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What makes a great TV comedy double act?

17 August 2010 4:17 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

From Little and Large to Mitchell and Webb, comedy partnerships have proven a winning formula – but what is the secret of their success?

It's not difficult to spot when a comedy double act works – the guffaws and giggles are usually a dead giveaway. But identifying exactly what makes a TV comedy duo great? That's an altogether trickier art and happily one that BBC2 can help with tonight, delivering an evening schedule that offers up Mitchell and Webb, Reeves and Mortimer and – be still my beating heart – a reunited Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins for examination. It's a positive celebration of comedy duos.

Each brings a dynamic of their own to television. David Mitchell and Robert Webb have found the right balance of populism and postmodern, and Reeves and Mortimer have been firing on all cylinders in Shooting Stars. Mel and Sue clearly know when they're at their best – working together with food between them. »

- Bruce Dessau

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Tonight's TV highlights

16 August 2010 11:59 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The Great British Bake-Off | Shooting Stars | True Stories: Big River Man | Ideal

The Great British Bake-Off

8pm, BBC2

Light/Late Lunch duo Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins are reigniting their on-screen partnership to present this Wi-friendly national bake-off. Ten amateur cooks from different regions of the UK compete each week to pull off the finest flour-sugar-egg combos. As is becoming commonplace with food shows, there's a faintly ridiculous challenge at the end of it that makes it even more amusing. This week, it's a chocolate-celebration-cake-conundrum. Try to watch without drooling. Rn

Shooting Stars

9.30pm, BBC2

Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer's quiz show is in its third decade and its sell-by date is nowhere in sight. Angelos, if anything, is an even better creation than George Dawes, while a whole new raft of running gags, from the magic box to Who is Hitler? and Vic's false teeth have kept the format amply refreshed. »

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2 items from 2010


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