That Mitchell and Webb Look


That Mitchell and Webb Look
That Mitchell and Webb Look
That Mitchell and Webb Look title card.jpg
Format Comedy sketch show
Starring David Mitchell
Robert Webb
Sarah Hadland
James Bachman
Olivia Colman
Paterson Joseph
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 24
Production
Executive producer(s) Kenton Allen
Jon Plowman
Producer(s) Gareth Edwards
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two
BBC HD (2008–present)
Original run 14 September 2006 (2006-09-14) – present
External links
Website

That Mitchell and Webb Look is a British television sketch show starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb. Shown on BBC Two since 2006, its first two series were directed by David Kerr, who also directed Mitchell and Webb's previous television sketch show The Mitchell and Webb Situation, whereas series 3 and 4 are directed by Ben Gosling Fuller. As well as Mitchell and Webb themselves, the writers include Jesse Armstrong, James Bachman, Sam Bain, Mark Evans, Olivia Colman, Toby Davies, Chris Pell, Jonathan Dryden Taylor, Joel Morris, Jason Hazeley, Simon Kane and John Finnemore. It is produced by Gareth Edwards. Other cast members include Olivia Colman, James Bachman, Mark Evans, Abigail Burdess, Gus Brown, Sarah Hadland and Paterson Joseph.

Many of its characters and sketches are first featured in the duo's radio show That Mitchell and Webb Sound. First aired on 14 September 2006,[1] a second series was commissioned later that same year[2] and shown between 21 February 2008 and 27 March 2008.[3] The third series began on 11 June 2009.[4] Since series two, the production has also been broadcast on BBC HD. The first series won a BAFTA award in 2007. The third series started airing on BBC America on 14 April 2010. The fourth series premiered on BBC Two and BBC HD on 13 July 2010 with a total of 6 episodes commissioned by the BBC.[5]

