TV: The Road To Brexit, BBC2

the road to brexit

I didn't write about this Matt Berry one-off written by Arthur Mathews earlier because I assumed it would be postponed when Brexit was postponed. Instead it is going full steam ahead, so at least there is something to laugh about at the moment.

If you've seen Berry's work with Bob Mortimer you'll have an idea what to expect. Berry's ridiculous bombastic voice combined with old archive footage, sometimes overdubbed with daft lines. The additional bonus here is that Berry is very much on camera, playing maverick historian Michael Squeamish.

And the supporting cast is pretty impressive too. There's a bit of an echo of Alan Partridge with two Partridge regulars pitching up. Felicity Montagu plays MP Jill Spiller while Simon Greenall plays a fast-talking Geordie in a vox pop. Alex Macqueen – always excellent value – is smoothie Minister Tony Braxton. While this is credited to Toast of London co-writer Mathews I would suspect that Berry had a hand in choosing the ludicrous names - a Russian ballet dancer is called Zebedee Bivouac.

Oh, and Phil Wang and Natasia Demetriou plays a Nimbyish yuppie couple and Paul Putner claims to have been in the Police - the band, not the constabulary.

Of course, the paradox with Brexit is that it is an easy target for comedy but that most of the jokes have already been done to death. The Road To Brexit bodyswerves this issue by offering an absurdist, intentionally ill-informed take on the history of the EU than it more Cunk than Coogan. I certainly don't remember Leeds United manager Don Revie ever becoming Foreign Secretary. 

The use of obscure footage is not new – it's been used by grown-up filmmakers from Julian Temple to Adam Curtis - but they've got some corkers here. A cat chasing a monkey is a particular favourite. Plus Chris Grayling is mocked, which is essential viewing, Bllly Idol turns up when you least expect him and at one point Berry/Squeamish appears to have been injured in a pony stampede. 

In other words, this is a programme that has everything. Except a solution to Brexit. 

Catch up here.


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