That Mitchell and Webb Look

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That Mitchell and Webb Look
That Mitchell and Webb Look title card.jpg
An image from the show's opening sequence
Also known as Mitchell & Webb
Genre Sketch comedy
Written by David Mitchell,
Robert Webb,
James Bachman,
Mark Evans,
Jesse Armstrong,
Sam Bain,
John Finnemore,
Chris Reddy,
Toby Davies,
Abigail Burdess,
Jonathan Dryden-Taylor[1]
Directed by
  • David Kerr (series 1 and 2)
  • Ben Gosling Fuller (series 3 and 4)
Starring
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 24
Production
Executive producer(s) Kenton Allen
Jon Plowman
Producer(s) Gareth Edwards
Running time 30 minutes
Release
Original channel BBC Two
BBC HD (2008–2010)
Original release 14 September 2006 (2006-09-14) – 17 August 2010 (2010-08-17)
External links
Production website

That Mitchell and Webb Look is a British television sketch show starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb. Shown on BBC Two since 2006, its first two series were directed by David Kerr, who also directed Mitchell and Webb's previous television sketch show The Mitchell and Webb Situation, whereas series 3 and 4 are directed by Ben Gosling Fuller. As well as Mitchell and Webb themselves, the writers include Jesse Armstrong, James Bachman, Sam Bain, Mark Evans, Olivia Colman, Toby Davies, Chris Pell, Jonathan Dryden Taylor, Joel Morris, Jason Hazeley, Simon Kane, John Finnemore and others. It is produced by Gareth Edwards. Colman, Bachman, and Evans were also members of the cast alongside Abigail Burdess, Gus Brown, Sarah Hadland and Paterson Joseph.

Many of its characters and sketches were first featured in the duo's radio show That Mitchell and Webb Sound. First aired on 14 September 2006,[2] a second series was commissioned later that same year[3] and shown between 21 February 2008 and 27 March 2008.[4] The third series began on 11 June 2009.[5] Since series two, the production has also been broadcast on BBC HD. The first series won a BAFTA award in 2007. The third series started airing on BBC America on 14 April 2010. The fourth series premiered on BBC Two and BBC HD on 13 July 2010 with a total of 6 episodes commissioned by the BBC.[6] In a November 2011 interview, Webb stated that there are "no plans, sadly, for another series of sketches", continuing to say that "you'd have to ask the BBC" about further series.[7]

Recurring sketches[edit]

That Mitchell and Webb Look includes many recurring sketches, or sketches with recurring themes, including:

