British Comedy Guide

The Impressions Show With Culshaw & Stephenson. Image shows from L to R: Debra Stephenson, Jon Culshaw. Copyright: BBC.

The Impressions Show With Culshaw & Stephenson

BBC One sketch show. 20 episodes (3 series), 2009 - 2011. Stars Jon Culshaw, Debra Stephenson, Jess Robinson, Simon Greenall, Thomas Nelstrop, Michael Bertenshaw, Jiggy Bhore and others.

Press Clippings

Audio: Jon Culshaw's favourite impressions

Jon Culshaw gave BBC Radio 5 Live's Richard Bacon a snapshot of some of his favourite impressions.

Highlights included George W. Bush, Fabio Capello and Alan Carr.

Mr Culshaw will be presenting The Sky at Night's 55th anniversary as well as hosting Hyde Park's Jubilee Family Festival in June.

Richard Bacon, BBC News, 29th March 2012

Tonight's episode is a highlights reel from the just-seen third series, giving us another chance to be wowed by Debra Stephenson's uncanny impersonations of Davina McCall and Claudia Winkleman, though, sadly, there's no repeat of her spot-on Kirstie Allsopp. Culshaw does well to bring alive a fairly nondescript character such as Phillip Schofield, as well as bigger personalities such as Elton John and Len Goodman. Although this is meant to be the best of, few of the sketches really tickle the funny bone. Talents like Stephenson and Culshaw deserve better lines.

Vicki Power, The Telegraph, 6th December 2011

I'm afraid Debra Stephenson's impersonation of The X Factor's Tulisa shows few signs of improvement (which is why Jon Culshaw's Louis Walsh has to keep addressing her by name).

To be fair, though, Debra's Claudia Winkleman (in her role as host of Film 2011) is still hilarious. Tonight we get Claudia's attempt at reviewing the new Tintin movie.

Mike Ward, Daily Star, 9th November 2011

It's rare to find impressionists whose material matches their talent but for most of this enjoyable half-hour programme Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson have pulled it off. Both find moments to shine. Culshaw nails fashion consultant Gok Wan's slangy lingo and makes a suitably narcissistic Elton John. Stephenson shows us what it would be like to be stuck in a forest with Kirstie Allsopp and excels with her uncanny take on a breathless squinty-eyed Claudia Winkleman.

Toby Dantzic, The Telegraph, 8th November 2011

What happened to impressionists? There was a time when it was the blue-chip form of light entertainment, and no weekend or Christmas was complete without a special. But the steam seems to have gone out of it a little these days. The Impressions Show has its moments (Debra Stephenson gets that mad vamp off Dragons' Den to a T and Jon Culshaw nails Paul McCartney and Prince Charles). But all too often if you close your eyes you wouldn't have a clue who was being lampooned. It gives an impression of being entertaining, but not always a convincing one.

Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 3rd November 2011

Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson offer up another 30 minutes of pretending to be other people. When the show hits home, as in a MasterChef skit where John Torode and Gregg Wallace reckon the contestants are "like cows at an abattoir", there's much fun to be had. Paul McCartney reforming the Fab Four with "all of the surviving Beatles except Ringo" and the Gok Wan wok gun also hit the mark. At other times, though, don't be surprised if your attention drifts: the show is consistently inventive without necessarily being consistently funny.

Jonathan Wright, The Guardian, 2nd November 2011

The Impressions Show saw Debra Stephenson miss two open goals with Hilary Devey and Tulisa. But with her physique, her Mary Portas, Claudia Winkleman and Fiona Bruce were exactly like the real thing - only foxier.

Jon Culshaw on the other hand was such a car crash his impersonations were more fascinating. His 'Bruce Forsyth' was bang on - if it had been Alex Ferguson, while his 'John Bishop', was the spit of Laurence Llewelyn Bowen. Final score? Debra Stephenson 5 - Jon Culshaw 0.

Jim Shelley, The Mirror, 31st October 2011

Impressions Show leaves big impression on viewers

As the new series of The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson aired on BBC1 tonight, viewers took to Twitter to express their glee at the skillful imitations.

Rachel Tarley, Metro, 27th October 2011

Don't expect any Eamonn Holmes jokes in this series.

Last year the BBC had to issue a formal apology after sketches showed him eating the studio furniture and he took the view that imitation wasn't the sincerest form of flattery at all.

But Eamonn would be old news anyway, in impression terms. The key here is topicality, and Hilary Devey and Tulisa are just two of the new faces as Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson return for a third series.

The pair are superb mimics and it's a pleasant half-hour ticking off all the celebs you recognise.

Culshaw completely nails the way former MP Ann Widdecombe's voice keeps wandering off into that strange falsetto and Stephenson's Alex Jones is spot on.

It's just a pity the writers aren't keeping up their end of the bargain by giving them funnier material to get their teeth into.

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 26th October 2011

Jon Culshaw might not be the best mimic to have graced the small screen, but he still knows how to serve up an enjoyable half hour of comedy as his Impressions Show returns for a new series. The real star here though is Culshaw's altogether more impressive co-star Debra Stephenson, whose take on Claudia Winkleman is worth tuning in for alone.

The Telegraph, 25th October 2011

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