Press Clippings

Here is a collection of the latest previews, reviews and articles related to British comedy which have been published by newspapers and blogs from around the world. Don't forget to look at our news section for the significant stories - these won't be repeated here.

Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This

Your opinion of Tommy Cooper may not change but you will have a greater understanding of what life may have been like for him.

Written by Elliot Gonzalez. I Talk Telly, 18th April 2014

The Love Punch

Discover the beautiful filming locations of Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan's new rom-com.

The Radio Times, 18th April 2014

The Trip

The comic riffs and bickering are lower-key this week. We start with Rob Brydon waking up in bed next to the blonde girl from the last episode, the one on the yacht, and we gather from the expletives he's not best pleased with himself. Perhaps that helps things take a mournful turn, as he and travelling companion Steve Coogan reflect on Shelley's funeral pyre and death generally.

In one of his extended flights of fancy, Rob imagines Steve on his deathbed, so incapacitated he can't even grope his attractive nurse. As if to retaliate (and there's a lot of that) Steve later reflects on his "semi-justified reputation for being something of a lothario".

But over and above the nicely observed riffs on ageing and celebrity there are, of course, the impressions: this week Steve reads the guide book as first James Mason and then, brilliantly, Neil Kinnock. Plus, "Roger Moore sings the very best of Alanis Morissette".

David Butcher, Radio Times, 18th April 2014

The Love Punch

Romantic advice and stories of young love from the stars of the latest British romcom.

Written by Claire Webb. The Radio Times, 18th April 2014

The Love Punch

Thompson and Brosnan are an attractive pairing and they bring a veneer of class to proceedings, which is otherwise lacking in the writing and direction.

Aberdeen Evening Express, 18th April 2014

The Love Punch

The Love Punch is a kind of grey-pound comedy, which is a little insulting for stars Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson, neither of whom are old enough to sign up for a TV funeral payment scam and free Parker pen. If only we could say the same about the prehistoric one-liners.

Tara Brady, The Irish Times, 18th April 2014

The Love Punch

If real on-screen charm was enough to make an entertaining crime caper then there's no doubt that Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson have it in spades.

Attractive French locations add a pleasant background for an undernourished script that finds Brosnan and his ex-wife Thompson joining forces to steal a precious diamond from the businessman crook who has left them flat broke.

Brosnan and Thompson, and Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie as their happy go-lucky-accomplices all give writer-director John Hopkins much more than he deserves but in the end they, and the audience, are let down.

Alan Frank, The Daily Star, 18th April 2014

The Love Punch

At no stage did I believe for a second in these characters or their story, and since that can't be the fault of four such beloved actors, the culprit can only be the writer-director, Joel Hopkins.

Written by Brian Viner. The Daily Mail, 18th April 2014

The Love Punch

Even if you really love Emma Thompson or Pierce Brosnan, and who doesn't, you will be hard pressed to squeeze much fun from The Love Punch, a witless, idiotic comedy that makes you cringe.

Written by Allan Hunter. The Daily Express, 18th April 2014

Damn The Torpedoes!

There is a long tradition of stand-ups going to bases to entertain the troops, but this is the first time they have attempted to do it over the airwaves. So far a sketch about tensions between US and UK troops has proved a favourite with listeners.

Written by Alice Jones. The Independent, 18th April 2014

The Love Punch

The cast might well have done it just for the sake of a holiday on the French riviera, but at least this cheerfully daft adventure canters along amiably.

Written by Peter Bradshaw. The Guardian, 17th April 2014

The king of bawdy British humour was an enigma whose global success was driven by a lifetime of confusion and loneliness. Chased off screen by prudish conservatives and PC prigs, he remains a pariah to some but a genius to others.