Contents

Recurring sketches

  • Numberwang: a deliberately nonsensical and supposedly long-running game show, starring Robert Webb as the ebullient presenter, and two seemingly permanent contestants, Simon and Julie (Paterson Joseph and Olivia Colman) who keep to mostly one-word answers throughout the show. The game itself involves calling out numbers in various rounds and formats until the host declares "That's Numberwang!", although what constitutes a Numberwang or how it is achieved is never fully explained. Each game is always concluded with the "Wangernumb" round, which is preceded by the rotating of the board the contestants are seated on, briefly revealing a non sequitur scene on the other side.
Other Numberwang-related sketches have also been seen in later episodes, including Wordwang (a spin-off using words), Nümberwang (a German version with David Mitchell), a documentary on the history of the programme, an advertisement for a home game version, and a trailer for "The Numberwang Code" (a parody of The Da Vinci Code)[6]
  • Ted and Peter: a pair of alcoholic, chain-smoking snooker commentators, known for their absurd banter and dishevelled appearances. Ted Wilkes is played by David Mitchell and Peter DeCoursey by Robert Webb. They seem more interested in swapping anecdotes about the players than covering the game at hand, and these exchanges are sometimes laced with homoerotic overtones. In a later episode, Peter comes out as gay, a decision he discusses with Ted, who admits to having been homophobic before meeting his colleague. Peter bears a strong physical resemblance to Ronny Cox's character Drew in Deliverance. A recurring line in these sketches is "oh, and that's a bad miss", which is in fact the only comment they seem to make on the game at hand. In the fourth series, it was revealed that the two of them were forced to comment on "dog poker" after Ted had tried to "finger Hazel", and Peter had made an inappropriate comment about Kelly Holmes.
  • Mitchell and Webb: a supposedly "behind-the-scenes" look at how the show is produced, starring Mitchell and Webb as themselves. Although ostensibly involved in the production of the programme, the pair are frequently drawn into furious arguments with one another, usually over trivial matters such as how the "skin" is formed on Edam cheese (Mitchell: "I don't know how they put the fucking skin on!"). Recurring points of humour include the sketches themselves (one or more of the pair are often shown still wearing a costume from another sketch), as well as Mitchell's pessimistic nature and ongoing bachelorhood.
  • The Surprising Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar: a drunken, drug-addled psychotic tramp played by Robert Webb, who seems to be under the delusion that he is a brilliant and intrepid secret agent, in the style of Dick Barton. He and his companion Ginger, another derelict, played by David Mitchell, who serves as his Snowy, commit various crimes (usually either theft or petty assault) whilst supposedly engaging in battle against the henchmen of their so-called "nemesis", a vague and undefined entity described simply as "some bastard who is presumably responsible". The sketch often ends with the pair being chased by somebody they've fleeced to the tune of "Devil's Galop", usually combined with the use of SnorriCam shots to humorous effect.
Although Sir Digby's past remains a complete mystery, Ginger is provided with a certain amount of back-story. In one episode, he alludes to having been sexually abused and repeatedly asphyxiated by his father. In the third episode of the third season, it is revealed that Ginger's name is Guy Reilly, and that he once had a wife and 12-year-old daughter whom he lost (and has since seemingly forgotten about) as a result of his severe alcoholism. In the same episode he is shown to have recovered temporarily from alcoholism and settled in a comparatively stable life as a convenience store clerk, only to be re-enticed into accompliceship with Digby when tricked into drinking an ale.
  • Big Talk: a debate show in the same vein as Question Time or HARDtalk and hosted by the confrontational Raymond Terrific (Robert Webb), who loudly bullies his panel of so-called "boffins" into giving yes or no answers to huge social and philosophical questions (e.g. "is there a God?"). The bemused panel then try and reason with him by starting a sensible discussion, but never to any avail. The show is given an epic and aggressive atmosphere, what with the theme tune being "Ode to Joy" and Terrific's worked-up behaviour.
In one episode Big Talk underwent a format experiment whereby, instead of the usual boffins, mindless 'celebrities' were brought on to discuss laughably small matters (e.g. "how's your day been?"); this new version was appropriately called Small Talk, and the embittered Raymond Terrific frequently voiced his disapproval of the change being foisted upon him throughout.
  • The Quiz Broadcast: a post-apocalyptic television quiz show transmitted from by the British Emergency Broadcasting System "between 600 and 750 days" after "the Event", an unexplained event in the year 2013. Participants on the show are often survivors "trying to enjoy themselves" whilst avoiding any traumatic memories of the Event; Peter was blinded by raiders after the Event, Sheila, who worships Tesco, and Unknown Male 282, who is suffering from shock.
The show contains numerous reminders for viewers to "REMAIN INDOORS", echoed by on-screen messages and by the host. As most of civilisation had been destroyed by the Event, many of the questions asked either have lost answers, or have a "correct" answer that is completely wrong. Rounds have included trivia, identifying "pre-Event" people from photographs, the Film Round (where contestants must try to identify what happened next in a clip claimed to be the only surviving footage from before the Event), the Conveyor Belt Round (a parody of the bonus game of the BBC game show The Generation Game), and Sudden Death, during which Unknown Male 282 suddenly dies.
As of Series Four, Unknown Male 282's former place is wrapped in bubble wrap and biohazard tape; his spot was taken by a "professor", who was shot because he said he was "infected". In the penultimate sketch, the broadcast ended prematurely, after an unknown contestant turned out to be one of "them" (a zombie-like race of mutants), and proceeded to eat Sheila, followed by a swarm of "them" invading the studio. In the (presumably) final sketch of the quiz broadcast, it is revealed that all of "Them" died suddenly, leaving Peter and the host as the only survivors. The sketch ends on a sombre note as the host suggests that he and Peter "stand together", holding hands in silence as the transmission cuts out. The Quiz Broadcast may have been inspired by the real (albeit unused) Wartime Broadcasting Service, which would have broadcast for 100 days after a nuclear attack on the United Kingdom, or if conventional bombing destroyed regular facilities.
  • Friends Of...: a couple, played by Mitchell and Webb, discussing who to invite to their next party. The list usually comprises either historical figures or fictional characters, such as in one episode when they decide to ask Moneypenny along, but then worry that she may bring James Bond with her. The humour is derived from the way they sneer at the prospective guest's behaviour at previous parties; for instance, whilst deciding whether or not to invite the Scooby-Doo gang, they deride Shaggy Rogers' excessive eating habits and general cowardliness.
