The Mimic - In The Press
Main News Stories About 'The Mimic':
The final episode of the comedy. Martin's big break has arrived, after Steven scores his mimicry a spot on a TV show, but as the performance approaches, he loses his voice. A potentially clunky twist is made much less so by the acknowledgment that it's all probably psychosomatic, and then given an extra fillip with a joyous cameo from Ralph Brown as Neil's dad. The news of Dionne's illness is treated gently, too, avoiding the potential for mawkishness, while the whole thing appears to be left rather open for a second bout.
Ben Arnold, The Guardian, 10th April 2013
Finally, Martin's hit paydirt. Well, kind of. Steven has sorted him out with some work voicing Satnav commands - however, a day of intoning 'turn left at the roundabout' in the voice of Barack Obama leads to a gentle meltdown. Martin's array of voices aren't just impressions - there's something genuinely confused and schizophrenic about him and this gives The Mimic its heft. When Martin's wig-out goes viral, it's apparent that, while everyone else is excited, he's vaguely ashamed.
Elsewhere, Neil's artistic bent is revealed, Jean deals with an inevitable dumping and Dione's reasons for encouraging Steven to get to know his dad become clear - this last development will have to be handled carefully if the show isn't to descend into Coldplay montages, group hugs and emotional manipulation. Still, thanks to the nicely observed writing and excellent performances, The Mimic continues to sustain itself pretty well.
Phil Harrison, Time Out, 3rd April 2013
A downbeat sitcom that plays out like a low-key indie film: the talented Terry Mynott is the gloriously named Martin Hurdle, an extremely lowly site maintenance worker at a pharmaceuticals firm who has very few friends or prospects, and a talent for celebrity impressions that forms his mental escape route. He may also have a long-lost son. Mynott was in The Morgana Show and VIP, where he worked with The Mimic writer Matt Morgan - but where those shows were brash and crass, this is the opposite.
Jack Seale, The Radio Times, 23rd March 2013
The Mimic review
It didn't quite work and yet bizarrely, I'm sort of willing it on, partly for its bravery, partly because a couple of the minor characters seem to have some potential, but also because if it added some more comedy to the mix it has the potential to be a bit more than the current sum of its parts.
TV Jam, 20th March 2013
There's a lot that's very, very good about The Mimic, which stars the gifted impressionist Terry Mynott as lowly maintenance man Martin Hurdle.
It's the second episode tonight, but if you missed the first all you need to know is that Martin escapes his humdrum life by doing other people's voices - everyone from Alan Carr to Christopher Walken - and last week he discovered he has an 18-year-old son called Steven. Probably. We're still waiting for the results of the DNA test.
As a means of doing something more interesting with impressions than just going down the Dead Ringers route (or Very Important People, which was Mynott's last gig) this gets full marks for originality.
And the excellent supporting cast includes Ami Metcalf (last seen playing the young Kathy Burke in Walking And Talking) who plays colleague Chelsea, and Neil Maskell (fresh from playing Utopia's hit man) as a depressed newsagent whose foray into internet dating tonight is inspired.
But the mixture of occasionally crude humour and misty-eyed pathos is a tough one to pull off successfully. And that soundtrack is one dollop of syrup too far.
Jane Simon, The Mirror, 20th March 2013
Martin Hurdle continues to hide in plain sight in this week's second episode of the comedy drama, his vocal abilities employed to seduce a swimsuit model over the phone (as Christopher Walken), to socialise with strangers in a pub (as an Irishman) and to amuse his long-lost son (as Ian McKellen), whose mother he re-encounters tonight. Who the real Martin is, however, remains an engrossing mystery: unless his entire personality can be constructed from life's little disappointments, setbacks and missed opportunities.
The laughs come mostly from Terry Mynott's spot-on impressions or his deadbeat pal, Neil (Neil Maskell), who's considering dating someone he met online who has a chocolate lab, ('Some kind of Willy Wonka shit'). It's another beautifully judged blend of humour and pathos: one false step and it could be either dismal farce or Taxi Driver-esque alienation horror. No danger of either just yet, though: in Martin, Terry Mynott has created a tragicomic character it's impossible not to root for.
Gabriel Tate, Time Out, 20th March 2013
This unassuming comedy may be a bit scattered and light on laughs, but there's something there. The tone is even more bittersweet and wistful tonight, as hero Martin regrets his missed opportunities and takes refuge once again in his celebrity voices (Schwarzenegger holding a leaf blower works well).