Written by Roger Lewis. GQ Magazine, 17th April 2014

W1A

W1A continued to do what it had done before, but it was still very funny. As the amiably bumbling intern Will, Hugh Skinner mastered the art of putting his verbal tics together into complete arias. "Cool, yeah, no worries, yeah, cool." Then the reality of his own personality suddenly became clear to him. "Sometimes I'm completely useless." But he was never aware for long of his own limitless potential for chaos.

In Will's continuing struggle to match the envelopes with the invitations, the invitation for David Cameron turned out to be in the envelope addressed to the Prince of Wales. Then the envelope addressed to David Cameron turned out to contain an invitation to Joan Bakewell. I hope I got that right. Will, of course, had no such hopes until too late. The show was a hoot like the voice of Siobhan Sharpe, but let's not forget that the Beeb is really like that.

Clive James, The Telegraph, 17th April 2014

The Trip

In The Trip to Italy, Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan took their competitive impersonation skills to a new level when one of them impersonated Saddam Hussein impersonating Frank Spencer, and the other impersonated Roger Moore impersonating Tony Blair.

I lost track of who was which, but it was virtuoso stuff. Meanwhile they were eating the greatest of Italian food while surrounded with British upmarket honey-blonde chalet girls.

More mature by the episode, Steve retired to bed alone for a nap. Rob pulled one of the girls but might have dished his chances by showing her a picture of his daughter. By now the chaps are so well established in their characters that they can do uncharacteristic things. I have seldom seen a British comedy series quite so inventive.

Clive James, The Telegraph, 17th April 2014

The Love Punch

One can make a strong case against The Love Punch (and I think I just did) while still warming to it. For all its imperfections, it's likable, generous-hearted and uncomplicated good fun. I can't imagine anyone under the age of 50 caring for it much; but for those old enough to remember post-war British comedy when it was mostly cheerful and spirited, without a touch of cleverness or irony in sight, this is a bit of a surprise treat.

Written by David Gritten. Saga Health News, 17th April 2014

The Love Punch

The Love Punch is not great art and the outcome is achingly predictable, but the on-screen chemistry of Brosnan and Emma Thompson fizzes and there are some hearty laughs amidst the nonsense.

Written by Damon Smith. The Nottingham Post, 17th April 2014

The Love Punch

Bringing new meaning to the word 'light comedy', The Love Punch is a film where you know what happens before you decide to see it. There's bickering, sharp remarks between the separated pair, and various reaction shots when a 'funny' moment happens. Yes, the cast have enough charm to prevent you from tearing your hair out, but with so little to surprise you the film will do little more than provide wish-fulfilment for cinemagoers of a certain age.

Written by James Luxford. Entertainment Wise, 17th April 2014

The Love Punch

A cast of national institutions gamely play the fool but the result isn't that fun, says Tim Robey.

Written by Tim Robey. The Daily Telegraph, 17th April 2014

The Love Punch

"What do we have to lose? one character asks in this good-natured but feeble heist comedy. "Our dignity," is the answer. The Love Punch plays like a corny 1970s sitcom and trades shamelessly in clichés about the French.

Written by Geoffrey MacNab. The Independent, 17th April 2014

Trying Again

The "busybody know-it-all" star of The Thick of It tells Jack Seale about Trying Again, his radically different new comedy for Sky Living.

Written by Jack Seale. The Radio Times, 17th April 2014

Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This

A few years ago I wrote a book about the history of comedians, homing in on the "sad clown" phenomenon and wondering why so many comedy greats from Grimaldi to Hancock and beyond seemed to be troubled souls offstage. At the time I thought the idea was quite original. But the TV world was obviously thinking on the same lines.

Written by Bruce Dessau. Beyond the Joke, 17th April 2014

The Bugle, hosted by shock-headed stand-up Andy Zaltzman and transatlantic success story John Oliver, which calls itself "an audio newspaper for a visual world", receives around half a million downloads a month.

Written by Fiona Sturges. The Independent, 17th April 2014

The Office

Martin Freeman says he's glad he's not doing The Office anymore, because he thinks more series would have ruined it for fans.