  • The British Broadcasting Corporation: an old-fashioned black-and-white broadcast, in which characters talk about the wonders of the new medium of television, and how it enables people to see them talking to each other, or if it works like a telephone, but as 4 of the 5 televisions were in use at the centre, they were not sure if they were hearing through television or an open door. Programmes shown include a short guest appearance of George VI, a host and a guest describing a vase, a talk show called 'The Mrs Patricia Wilberforce Programme' and two hosts giving an inaccurate explanation about how television works.
  • Barry Crisp: Crisp (Mitchell) runs a range of attractions which are all unsafe, including charging £2 to jump off a cliff, or offering the chance to swim with a great white shark but with the shark inside the cage along with the diver. His middle-class customer (Webb) assumes everything is "fine" because Barry has a sign, so it must be legitimate, and is seemingly oblivious to the obvious danger, always eventually agreeing to take part, much to Barry's surprise.
  • The Honeymoon's Over: Mitchell plays a rude, mean, condescending, and posh man who takes a variety of different jobs, in all of which he does his best to demean his customers (Webb and Colman) and make them feel uncomfortable and inferior. When Webb and Colman ask about the nice people they had seen in a previous visit, Mitchell replies "She/he's gone, sir. They've all gone, and we're back!" Jobs have included being a vicar, a waiter, and a tailor.
  • Get Me Hennimore!: a parody of 1970s sitcoms, each episode featuring Hennimore (Webb) being given an important task by his boss (Mitchell) which always ends in disaster due to Hennimore's often understandable confusion as the items and rooms he must not mix up actually look identical. For example, in one episode he is told that a group of Korean chefs in Room 1 should not come into contact with a group of dog lovers in Room I, but the room signs get mixed up. Another episode had Hennimore showing an antique golf caddy to an ex-alcoholic, but Hennimore accidentally showed him a drinks cabinet, which looked exactly like the golf caddy. This is often brought on by his boss who unintentionally makes things difficult, like printing identical signs for Murder In The Dark (MITD) and Nervous Incontinents Tasting Day (NITD) on a printing press that confused Ns with Ms. In the fourth series, all the sketches are Christmas themed as an in-joke – a Christmas edition of the series features Hennimore being placed in charge of "Go Home Day," which includes participants dressing as ghosts by donning white sheets, and accidentally crossing this event with a visit from men from the fictional African nation of Nigereria.
  • The Helivets: a sketch parodying TV shows following the Emergency Services,[7] the Helivets are a pair of heroes clad in pink jumpsuits who claim they can rescue any pet in peril. In every instance of this sketch, the featured animal(s) are already dead when the vets arrive and, whilst Robert Webb's character is reassuring the owner that their pet will soon be OK, David Mitchell's character just keeps repeating "it's dead".
  • Lazy Writers: in a parody of film and TV genres, two script writers, John Gibson (Webb) and Andrew Turner (Mitchell), can never be bothered to be original for their next project. Instead, they pick a genre, take its signature aspects, and put them together to create something that is clearly a cheap cash-in. This included writing an "underdog" sport film about cricket despite knowing nothing about the sport, a TV medical drama with no knowledge of medicine, and on the live show, a sci-fi series based on Star Trek called 'Space Trek and Wars'.
  • Colin and Ray: Webb and Mitchell are co-workers in the same office, who have different jobs which tend to involve extraordinary plots. Colin works as a hostage negotiator, while Ray writes the plots to pornographic films.
  • Food Advertisements: a series of parodies of some already heavily over-advertised foodstuffs (these aired in series 3). For example, a parody of Lucozade shows a runner drinking a bottle of 'Glucozade Port', the world's first alcoholic, isotonic drink or Cressps, which taste terrible despite the slogan Once you cressp you can't splessp whereas another advertises 'Mar-mitts' Marmite flavoured gloves that are 'completely unsuitable for human consumption' and finishes with Webb collapsing and Bachman announcing "I think he's dead!"
  • Arguing Couple: a couple who talk to their baby daughter in cutesy voices about the problems in their relationship, breaking off to snarl "Up yours!" at each other and make violent hand gestures. The couple and their daughter are played by Robert Webb and his real life wife and baby daughter.
  • Small Office: set in a workplace, where employees are called into the boss's office, the problem being it is tiny and therefore is extremely cramped. This often leads to awkward situations such as an instance where the boss (Mitchell) burps in his employee's face.
  • Didldidi: a series of adverts, promoting bargains at a fictional supermarket, Didldidi (a parody of Lidl and Aldi) which include 12 litres of value water and bacon octopus shapes covered with glitter. In one episode of series 4, it is shown that the Didldidi adverts take place before "The Event" as the remains of a wrapper is present as one of the prizes.
  • A Prayer and a Pint – A show hosted by Donny Cosy (Mitchell), where he and a guest talk about the ever-changing, usually non-Christian, set. The show was set in Tokyo, Tehran and the Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Cosy usually makes politically incorrect statements (such as referring to Japan as 'pixie land'). The show always ends with the usual request song 'All I want to do, all I want to do, all I want to do, is praise Him'. The hymn is sung by written request of the same couple, Phil and Meg McQueen, in every episode. In the final episode of the series, Cosy reveals that he had been misreading the autocue and that this couple live in Sussex and not, as he had previously thought, in "Bumsex".
  • Wacky History – A wacky historian (Webb) tries to make history exciting through absurd, often unrelated props.
  • Sensitive Freak-shows – A Lifetime-like look on unfortunate people with funny deformities. Its seemingly depressing, but it often states that the only reason the viewer is watching is to see the deformities. Hosted by Mitchell, The segment has included such stories like: "The Boy With an Arse for a Face," "The Man Who Had so Many Penises He Was Worth Making a Television Programme About," and "The Woman With the Second Head that Won't Stop Calling Her a Bitch."
  • Unexplained Gestures – Various directors dealing with actors who cannot stop themselves doing something such as saying "Now we know!" during sex, or waving their hands uncontrollably. This results in many takes with the gestures growing more prominent each time.
  • Arch-Villain PSA – Mitchell plays a villain who runs into the real-life problems with his dastardly plans.
  • Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit - Two super-heroes, one (Mitchell) can summon angels, the other (Webb) rides a BMX. The latter becomes increasingly upset by the fact that he is superfluous, as Angel Summoner invariably solves every problem they encounter by summoning his angels, usually after BMX bandit comes up with a complex BMX-based plan.

