Bob and Paul, Andrew and Mark, Chris and Meg – there’s nothing like hanging out with a couple of pals as they chill outdoors and mess around. These are the things we yearned for under stricter pandemic restrictions, so it’s all the more joy to see them on the small screen in shows like BBC Scotland’s new Roaming In The Wild.
Back for a second series, BBC Scotland’s most relaxed outdoor adventure series follows quirky friends Andrew and Mark as they go out in a peddle boat, whitewater raft down the Kelvin, go looking for the Northern Lights and other challenges. There’s always a diversion and a distraction and never too much sense of rush – slow adventuring at its finest. Starts September 23.
Mortimer And Whitehouse: Gone Fishing
The series Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse began as a way to help them both recover from heart surgery is back with more fishing, laughs, surreal moments and melancholic reflections on mortality. Described once, in a Guardian review, as like Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan’s The Trip “on statins”, “a similar pair of jousting old stags of comedy, driving around scenic vistas trying to make each other lazily laugh”.
Chris And Meg’s Wild Summer
Family, it’s not exactly the same as friends, is it? Except sometimes it is. One of the most charming friendships to emerge on television during the pandemic is that between Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin, step-father and step-daughter. McCubbin is Packham’s perfect sparring partner – someone who knows him well enough to tease, and, as they travel round the UK over a pandemic summer, they compete for top wildlife facts and we get insights into their family dynamic. Whilst wandering through dunes looking for sand lizards, Packham mentions the film, Dune. “Oh don’t even get me started on the film,” says McCubbin. “I will not watch Dune no matter how much you talk about it.”
Extraordinary Escapes With Sandi Toksvig
Sandy Toksvig takes four fabulous women for “a slow wander through our country’s most tranquil landscapes” staying in some of the UK’s most idyllic holiday rentals along the way. Particularly lovely is the episode with friend Alison Steadman. It’s all a bit property fetish, but there should be more shows featuring middle-aged female friendships like this.
Filmed long before the pandemic hit, Richard Ayoade going off on a series of 48-hour city breaks with friends and celebrities seems like a kind of nostalgia-fest now – a reminder that there were times, before the pandemic and climate-anxiety, when a city break seemed not only possible, but flygskam free. Top friends’ banter points go to his trip to Copenhagen with presenter Noel Fielding, a comedian always on the look-out for mischief and a tipple. As they sip Schnapps, Fielding makes an observation to ever-restrained Ayoade, “Even you smelling that will mean that you will probably leave here naked. I’ve seen you drunk once. It was unbelievable.”
“I must have had a unit,” Ayoade replies.
Fishing With John
Musician and director John Lurie was there before Bob and Paul, before Rich Hall, doing nothing more than hang out with friends and fish in this classic 1991 television series – and in the company of Tom Waits, Jim Jarmusch, Matt Dillon and Willem Defoe, no less. For a dose of pals nostalgia go fishing for this classic on Criterion Films. Just don’t expect it always to be too chilled – Lurie heads off to some of the most exotic and dangerous places on earth.