The Trip to Italy – Series Finale (TV Review)

The Trip to Italy continues on BBC Two, this time in Rome where the pair visits the Keats Museum. Rob, just having been offered a role in a Michael Mann film finds an increasingly grumpy Steve Coogan less than supportive and perhaps a wee bit jealous.

His exasperation at the antics of his partner are more apparent in this episode as he shows off in front of their dinner guests and – for almost the entirety of the program – refuses to stop. We almost share in Steve’s aggravation, but we are eventually worn down by Rob’s comedic charms. In this respect Steve serves as the audience cipher, the person through whom we experience the program and whose moods match our own. It’s almost genius pacing then for the director to decide when the program has become funny enough for Steve to finally break down his defences and join in the fun.

Still this program remains to be about the sewing of seeds. Rob spurred on by his fling with Lucy finds himself ably flirting with Alba the receptionist, Emma the assistant and even Yolanda the photographer, whom Steve had slept with in series one. From these flirtations Rob even gets a (circumstantial) kiss. It appears that Rob is turning into the man Steve wanted to be before the end of the first series. The man we all though Rob Brydon was above. And with a potential Hollywood role on the line with a legendary director he’s making Steve very jealous indeed.

But that isn’t to say that the program is on his side. During one of their little drives they make a very befuddling and inappropriate reference to Operation Yewtree target Rolf Harris. What is so shocking about it is the complete lack of perspective the program has to offer on the recent scandals that have transpired. You’d think that in 2014 any reference to Rolf Harris would at least have to mention it; you can’t just pretend that he’s the lovable old guy who rocked the stage at Glastonbury a couple of years back.

But it turns out to be the prelude to a very weird conversation that takes place over the dinner table about Jimmy Saville. Almost every person mentioned in the show has something that compares them to the performers, or some link to the themes of the show. Perhaps the show believes they need to stop now before they fall over the edge and become the old man pervs the world they live in will no longer tolerate. Perhaps it believes that their attmpts at seduction are not that far removed from the assaults of their predecessors.

Finally Rob volunteers to be photographed next to Shelley’s grave seconds after a conversation that finishes with a story about Shelley abandoning his pregnant wife. The program ends with Rob making plans to see Lucy again.

Like I said, the sewing of seeds.