Production

The show follows on from the duo's earlier TV series The Mitchell and Webb Situation, and is an extension of their Radio 4 sketch show That Mitchell and Webb Sound. The show's producer Gareth Edwards commented that the show's pitch to the BBC "was the shortest pitch I've ever written", citing that the show "has worked on the radio, just like Little Britain worked on the radio and Dead Ringers worked on the radio, and they transferred successfully to TV, so why don't you [the BBC] transfer this one to TV as well?"[1]

A pilot for the show was filmed on 27 January 2006 at BBC Television Centre,[8] with a full series being later commissioned.[9] Preview nights for the show were held at The Drill Hall in London on 11 January and 20 March 2006, and at Ginglik in Shepherd's Bush in London on 14 and 21 May 2006. These took the form of a radio recording, with verbal prompting to the audience for any visual element that would be required. The series was shot on location in June 2006 and three audience recording sessions were held in Studio 4 at BBC Television Centre on 14, 21 and 28 July 2006.

Following the first series, the pair went on a tour of forty-four UK venues between October and December 2006, entitled The Two Faces of Mitchell and Webb, featuring many of the same sketches as That Mitchell and Webb Look.

A preview night for the second series was held on 18 May 2007 at The Drill Hall in London. This series was shot in high-definition[10] on location during June/July 2007 and three studio recordings with an audience were held at TC8 in Television Centre on 3 August, 10 August and 17 August 2007.

Two preview nights for series three were announced on 30 June 2008 on the BBC Tickets website; all tickets were booked in less than 24 hours. The first preview night took place on 13 July 2008 at The Drill Hall, with the second held there on 10 August 2008. Two audience recording sessions at Television Centre — with additional live sketches — were announced on 3 October 2008, and took place on 31 October and 7 November 2008, again in high-definition in studio TC8. A third recording session at the BBC Radio Theatre was announced on 10 October 2008, taking place on 18 November 2008.

A preview night for the fourth series was announced on 18 November 2009 on the BBC Tickets website; this was held on 26 November 2009 at The Drill Hall.