  • Numberwang: A game show hosted by Robert Webb, where two contestants, Simon and Julie (Paterson Joseph and Olivia Colman) shout out numbers until "Numberwang" is declared by the host. Props such as trampolines are used in some rounds. The final round is titled "Wangernumb", where the contestant's podia are rotated in a full revolution, briefly revealing a non sequitur on the other side of the wall. One contestant (nearly always Simon) is declared the day's champion, while the losing contestant suffers varying consequences such as being stuffed into a cardboard box or arrested by the police.[8]
Other sketches feature media based around the Numberwang franchise, such as Wordwang, an advertisement for a Numberwang board game or documentary of the show's history.[8]
  • Ted and Peter: a pair of alcoholic, chain-smoking snooker commentators. Ted Wilkes is played by David Mitchell and Peter DeCoursey by Robert Webb. They tell insensitive stories about the players, bringing up things such as one player's attempts at suicide, rather than focusing on the game (other than Ted's occasional comment of "That's a bad miss!"). They also drink heavily, handing each other pitchers of beer or drinking shot after shot throughout the sketch.
  • Mitchell and Webb: a supposedly "behind-the-scenes" look at how the show is produced, starring Mitchell and Webb as themselves. Although ostensibly involved in the production of the programme, the pair are frequently drawn into furious arguments with one another.
  • The Surprising Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar: a drunken, drug-addled psychotic tramp played by Robert Webb, who seems to be under the delusion that he is a brilliant and intrepid secret agent or adventurer. He and his companion Ginger, played by David Mitchell commit various crimes whilst supposedly engaging in battle against the henchmen of their so-called "nemesis". SnorriCam is used in parts of the sketches. The sketches usually include Sir Digby Chicken Caesar singing along, off-key and off-rhythm, to the tune of "Devil's Galop" from the BBC radio series Dick Barton, composed by Charles Williams, often mid-escape from a potentially contentious situation.[9]
  • Big Talk: a debate show hosted by the confrontational Raymond Terrific (Robert Webb), who loudly bullies his panel of so-called "boffins" into giving yes or no answers to huge social and philosophical questions (e.g. "is there a god?").
  • The Quiz Broadcast: a post-apocalyptic television quiz show hosted by Mitchell and transmitted by the British Emergency Broadcasting System. Participants on the show are the survivors "trying to enjoy themselves" whilst avoiding any traumatic memories of the Event; Peter, a blind character played by Webb, Sheila and Unknown Male 282. The phrase "Remain indoors" is often repeated by the host or displayed on-screen at random points throughout the programme.
  • Friends Of...: two housemates, played by Mitchell and Webb, discussing whom to invite to their next party — usually fictional characters or historical figures.
  • The British Broadcasting Corporation: an old-fashioned black-and-white broadcast, set at a time when television is a very recent invention.
  • Barry Crisp: Crisp (Mitchell) runs a range of unsafe attractions, such as charging £2 to jump off a cliff. His customer (Webb) is oblivious to the obvious danger of these stunts and agrees to pay to take part in them, to Crisp's surprise.
  • The Honeymoon's Over: Mitchell plays a rude, mean, condescending, posh man who has replaced a staff member in various jobs (such as waiter or vicar). He angrily demeans his customers (Webb and Colman), trying to make them feel uncomfortable.
  • Get Me Hennimore!: a parody of 1970s sitcoms, each episode featuring the nervous Hennimore (Webb) being given two important tasks by his boss (Mitchell), which are easy to confuse: for instance, they may be based around two organisations with identical initials. The sketches always end with Hennimore mixing the tasks up and the boss shouting "Hennimore!" angrily.
  • The Helivets: a sketch parodying TV shows following the Emergency Services,[10] the Helivets claim they can rescue any pet in peril; however, the pets are all dead by the time they arrive.
  • Lazy Writers: two script writers, John Gibson (Webb) and Andrew Turner (Mitchell) give an interview for their latest programme, which they did not bother to research. Short clips from the show — for instance, a hospital drama or court scene — are shown after the interview.
  • Arguing Couple: a couple who talk to their baby daughter in cutesy voices about the problems in their relationship, breaking off to snarl "Up yours!" at each other and make violent hand gestures. The couple and their daughter are played by Robert Webb and his real life wife and baby daughter.
  • Small Office: Mitchell plays a boss who has conversations with his employees in his tiny office, which makes it difficult to discuss the matter in hand.
  • Didldidi: a series of adverts promoting discounted but obviously disgusting or low-quality products being sold at the supermarket chain Didldidi.
  • A Prayer and a Pint: a show hosted by Donny Cosy (Mitchell), set in various locations and featuring Cosy giving a short description of the place he is in, followed by him drinking a pint and singing a hymn.
  • Wacky History: a wacky historian (Webb) tries to make history exciting through absurd, often unrelated props.
  • Sensitive Freak-shows: adverts for various documentaries, which show people with ridiculous deformities. The narrator repeatedly comments that the documentary seems sad, but viewers only watch to laugh at the people with the absurd problems.
  • Unexplained Gestures: a director struggles to film an actor who repeats odd gestures or out-of-context phrases without being aware of it.
  • Top Secret Government Conspiracies: a series of sketches where three government agents discuss plans to carry out popular conspiracy theories —the Death of Princess Diana, the fake moon landings and the suppression of alien contact — while inadvertantly pointing out the flaws in such plans.

Production[edit]

The show follows on from the duo's earlier TV series The Mitchell and Webb Situation, and is an extension of their Radio 4 sketch show That Mitchell and Webb Sound. The show's producer Gareth Edwards commented that the show's pitch to the BBC "was the shortest pitch I've ever written", citing that the show "has worked on the radio, just like Little Britain worked on the radio and Dead Ringers worked on the radio, and they transferred successfully to TV, so why don't you [the BBC] transfer this one to TV as well?"[2]

A pilot for the show was filmed on 27 January 2006 at BBC Television Centre,[11] with a full series being later commissioned.[12] Preview nights for the show were held at The Drill Hall in London on 11 January and 20 March 2006, and at Ginglik in Shepherd's Bush in London on 14 and 21 May 2006. These took the form of a radio recording, with verbal prompting to the audience for any visual element that would be required. The series was shot on location in June 2006 and three audience recording sessions were held in Studio 4 at BBC Television Centre on 14, 21 and 28 July 2006.

Following the first series, the pair went on a tour of forty-four UK venues between October and December 2006, entitled The Two Faces of Mitchell and Webb, featuring many of the same sketches as That Mitchell and Webb Look.

