That Mitchell And Webb Look: Series One

That Mitchell And Webb Look: Series One


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

David Mitchell (the one with the chins and the big, brown eyes that give him the slight air of a basset hound) and Robert Webb (the taller, skinnier one, for whom I can’t think of a dog analogy) have carved a pretty successful partnership down the years.

Although their earliest TV sketch work – That Mitchell And Webb Situation – languished on the virtually unwatched UK Play, it was still funny, and their Radio 4 show That Mitchell And Webb Sound is currently in its third series. This, along with Webb’s role in The Smoking Room, their double billing in Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show and, slightly worryingly, the Apple Mac billboard campaign, have cemented their names in the public consciousness.

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Sadly, Magicians, their recent foray onto the big screen, was a bit of a one-trick pony, so it’s great to watch this DVD for BBC Series That Mitchell And Webb and be reminded how funny they can be.

Sketch shows are notoriously hit and miss, but this definitely holds more giggles than groans, thanks in no small part to the fact that they have reworked many of their best radio shows for the visual format.

Importantly, unlike some shows which make the leap from sound-only to screen, they have taken the opportunity to revisit the sketches and beef them up visually, so that they take on a life in their own right. Despite adding more to them for the camera, they still retain the clever wordplay which made them a radio success – on what other sketch show are you going to hear someone described as “a chippy little autodidact” this year?

The six episodes lampoon everything from daytime quiz shows, thanks to the sub-Morningside Crescent Numberwang, to snooker (Mitchell’s recurrent “That’s a bad miss” in the style of Bob Lowe is a gem) and even Dick Barton Special Agent (the rather less successful Sir Digby Chicken Ceasar, a tramp who has big adventures).

It is, however, in the one-off sketches that the best of the humour lies, particularly a hilarious ‘green clarinet’ skit, in which Mitchell finds himself corrupted by a musical instrument that makes people tell the truth, and fantastic Weakest Link parody, Hole In The Ring. That they also manage to make a banana suit and chicken costumes raise a laugh, is also nothing short of genius.

They are ably supported throughout by the ever-excellent Olivia Coleman (Greenwing), Paterson Joseph and James Bachman, who also writes for the show.

As comedy sketch shows go, definitely one of the better and more original out there.

Reviewed on: 07 Nov 2007
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That Mitchell And Webb Look: Series One packshot
First series of the BAFTA-winning sketch show.
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Director: David Kerr

Writer: David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Joseph Paterson, Mark Evans, Simon Kane

Starring: David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Olivia Colman, James Bachman, Joseph Paterson, Mark Evans, Abigail Burdess

Year: 2006

Runtime: 180 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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