"Life happens. Time goes past," muses his old flame Dionne, mother of the 18-year-old son that Martin never knew he had. We get the feeling she's harbouring another bombshell, too.
Meanwhile, in another part of the plot, there's Neil Maskell as Martin's newsagent friend. Maskell was last seen as a terrifyingly low-key hitman in Utopia. He's just as good here in a wildly different sort of role and you can't help wishing we saw more of him.
David Butcher, Radio Times, 20th March 2013
When I saw the premise for Channel 4's new comedy The Mimic, I was furious. It might banjax my long-nurtured plan to write a sitcom for Alistair McGowan, in which he plays a TV impressionist whose personal life is a disaster because of his inability to converse as himself. Scene one: Alistair resolutely embarks on his sixth marriage, but recites the vows in the voices of Peter Snow, Jim Bowen, and Orville. Later, the wedding night is ruined when Alistair does Dot Cotton in his new wife's ear.
Anyway, as it turns out The Mimic is sort of the opposite of that. Terry Mynott is the fabulously named Martin Hurdle, a gentle loser who has only one friend, a dowdy trouper called Jean (Jo Hartley), and no future prospects in his work maintaining the grounds of a faceless pharmaceutical firm. His secret, and his mental release valve, is that he's a brilliant impressionist.
The Mimic is by Russell Brand's old sidekick Matt Morgan, who worked with Mynott on The Morgana Show and VIP. Where they were crass and brash, this is slow, quiet and lovely. It has the vibe of an indie film, possibly one starring a big comedy name gambling their fame to prove they're human and can act.
Mynott has no fame to risk, yet there's still bravery in the way he makes Martin so uninhibitedly genuine and sad. In the first episode he was often filmed to accentuate his isolation. His little triumphs mostly weren't witnessed by anyone. He stopped doing his spot-on Alan Carr in the company car park when people walked into earshot, and his fantastic imagined conversation between Morgan Freeman and James Earl Jones faltered when Jean asked who he was talking to and told him to get some sleep.
[c]The Mimic[c/] is a bit more than a sitcom. You wonder not only whether it will still be funny next week and the week after, but also where it will go - what will happen to the hero. Is he a talented man waiting to be discovered or just a lonely man waiting to be loved?
Scenes where Martin met his previously unknown 18-year-old son, and where he took revenge on a bad HR manager by being him on the office tannoy, hinted that his achingly small world is about to expand. We'll be rooting for him to survive the change.
Jack Seale, The Radio Times, 17th March 2013
Partial though I'm not to the word "quirky", Channel 4's new midweek sitcom, The Mimic, made a special plea for it, perhaps along with "gentle" and also, at times, "funny". Here was Martin Hurdle (Terry Mynott), a man with a dull job amusing himself by doing impressions. Wogan and Ronnie Corbett have become too standardised to impress but you had to laugh at his Al Pacino and his James Earl Jones quibbling with Morgan Freeman. The show didn't entirely depend on mimicry and there was strong support from Jo Hartley as his live-in friend Jean and Neil Maskell (arch psychopath from Utopia) turned up as a compellingly neurotic newsagent.
The first episode found an anxious Martin meeting up with an old flame's 18-year-old son for a burger followed by a DNA test. "If I'm not your dad, we can still be friends," he said. It was droll but unexpectedly touching. When it came back positive, I almost had to stop eating my biscuit.
Phil Hogan, The Observer, 16th March 2013
TV commissioners take note. Impressions aren't funny. The actual act of sounding like someone else is an impressive skill, especially if you can do more than one, but by themselves, impressions are not in the remotest bit amusing. Jon Culshaw may do a canny Tom Baker, but the mere act of sounding like Tom Baker is about as humorous as getting stuck in a lift. With Jon Culshaw.
So it was refreshing to see Terry Mynott bringing something very different to the TV impressions table in his rather bleak new sitcom The Mimic.
Dour, slow and not the cheeriest of concepts, The Mimic doesn't scream hit. The tale of maintenance man Martin Hurdle, who muddles through life with only his uncanny ability as a mimic to perk himself up, isn't a gag-fest. It ekes out jokes and woos you in with pathos and the likeable Mynott.
