such as Westworld, watching The Trip to Spain is a refreshing relief. "Spoiler alert: two blokes eat lunch," he writes.

It is the same mix of "meandering conversations over myriad lunches", with Coogan and Brydon "laying bare their actorly and literary pretensions", continues the critic.

However, the show has grown in confidence since its first outing, with the two men "now aiming for a little profundity among the comedy".

Bruce Dessau on Beyond the Joke says the pace of the first episode "is pretty gentle".

There are a lot of scenes of driving through the Spanish countryside with "little more than Coogan dad-beatboxing for company", he writes.

The "big laughs" come when the duo discuss the potentially unfunny topic of death.

And then, once they get stuck into their voice-offs, impersonating Jagger, Sir Michael Caine and Al Pacino impressions "we are on a firm comedic footing once again".

But to enjoy it, "you have to be comfortable in the company of two men who luxuriate in their own comfortable cleverness and talent at mimicry", writes Sean O’Grady, in [http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/tv-preview-the-trip-to-spain-a7658231.html] The Independent, and not all of us have the confidence to do so, even at a distance.   

Nevertheless, he adds, most viewers will enjoy "the competitive anecdotage about beheadings" and that is "well worth a Sky subscription".

The Trip to Spain starts on Sky Atlantic at 10pm on Thursday 6 April.

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