Written by Emma Daly. The Radio Times, 17th April 2014

The Guess List

Rob Brydon's legendary geniality is exploited as the host of BBC1's new Saturday-evening game show The Guess List, in which a panel of celebrities help two contestants to answer a wide variety of wacky questions. Sound familiar? It is so obviously a rehash of Blankety Blank, it is a mystery why they didn't just call it that and be done with it.

The celebrities, it has to be said, are top-notch. That is to say, I had heard of all of them. But having recruited guests of such high calibre as Jennifer Saunders, Simon Callow and James Corden, the show gave them practically nothing to do, while the host hardly let them get a word in. Brydon was manic to the point of hyperactive from the off, and never eased up for a second. It was as though he felt a single-handed responsibility to keep the programme going - yet the more frantic his efforts, the more uncomfortable the viewing experience.

Harry Venning, The Stage, 17th April 2014

The Trip

The second series of The Trip sends Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan around Italy in the footsteps of Byron and Shelley - albeit travelling by open-top Mini Cooper and luxury sailing ship crewed by shapely, twentysomething posh girls - for more semi-improvised adventures as would-be food critics.

Once I had wiped away the mist of envy from my eyes and choked back the bile of resentment that invariably rises whenever I see the licence fee used to send celebrities to exotic locations, I rather enjoyed The Trip to Italy. The concept is inherently self-indulgent, but the two stars are undeniably good company, and there is something pleasantly relaxing about the gentle pace at which it plays out.

There are moments of high comedy, as the pair play versions of themselves as incorrigible impressionist show-offs - if you ever wanted to know what Roger Moore playing Tony Blair interrogating Saddam Hussein as Frank Spencer would sound like, this is the show for you. But there are also beautifully observed exchanges from two performers far too skilled at improvisation ever to push too hard for a laugh. As a result, their onscreen comic chemistry comes over as spontaneous, authentic and rather touching.

Ostensibly writing a food column for the Observer, Brydon and Coogan travel, banter, bicker, dine, drink and trade impersonations on an endless, unhurried loop. The format hasn't changed at all from the first series, but the weather certainly has, and so has the menu. Italy, and its food, looks glorious. If, at any point, you should tire of Messrs Brydon and Coogan's babblings, you can always try watching the programme with the sound off.

Harry Venning, The Stage, 17th April 2014

GQ talks to the iconoclasts who challenged the British establishment and ended up global comedy royalty. John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle discuss the glory years, blazing rows, groupies and the Knights Who Say Ni... Say no more!

Written by John Naughton. GQ Magazine, 16th April 2014

Warren United

Warren United is funny, brave and very engaging. An element of Family Guy mixed in with football - this cartoon is sure to be a hit.

Gunners in Arms, 16th April 2014

The Love Punch

Unlike Susanne Bier's vastly superior Love Is All You Need - also starring Brosnan - this is one last tango neither earned nor warranted.

Written by Daniel Green. CineVue, 16th April 2014

The Love Punch

Despite the sniffy critical reaction that presumably awaits The Love Punch, audiences may nevertheless respond when the pic goes out in Blighty over Easter weekend.

The Boston Herald, 16th April 2014

The Love Punch

The Love Punch is a British farce starring Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson, Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall, four cheerful Garden of England pensioners (Emma? You're only 55!) stealing a diamond necklace in the south of France in order to haul themselves out of impending penury. With its extreme mugging, it will feel either insultingly ridiculous or a simple amusement depending on how drunk you are.

Cinema can be perfunctory on the theme of love at the best of times, but Brosnan and Thompson play out their romance as though it were a game of charades. If they were wearing feather boas they would be winking over them until their eyelids dislocated, having the time of their lives in a champagne-and-trifle dreamworld while we loll, longing for literally anything else. A movie about Stalin? The Foreign Legion? Donald Duck?

Antonia Quirke, The Financial Times, 16th April 2014

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