It wasn't the most sure-footed debut, but purely for bravery and trying something different, I'm willing to come back next week. Mynott could knock out 27 minutes of Terry Wogan and Ronnie Corbett impressions, but he's tested new waters here and his exploration of the mundane, outsiders and the ordinary showed brief glimmers of potential.
And the fact that he didn't just wheel out a Tom Baker impression means that I'm willing to give those glimmers a chance.
Alex Fletcher, Digital Spy, 16th March 2013
The Mimic review
The Mimic is definitely a slow burner and, if I'm honest, my faith in Terry Mynott's capabilities made me persevere as, other than a few scenes referring to the protagonist's possible fatherhood, this debut episode seemed to lack a plot somewhat.
UK TV Reviewer, 14th March 2013
Review: The Mimic
The Mimic could become something of a surprise classic.
Written by Nick Norton. On the Box, 14th March 2013
TV Review: The Mimic (Channel 4)
Admittedly it's still early days, so I don't want to write-off The Mimic too soon. The brief trailer for episode 2 was funnier than this opening half-hour, and maybe the dramatic elements of the series will rapidly improve.
Written by Dan Owen. Dan's Media Digest, 14th March 2013
The idea behind The Mimic, starring the remarkable Terry Mynott, is that it accepts the truism as truth. This is a comedy about a man who can pose convincingly as Ronnie Corbett stuck in a postbox but has no life to call his own.
Martin Hurdle - even his name sounds like a personality flaw - works in maintenance at a pharmaceutical company. There is no hope of promotion from whitewashing graffiti off walls, so he disappears into a multi-coloured vocal hinterland where he can be any number of camp television presenters or, in the sharpest sequence, James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman engaging in a Socratic squabble over who has the better Afro-American larynx for narrating documentaries about penguins.
This ability has not brought Martin any more joy away from work. He lives with Jean (Jo Hartley), a female flatmate who is equally propping up the bar at midlife's last-chance saloon. For all the richness of Martin's interior life set against his humdrum routine, The Mimic could easily struggle to escape its binary parameters, but this first episode swiftly introduced a second outlandish scenario: Martin has discovered that he may have fathered a child 18 years earlier. It's all subject to a DNA test, but when they meet in a pub, the boy is soon crossing his fingers that they won't be related after all. This is a worry Martin articulates to himself through the conduit of Wedding Crashers. "If I didn't know who this guy was, and it turned out to be this guy," says Vince Vaughn, " I would be pretty disappointed." Or was it Owen Wilson?
It'll be worth finding out where The Mimic, already promisingly weird, goes from here. A lot rests on how series creator Matt Morgan marries two distinctly left-field scenarios - incurable impersonator discovers he's sired an adult. It certainly revinvents a branch of entertainment that has felt for a while like a busted flush.
Jasper Rees, The Arts Desk, 14th March 2013
New Channel 4 comedy The Mimic appears to have been built around the ability of its lead actor, Terry Mynott, to do impressions and there are moments when you wonder whether he provides a solid enough foundation. His Terry Wogan was very wobbly and his David Attenborough was a weird hybrid of Alan Bennett and Ian McKellen. Other impressions are so left-field they have to be visually signposted or cued up by a line of dialogue to make sure we get them.
But there was a promising little sequence as Martin (Mynott's character) sat slumped in front of his television and Morgan Freeman and James Earl Jones fought it out over who was best at adding gravitas to a natural-history programme. It's a comedy of underachievement essentially, complete with marimba noodling on the soundtrack to signal the underlying pathos, but it has some lovely downbeat moments and funny silences where some comedies might strive (unsuccessfully) for a big guffaw. Look out for Jo Hartley as Martin's friend Jean too. She's very good, so quietly you might miss it.
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 14th March 2013
The Mimic, Channel 4, review
The Mimic (Channel 4) is a new sitcom with Terry Mynott playing a dull man, Martin Hurdle, a lowly maintenance operative who is also a brilliant impressionist. Terry Mynott is good at both halves. His dullness is like Julian Barratt's in The Mighty Boosh: understated and unattractive. He smiles like the horse in Picasso's Guernica.
Written by Christopher Howse. The Daily Telegraph, 14th March 2013
The Mimic (Channel 4) is an odd little one. Impersonation on its own, as a form of comedy, has obviously had its day. But woven into a comedy drama series - about a bit of a nobody, who becomes somebody when he becomes somebody else, so to speak - hmm, that might kinda work.