Reception

The show was nominated for two British Comedy Awards in 2006, in the categories of "Britain's Best New TV Comedy" and the "Highland Spring People's Choice"; it won neither of the awards.[11] However, the show did go on to receive a BAFTA in 2007, in the category "Best Comedy Programme or Series"[12] and been named "Best British TV Sketch Show 2006" in The Comedy.co.uk Awards[13] It was later nominated for another BAFTA in 2009, in the same category.

DVD release

The first series was released on DVD in the UK by Contender Home Video on 29 October 2007. Extras include Outtakes, Behind the Scenes footage and a Mitchell & Webb documentary.[citation needed]

The second series was released on DVD in the UK by Fremantle Media on 20 October 2008.[14]

The third series was released on DVD in the UK by 2|entertain on 20 July 2009, meaning that the first three series have been released on different video labels.[15]

The fourth series was released in the UK on 4 October 2010.[16]

Worldwide broadcast

Region Channel
United Kingdom United Kingdom BBC2 / BBC HD / Dave
 New Zealand UKTV
 Israel Yes stars Comedy
Australia Australia ABC1 / ABC2 / UKTV
 Arab League ShowComedy
Canada Canada bold / Netflix
 Sweden TV4 Komedi
 Norway NRK 3
 Singapore StarHub Cable Vision
 Finland Sub
 Denmark DR2
United States United States BBC America[17]
 Netherlands Nederland 3
 South Africa BBC Entertainment
 Argentina Film&Arts/i-Sat
 Colombia Film&Arts
 Iceland Stöð 2
 India BBC Entertainment

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Mitchell, Ben (27 August 2006). "Masters of comedy". The Observer. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,,1856420,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  2. ^ Ross, Deborah (2006-11-18). "Peep Show's David Mitchell and Robert Webb". The Independent. http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article1988496.ece. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  3. ^ "BBC Week 8 Unplaced 2008". BBC Press Office. Archived from the original on 5 February 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080205090519/http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/proginfo/tv/wk8/unplaced.shtml. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  4. ^ Saffron Walden Reporter (2009-06-03). "That Mitchell and Webb Look". The Saffron Walden Reporter. http://www.saffronwaldenreporter.co.uk/content/cambs24/entertainment/story.aspx?brand=Cambs24&category=--WhatsonReviewTV&tBrand=HertsCambsOnline&tCategory=entertainmentALL&itemid=WEED03%20Jun%202009%2009%3A24%3A50%3A833. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  5. ^ "BBC That Mitchell and Webb Look: Series 4 episodes". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t4sb2/episodes/upcoming. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  6. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/thatmitchellandwebbsite/characters/numberwang.shtml | BBC – Numberwang
  7. ^ "That Mitchell And Webb Look series two episodes". BBC Press Office. 2007-12-19. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2007/12_december/19/mitchell_webb_episode.shtml. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  8. ^ "Mitchell and Webb bring critically-acclaimed radio sketch show to BBC TWO". BBC. 2006-11-24. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2005/11_november/24/mw.shtml. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  9. ^ "That Mitchell & Webb Look Goes HD". BBC Resources. 2008-02-22. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2006/08_august/29/mitchell_webb.shtml. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  10. ^ "Mitchell and Webb bring critically-acclaimed radio sketch show to BBC TWO". BBC. 2006-11-24. http://www.bbcresources.com/about/archive/240809_mitchell.html. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  11. ^ "The Nominees 2006". British Comedy Awards. http://www.britishcomedyawards.com/nominations.html. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  12. ^ "Victoria Wood scoops Bafta double". BBC News. 2007-05-20. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6670797.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  13. ^ "The Comedy.co.uk Awards". British Comedy Guide. http://www.comedy.co.uk/awards/2006/. 
  14. ^ "That Mitchell and Webb Look: series two DVD review – Den of Geek". Denofgeek.net-genie.co.uk. 2008-10-16. http://denofgeek.net-genie.co.uk/Reviews/130417/that_mitchell_and_webb_look_series_two_dvd_review.html. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  15. ^ "That Mitchell and Webb Look: series three". http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001UHO4R2. 
  16. ^ "That Mitchell and Webb Look: series four". http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0040GVP5O. 
  17. ^ "BBC Comedy Hit Heads to U.S.". NPR. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18632820. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 

External links


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