A preview night for the second series was held on 18 May 2007 at The Drill Hall in London. This series was shot in high-definition[13] on location during June/July 2007 and three studio recordings with an audience were held at TC8 in Television Centre on 3, 10 and 17 August 2007.

Two preview nights for series three were announced on 30 June 2008 on the BBC Tickets website; all tickets were booked in less than 24 hours. The first preview night took place on 13 July 2008 at The Drill Hall, with the second held there on 10 August 2008. Two audience recording sessions at Television Centre — with additional live sketches — were announced on 3 October 2008, and took place on 31 October and 7 November 2008, again in high-definition in studio TC8. A third recording session at the BBC Radio Theatre was announced on 10 October 2008, taking place on 18 November 2008.

A preview night for the fourth series was announced on 18 November 2009 on the BBC Tickets website; this was held on 26 November 2009 at The Drill Hall.

Reception[edit]

The show was nominated for two British Comedy Awards in 2006, in the categories of "Britain's Best New TV Comedy" and the "Highland Spring People's Choice"; it won neither of the awards.[14] However, the show did go on to receive a BAFTA in 2007, in the category "Best Comedy Programme or Series"[15] and been named "Best British TV Sketch Show 2006" in The Comedy.co.uk Awards[16] It was later nominated for another BAFTA in 2009, in the same category.

DVD release[edit]

The first series was released on DVD in the UK by Contender Home Video on 29 October 2007. Extras include Outtakes, Behind the Scenes footage and a Mitchell & Webb documentary.[17]

The second series was released on DVD in the UK by Fremantle Media on 20 October 2008.[18]

The third series was released on DVD in the UK by 2|entertain on 20 July 2009, meaning that the first three series have been released on different video labels.[19]

The fourth series was released in the UK by Fremantle Media on 4 October 2010.[20]

Worldwide broadcast[edit]

Region Channel
 Arab League ShowComedy
 Argentina Film&Arts/i-Sat
 Brazil Film&Arts
 Australia ABC1 / ABC2 / UKTV
 Belgium Canvas
 Colombia Film&Arts
 Denmark DR2
 Finland Sub
 Iceland Stöð 2
 India BBC Entertainment
 Israel yes stars Comedy
 Netherlands Nederland 3
 New Zealand UKTV
 Norway NRK3
 Singapore StarHub Cable Vision
 South Africa BBC Entertainment
 Sweden TV4 Komedi
 United Kingdom BBC2 / BBC HD / Dave / Netflix[21]
 United States BBC America[22] / Hulu / Netflix

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ That Mitchell and Webb Look: British Comedy Guide
  2. ^ a b Mitchell, Ben (27 August 2006). "Masters of comedy". The Observer. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  3. ^ Ross, Deborah (2006-11-18). "Peep Show's David Mitchell and Robert Webb". The Independent. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  4. ^ "BBC Week 8 Unplaced 2008". BBC Press Office. Archived from the original on 5 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  5. ^ Saffron Walden Reporter (2009-06-03). "That Mitchell and Webb Look". The Saffron Walden Reporter. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  6. ^ "BBC That Mitchell and Webb Look: Series 4 episodes". BBC. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  7. ^ Nissim, Mayer (2011-11-14). "Robert Webb interview: 'We'll do Peep Show for as long as they let us'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  8. ^ a b "BBC - Comedy - That Mitchell And Webb Site - Numberwang". BBC. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  9. ^ "Comedy > That Mitchell and Webb Site > Characters". BBC. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "That Mitchell And Webb Look series two episodes". BBC Press Office. 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  11. ^ "Mitchell and Webb bring critically-acclaimed radio sketch show to BBC TWO". BBC. 2006-11-24. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  12. ^ "That Mitchell & Webb Look Goes HD". BBC Resources. 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  13. ^ "Mitchell and Webb bring critically-acclaimed radio sketch show to BBC TWO". BBC. 2006-11-24. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  14. ^ "The Nominees 2006". British Comedy Awards. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  15. ^ "Victoria Wood scoops Bafta double". BBC News. 2007-05-20. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  16. ^ "The Comedy.co.uk Awards 2006". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  17. ^ "That Mitchell & Webb Look: Series 1 (DVD)". BBC Shop. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  18. ^ "That Mitchell and Webb Look: series two DVD review – Den of Geek". Denofgeek.net-genie.co.uk. 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  19. ^ "That Mitchell and Webb Look: series three". Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  20. ^ "That Mitchell and Webb Look: series four". Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  21. ^ "That Mitchell and Webb Look on Netflix". Netflix. Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  22. ^ "BBC Comedy Hit Heads to U.S.". NPR. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 

External links[edit]