I'm not laughing very much. And to be honest I don't always know who Terry Mynott's character is being when he's doing his impersonations (Morgan Freeman good, Ronnie Corbett less so). And the whole thing is really just a vehicle for his impressions. Nor do I really buy his loser image - he looks like someone who's charismatic and handsome trying to be less charismatic and handsome by doing something weird with his mouth.
But, in spite of all of the above, it's not entirely unlikable. In a funny kind of way. Worth another look, certainly.
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian, 14th March 2013
'The Mimic' TV Review
Most impressive was Terry Mynott's ability to be convincing as a man destined to travel in what his manager admitted was a professional 'cul-de-sac', even when Mynott's talents must surely lead him much further afield.
Written by Caroline Frost. Huffington Post, 13th March 2013
It's strange how little the art of the impressionist has evolved since the heyday of Mike Yarwood. But this new sitcom written by Matt Morgan achieves the unusual feat of placing this variety club act in a fresh context. Terry Mynott is Martin Hurdle, a quiet, unremarkable middle-aged man with a hidden talent.
Hurdle's a freakishly good impressionist, prone to slipping into Terry Wogan in traffic jams or getting his own back on his boss over the intercom at work. So far, so ho-hum. But where "The Mimic" feels both promising and unusual is that Martin's mimicry is, at this point, a dead end. Martin has a rubbish job. He has a charming but, as far as we can tell, unfulfilled relationship with [p[Jo Hartley's Jean. And he has an 18-year-old son whom he's taking the first tentative steps towards getting to know. In other words, The Mimic is brave enough to be gently melancholy rather than uproarious - Martin's gift feels more like a product of confused identity and low self-esteem than any desire to entertain.
It will be interesting to see whether this ventures into more conventional sitcom realms as it progresses - on the evidence of this opener, it could be a subtle, understated treat.
Phil Harrison, Time Out, 13th March 2013
For a sitcom, this is at the loose, gentle end of the spectrum. There aren't many out-and-out gags, it's filmed on location, there's no laughter track - if it were an hour long, you'd call it a comedy drama.
Our sort-of-hero is Martin (Terry Mynott), who has a dead-end job doing site maintenance for a drugs company (called, cheekily, CelPharm). When we meet Martin, he's in a traffic jam, amusing himself with a scabrous impression of Terry Wogan ("It's mornings like this, I wish I was back in Phuket bouncing a ladyboy on each knee...") and we soon gather that this is Martin's Walter Mitty-style escape.
He may be a man adrift, but his impression of Morgan Freeman arguing with James Earl Jones is uncanny (his Ronnie Corbett less so). What threatens to shake up Martin's world is learning he may have a son he has never met. That's if the DNA test pans out...
David Butcher, Radio Times, 13th March 2013
Impressionist Terry Mynott, last seen in Very Important People, stars as stuck-in-a-rut odd-jobs man Martin in this downbeat comedy drama. Whenever things look bleak, Martin's escape valve is to air his thoughts through other people's voices. From Terry Wogan to Morgan Freeman, anybody's voice is preferable to his own - until an old flame gives him pause for thought, claiming he's the father of her 18-year-old son. Can mimicry help him handle that one?
Carol Carter and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro, 13th March 2013
There's a reason there aren't too many sitcoms about impressionists, and The Mimic - at least this first slightly underwhelming episode - shows why. Very Important People's Terry Mynott plays a deadbeat maintenance man with a paternity test coming up. He also has a gift for mimicry. As a result, plot becomes a bit secondary while we wait for the next impression (everyone from Wogan to Walken) to be crowbarred into the narrative at the slightest excuse. The good news is, it gets better and funnier over the course of the series.
Ali Catterall, The Guardian, 13th March 2013
The problem for impressionists, once you're past the original impact of their mimicry, is how to sustain the entertainment value. This five-part series takes the approach of fitting funny voices into a bittersweet comedy drama. Terry Mynott plays mild-mannered Martin Hurdle: a loyalty card-collecting maintenance man who happens to have a gift for aping the voices of celebrities and colleagues alike. It's clumsy at times, with impressions crowbarred into the script, but likeable enough with a certain gentle charm.
Michael Hogan, The Daily Telegraph, 12th March 2013
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