What do you think each other's career highs and lows are?
RB: [laughs] What a lovely question…
SC: Truthfully, my favourite thing that Rob’s ever done is…
RB: This could get very unpleasant.
SC: I tell you what, what’s the funniest thing /you/ think /you’ve/ ever done?
SC: Your /favourite/ thing.
RB: I suppose I liked a lot of the humour in Human Remains…
SC: Do you know my favourite thing that I’ve done? The pool supervisor in The Day Today. Do you remember it?
[attempting impression] “No-one died…”
RB: That was good.
SC: I think that’s probably the funniest thing I’ve ever done.
In the show, Steve, you say don’t want to be on British television, which I assume was more exaggeration?
SC: Of course. British television gives you a lot of freedom. I’m a lot happier than I appear in the show. British television, when it gets it right, is still the best in the world.
RB: Cash in the Attic [Coogan bursts into fits of laughter]. I mean, if they try to do an American remake of that – and I’ve heard rumours that they are – it’s just not going to work. Don’t try it. We are great at that. Animal Hospital. These great British shows. [Coogan continues to belly laugh] Just leave them alone, I say.
Who’s the more proud of where they come from – Wales versus The North?
RB: I don’t think in reality that’s a conversation we’d have. I’m very happy to come from Wales.
SC: And I’m very happy to come from Manchester.
RB: There’s another example of us exaggerating. I could never imagine in a million years…
SC: … that I’d say the North is better than Wales. But for the purposes of the show. I mean, I’m very proud of my northern roots.
RB: But surely you wouldn’t say it was better than Wales? Oh, hang on, I see. Now we’re doing it.
SC: I tell you something that does bother me. When I hear sort of estuary English it really irritates me. There’s something about that sort of lazy estuary English, especially people who say ‘fink’ instead of ‘think’ and ‘wiv’ instead of ‘with’, that makes me boil up inside and makes me feel very violent.
So you’d gang up on them…
SC: I wouldn’t gang up on them, because people who talk like that are more physical than cerebral, but I don’t like them.
You’ve both done stand up. What have been your worst deaths on stage?
RB: I don’t think I’ve ever had a joke misfire, have you?
SC: Oh yeah. I did the Tunnel Club in 1989 and had glasses thrown at me and a chair.
But I turned the audience around. They were a really dense, stupid audience and I started doing Zippy and Bungle from Rainbow uttering obscenities and talking about graphic sex. They started laughing. “Oh, yeah, children’s characters talking about sex – we get that concept.” Then when I want off they said they wanted me back and I said no, I’m never doing it again. I just wanted to know that I could make those idiots laugh. I think it’s very important to be contemptuous of your audience [laughs].
RB: Well in that case I think you should be happy. I think you’ve mastered that.
SC: Thank you.
I have to ask about the Partridge movie. Is there a story now?
SC: Armando and I are engaged in it right now, but all it is at the moment is emails going back and forth discussing what it is, but it’s going forward slowly.
Will you be writing Rob into it?
RB: We’d have to say it’s unlikely.
SC: It is unlikely, but it’s also not impossible.
RB: I’ve got a new show reel that I’d love you to see.
SC: There are some interesting parts, I’m sure.
RB: There are a lot of openings in catering, I hear.
SC: I need a driver.
RB: I’ve got a clean licence and there’s no reason for me not to drive. And we’ve got this kind of shorthand, so I’d know straight away where you’d want to go. Back to the hotel I’m guessing. It’s exciting times. I’ve never driven on a set before, so doing it for him would be a dream.
And you’ve got experience in Marion and Geoff.
SC: If it was up to me, I would give you a part like a shot.
RB: I know that, I know that.
SC: But I have to ask Armando. He likes you, but it’s slowly, slowly catchy monkey. I think I have to try the soft sell with you. I don’t want to ram you down his throat.
RB: Soft cell, ram me down his throat. If we were in that mood…
SC: Yeah, but we’re not.
RB: You have to mark your almonds quite carefully.
The Trip begins on BBC Two, 1 November at 10pm