After three years away, The Trip is returning to our screens on a new channel and with a new destination.
When The Trip began in 2010 on BBC Two, it was a rather odd proposition. Steve Coogan, best-known for playing Alan Partridge and Rob Brydon, who most recently had played Uncle Bryn in Gavin & Stacey were to travel around the north of England on a restaurant tour commissioned by The Observer.
In case you’ve never seen The Trip before, both Coogan and Brydon are playing fictional versions of themselves – sharing personal stories and endless impersonations. I’ll leave it up to you to decide quite how fictional these performances really are.
Four years after the first series proved so popular, The Trip returned as The Trip To Italy. As the title would suggest the new series saw Steve and Rob go on a road trip reviewing six different restaurants from all around Italy.
Fast-forward now to 2016 when it was announced the The Trip would be returning, but it wasn’t BBC Two that would be welcoming the series back, it was Sky Atlantic who would be the series’ new home and it was them who would be sending the duo on a culinary coast-to-coast odyssey for The Trip To Spain.
The first series began with Steve calling Rob asking him to accompany him on a tour of the north of England and series two opened with Rob calling Steve about joining him on a tour of Italy. For this new series it’s once again Steve’s time to call Rob.
Having returned from New York, where he’s been working on a Martin Scorsese project called Medium Rare playing a chef, Steve calls Rob to invite him along on another trip. The New York Times want him to do a series of restaurant reviews in Spain as part of the promotion for Medium Rare.
One look at his youngest child Charlie lying on the floor screaming, is enough to persuade Rob that a trip to Spain is exactly what he needs.
Picking Rob up in his Range Rover, Steve packs Rob’s bags into the boot and the pair head off to catch the ferry before making their way to Spain, where they’ll travel over 1,000 miles down the entire length of Spain, following in the footsteps of poet and novelist Laurie Lee.
Together they’ll be sampling some of the finest food and wine Spain have to offer as well as sharing some great stories and delivering an always entertaining impression… or two.
Having seen the first episode, I’m pleased to confirm that their impression of Michael Caine is very much still in the final cut as well as some other names – John Hurt as The Elephant Man and an excellent Mick Jagger impression born out of a discussion of him becoming a father again in his early seventies.
If you’re worried that Sky Atlantic have in any way changed the show you know and love, don’t be. Much of the reason why The Trip To Spain feels the same as The Trip and The Trip To Italy is because it’s once again directed by the magnificent Michael Winterbottom who makes it all look so easy and effortless.
With both men now in their early fifties, they find themselves sitting across the table from each other reflecting on their lives so far – including their respective careers as well as their numerous romantic dalliances. There’s even talk of the 18-year-old who lost her virginity to Steve!
Oh and let’s not forget the rather memorable moment where they’re not allowed into a cave and Rob is forced to use his 2 million Twitter followers as a bribe.
The tagline for the series is “Two middle-aged men looking for adventure” and that couldn’t be more accurate.
Underlying each series of The Trip has been this idea of a mid-life crisis and if you cast your minds back to series one, it was Steve who wasn’t entirely happy with his career. And whilst he loved his girlfriend, his eyes wandered further than they should have. All the while, Rob would spend the evening phoning his wife.
Then it was a role-reversal of sorts for series two as Rob gave in to temptation whilst Steve became quite the family man when his son joined them on the trip.
Quite where the third series is going to go is anyone’s guess, but if the closing minutes of the first episode are anything to go by, eyes will wander once more but this time around will those eyes belong to Steve or Rob?
With wonderful conversation, wonderful food and wonderful locations, The Trip To Spain is another must-see series. Whether you’ve seen any of The Trip before or not, you can definitely dip in to series three.
If you watch the first episode on Thursday (you should) and are left wanting more (which you will), the good news is that Sky are embracing this binge-watch era we currently live in and all six episodes will be made available to watch via Sky On Demand.
Of course if you prefer your telly delivered weekly, the series will continue to be shown every Thursday at 10pm on Sky Atlantic.
The Trip To Spain begins Thursday 6th April at 10pm on Sky Atlantic