Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan are to return with a new series of their cult comedy The Trip, it has been confirmed.
Warning: Video contains strong language
But the quaint guesthouses and gastropubs of northern England that provided the backdrop to the comedy duo’s competitive ruminations in the acclaimed first series are to replaced with the vineyards of rural Italy, as the pair take a new excursion on the Continent.
News of the forthcoming series ended months of speculation. Brydon had previously said he was “just back from a short trip with Mr Coogan...” posting an image of himself and Coogan in an airport.
But he confirmed to followers that filming would start “very soon” in Italy, taking in “many and varied locations”.
It marks a long-awaited return for the award-winning series that launched to great fanfare in 2010 before falling to below a million viewers by the end of its six-part run.
It has since however developed a cult status, earning two Baftas and recent critical acclaim in the US. The new series also marks something of a coup for the BBC which, alongside confirming the return of Michael Winterbottom, announced it had also signed Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer to return to BBC Two with their new sitcom House of Fools to air next year. The studio comedy, set in Bob’s grubby flat which he unwillingly shares with Vic, is seen as a contemporary rework of the 1990s sitcom Bottom.
Coogan has also broken his silence on the return of the series. “We are going to Italy,” he told Empire. “I went there three weeks ago to meet Rob and [director] Michael [Winterbottom] to go for dinner and talk about what we were going to do. What other characters were going to be in it. That’s a bit of research I suppose, but I’m going to have to do some reading.”
He added: “We’re supposed to be retracing the footsteps of the Romantics, of Shelley and Byron and Keats, and I don’t know enough about it. I’m damned if Rob’s going to come across as an authority on it.
“It’ll be a great motivation for me to read up on it so that when we improvise, I can drop some information on him. Sometimes you try to compete with each other in improvisation by using dirty tricks.”
Using the conceit of a newspaper restaurant assignment, The Trip saw Coogan and Brydon driving around the north of England eating, bickering, ruminating as two contrasting figures of middle age.
The idea was born out of A Cock and Bull Story, Winterbottom’s masterful “adaptation” of the Laurence Sterne novel Tristram Shandy, which also starred Coogan and Brydon.