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'It's just like a school trip with a crew and we are the star pupils'

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon reunite for a fourth series of comedy travelogue The Trip - and this time they head to Greece. Georgia Humphreys finds out more

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Greek odyssey: Steve Coogan (right) and Rob Brydon on The Trip

Greek odyssey: Steve Coogan (right) and Rob Brydon on The Trip

Greek odyssey: Steve Coogan (right) and Rob Brydon on The Trip

It takes time for Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon to settle back into normality after filming The Trip.

In the Sky One travelogue series, the comedians and friends play exaggerated versions of themselves, who venture around the world reviewing restaurants together. The latest instalment - the fourth - sees the pair head to Greece.

"There's a real period of adjustment when you come back and slot into your family again," says Swansea-born Brydon (54).

Having a camera crew around all the time makes Coogan, also 54, become "slightly childlike".

"You can think, 'I'll just walk across this road, because if there's a car coming someone else will stop it'," quips the actor, who grew up in Middleton - a suburban town north of Manchester.

"So, when you get back to real life, you realise when you cross the road you have to look both ways. Things like that really do happen to you. You get up in the morning and think, 'What do I do now?' It's up to you, you're a grown up!"

Here, the pair tell us what to expect from their Greek adventure.

THE ROUTE

The first episode starts at the site of ancient Troy in western Turkey, where they see ruins and make their first lunch stop. They then head to the Temple of Athena in Assos before travelling on a private boat to Lesvos, where they visit the Moria refugee camp.

"We're mimicking Homer's Odyssey, which is the trip of Odysseus from Troy to Ithaca," notes Coogan, who is responsible for beloved comic character Alan Partridge and can currently be seen in cinemas in Greed.

"People weren't sure for hundreds of years whether Troy was mythical and about 100 years ago they discovered it was real.

"Though of course The Odyssey is a fictional book as it has gods in it and anyone who has half a brain knows that gods don't exist..." jests the outspoken star.

"Just throwing a bit of controversy in there. I know most people think there's one."

The witty, energetic duo behave just as you'd expect them to; they naturally bounce off one another and there's rarely a quiet moment during the chat.

"We try to avoid the places that most tourists go when they visit Greece," Coogan continues avidly.

"We were there for about five weeks and saw a handful - at most - of British people. It was June, right in the middle of the summer, and it was all the better for it, much as I love my fellow countrymen. It was nice to explore it in an anonymous way."

"I wasn't expecting the greenery," says a smiley Brydon, who's famous for sitcom Gavin And Stacey, and presenting panel show Would I Lie To You?. "It's a beautifully verdant, lush country."

HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHT

Discussing their favourite moments during filming, Brydon suggests: "We did a lot of travel by water. I enjoyed that."

"We didn't really stop travelling," echoes his co-star. "We covered a lot of ground; drove a lot, sailed a lot.

"We sailed across a big stretch of water which would take hours and when we got there the car would be waiting for us. It was like a very high-end driving holiday."

They "always have fun", effuses Brydon.

"We have breakfast together, film all day, have dinner together, so we spend a lot of time with each other," he elaborates.

"We go on these trips and they are curated, so we get the best of everywhere we go. It's all arranged, we don't have to think about anything. We close our bags in the hotel room and they're in the next one."

"It's just like a school trip with a crew," jokes Coogan, chuckling. "And we're the star pupils."

FUNNY MEN

They must film so much material whilst on the road. So are there scenes the duo thought were funny that don't end up on screen?

"Always," nods Brydon. "You've forgotten about it, it's months ago. You'll realise this bit you thought was rather good hasn't made the cut."

The show is improvised "in as much as Michael (Winterbottom, director) provides the frame, the skeleton," explains Coogan.

"It's his idea where we go, that it's Odysseus - and he'll put in themes he wants us to discuss.

"It's not all made up, but as long as we tick certain boxes we can talk about what we like. So we will invent things.

"Sometimes Rob and I will be chatting off camera and he'll say, 'Why don't we talk about that on camera?' He might say, 'I'll say this, and you can say this about me'. So Rob might give me a line at his expense, and vice versa. All we're interested in is trying to make it interesting and funny."

"The good thing about not having a very complicated plot is we don't put anything on screen that doesn't earn its place," Brydon adds sincerely. "If it doesn't earn its place, it gets thrown in the bin."

BLURRED LINES

Because they play semi-fictionalised versions of themselves, there has been cases of fans confusing fact and fiction.

"In The Trip To Italy my 'Rob' has a moment of madness and spends the night with a deckhand," recollects Brydon.

"This went out on BBC2 and in all seriousness the next day my wife Clare was taking one of our kids to school and the teacher came out and said, 'This must be a very difficult time for you'.

"She must have thought she was watching a fly-on-the-wall documentary which I had allowed into my bedroom to see me getting out of bed the next morning and looking a little, 'What the hell have I done?!'"

  • The Trip To Greece launches on Sky One on Tuesday, March 3
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