Meet soporific late-night DJ Adrian Locket; Peter and Ted,
commentators who reveal the murky underside of snooker; and
crime fighter Angel Summoner and his redundant sidekick, the
BMX Bandit. In addition, there's Numberwang!, the incomprehensible
maths quiz, plus thrilling coverage of people buying houses
and then living in them. And, for some reason, a milk helpline...
radio sketch show is quite possibly the best thing that David
Mitchell and Robert Webb have done to date. Though the Channel
4 sitcom Peep Show comes in a close second, its third
series was a disappointingly uneven affair.
so the second series of That Mitchell and Webb Sound,
which gets off to a cracking start with a practically flawless
opening episode. The remaining five instalments don't quite
match the first one, but the next laugh-out-loud moment is
never far away. My personal favourites include the fox (Mitchell)
and the badger (Webb), the irate man (Mitchell) who calls
a milk helpline, the Nazis (Mitchell and Webb) who realise
that they are the bad guys (after all, they do have skulls
on their uniforms), the campaign to save the mad bears, and
a newly single man (Webb) who's so helpless that he can't
even hang a painting.
with UK play's The
Mitchell and Webb Situation, many of the sketches
are one-offs, though some, such as Mad Bears, Angel Summoner
and the BMX Bandit, and Daytime Coverage of Things, are reprised
during the course of a particular episode. Very few characters
or situations are carried across the entire series, apart
from the snooker commentators (Mitchell and Webb), who exhibit
a different obsession every week and who, notably, do become
a little tiresome by the end.
the exception of their snooker commentator characters, the
performers tend not to go in for impersonations or anything
much in the way of vocal diversification, instead sticking
to their own recognisable voice patterns and personality traits,
applying them to characters as diverse as anthropomorphised
wild animals and the Devil.
personality traits are anger, phoney coolness and sadness.
As in Peep Show, David Mitchell all but corners the
market in being irate, usually with a generous side order
of snobbery. However, Webb also gets in on the act with his
Raymond Terrific, overwrought presenter of Big Talk,
while both comedians are equally embittered in the sketch
Unity of Purpose, as two people who don't see why mobile phones
should have cameras in them, microwave ovens should have clocks
on them, or cars should have heaters.
Webb's characters tend to be laidback, or at least they pretend
to be laidback, though Mitchell also has a go with his depressing
late-night DJ Adrian Locket (shades of Alan Partridge here).
brings us to sadness, which both performers do equally well,
whether in the guise of Webb's Solo Man or shopper tormented
by a caricaturist (Mitchell), or Mitchell's man with a pathological
aversion to other people's kids.
fans should particularly enjoy the sketch Lazy Writers - Space,
which depicts a space opera by numbers featuring such edifying
lines as: "Put on the special motorcycle helmets for breathing
with. We're humans - we breathe air, not space!"
With preparations currently under way for That Mitchell
and Webb Look, a television version of That Mitchell
and Webb Sound, it sounds like the perfect time to get
hold of this brilliant triple-CD set.