“The streak of melancholy was always what pushed The Trip beyond its frippery, so I guess this was the ending it deserved all along”


“Here Steve Coogan is being existential and after four series arrived at its terminus in particularly downbeat style. I found myself forlornly recalling the show’s funny side — of sunny alfresco cuisine and Michael Caine impersonations. Yet it was also beautifully done. The streak of melancholy was always what pushed The Trip beyond its frippery, so I guess this was the ending it deserved all along.”
James Jackson, The Times

“Yet, through the repartee and self-indulgent breaks for meals, that opening scene had left a depth-charge of approaching nemesis. It arrived in the trilling of Coogan’s mobile, announcing a death in the family. It seems impossible that The Trip’s mix of farce, vanity and sad sincerity should hang together, but once again director Michael Winterbottom had pulled a nugget of gold out of the fire.”
Adam Sweeting, The i

PEN15, Sky Comedy

“On paper PEN15 has a gimmick, which is that the two 31-year-old writers and creators of the 10-part comedy series play their 13-year-old selves trying to navigate middle school, amid a cast of actual teenage actors. So rapidly, however, are they subsumed into their parts. I couldn’t bingewatch it, but in half-hour, single-episode chunks it works as both comedy and, if you mentally prepare beforehand, catharsis.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

Kidding, Sky Comedy

“Jim Carrey — who in recent years seems to have lost all interest in gurning comedy and become more of an existential space cadet — is back as the depressed creative genius Jeff Pickles, a famous TV puppeteer on the brink of a breakdown as he grieves a dead son and longs for his ex-wife. Quirky bleakness is never an easy line for a comedy to walk. The series at least has the decency to keep its episodes short — any more than half an hour of such navel-gazing and the show would get lost down there.”
James Jackson, The Times

“Just like the first series, the vast majority of viewers will know the answer, draining this true-life drama of some of its jeopardy. Yet it’s still grimly fascinating to watch this up-close portrait of passion, grit and aspiration. This is less fan-centric and more boardroom-based than the debut series but what ultimately emerges once more is a poignant tale in which the unwaveringly loyal locals become the protagonists.”
Michael Hogan, The Telegraph