The Trip To Spain – DVD Review
Starring: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon
by Roger Crow
I fell in love with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s mix of travelogue and food porn from the minute it debuted on BBC Two. The Trip was so wafer-thin a premise, it’s a wonder director Michael Winterbottom got a green light, but as the opening of his film A Cock and Bull Story proved, Coogan and Brydon’s improv and sparky chemistry was so addictive, it topped anything that followed in that movie.
Like many, I laughed long and hard at the impressions of Al Pacino, Roger Moore and others in the Coogan/Brydon repertoire, while soaking up the sights of their northern England road trip.
“Tinged with sadness”
It was bittersweet, and Winterbottom tweaked the formula a bit by having Coogan take more of a back seat. Obviously there were more impressions, and though the same format: banter; road trip shots; mouth watering food prep scenes and the stars consuming said food was rolled out again, the scenery was a sight for sore eyes.
Which brings us to The Trip to Spain, a third helping which could have proved that the same old thing reworked in a different country was one trip too many. But I find myself binge-watching it twice, once via TV box set on the day it airs and again on the new DVD version.
It’s tinged with sadness as the impressions of Roger Moore were recorded before his death. The David Bowie stuff is just as poignant, as is Coogan’s ’Terry Wogan’ chat with Brydon’s uncanny Ken Bruce.
The running gag of Coogan dropping his Oscar-nominated work on Philhomena into every other conversation is always funny. As, indeed, is the Don Quixote theme which inevitably sees our stars posing for a photo shoot as Cervantes’ heroes.
Though Coogan and Brydon are obviously playing enhanced versions of themselves, the Pete and Dud-style patter is as winning as ever.
With recurring characters such as photographer Yolanda (Marta Barrio) and Coogan’s PA Emma (Claire Keelan) returning, the bromance bubble bursts occasionally, but as the guys try to impress fellow female diners, the dynamic changes gear as they attempt to out charm each other, sometimes with annoying results.
Brydon’s Roger Moore impression in ep five goes on for so long it’s not just Coogan who’s irritated, while a bombshell from Steve’s son in the same instalment reminds me of what a great actor he is when he manages to escape the shadow of Alan Partridge.
Food and travel might be the most obvious ingredients in ‘The Trip’ saga, but it’s the duo’s thoughts on ageing that often proves the most appealing element. It’s probably because I’m a few years younger than both, so their observations obviously ring truer than many characters in youth-centric sitcoms.
I’d have loved a commentary on the DVD, but it’s not a deal breaker. The Trip To Spain is sublime entertainment – and with that ambiguous finale, I can’t wait to see where the roving gastronauts go next.
I’m guessing America is inevitable. But as there’s plenty of fuel in this vehicle’s tank and there’s clearly still a demand, I’d be happy to see the duo in ‘The Trip to the M1 Services’ if it means we get more rib-tickling comedy gold.
‘The Trip to Spain’ is out now from BBC Worldwide
images: (c) 2017 Trip Films Ltd