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That Mitchell & Webb Look Returns

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Gareth Edwards Gareth Edwards | 16:10 UK time, Tuesday, 13 July 2010

That Mitchell and Webb Look - Series FourThe excellent Mitchell & Webb return tonight on BBC Two at 9pm. Gareth Edwards, the producer of the show, gives an insight into just how unique the filming is:

As the producer of That Mitchell and Webb Look I'm often asked to write a piece of publicity material about what it is that makes the show so special.

The truth is that behind the façade of colourful moving lights and noises that make up That Mitchell and Webb Look there's a community of actors, writers, production staff and animals whose skills have taken a lifetime to master. In fact That Mitchell and Webb Look is the only television programme in Britain still made using traditional artisanal methods.

Work on the present series began in the seventeenth century. Spratt's History of The Royal Society refers to a "Comical Skit presented by Messrs Mitchell and Webb Concerning a Magnetic Horse", but sadly this item was destroyed in the great Television Centre Fire of 1791 and does not feature in the show. However, as a result of the sketch you may notice that throughout the series none of the cast is wearing any heavy iron jewellery.

The filming methods are unchanged since those early days. For example we still have scripts and actors, and we use traditional oak cameras each operated by a crew of ten "lenswrights". Next, rather than simply ending up on video tape like all other television the comedy is remembered manually by a specially trained "rememberist" who then rests in a cool cellar for three to four months, before the mature programme is "dis-remembered" again directly into the original wood and wrought-iron television transmitters that take it by canal to every home in the land.  

Over the coming weeks I'll be using this blog to reveal some of the other secrets that give That Mitchell and Webb Look its distinctive leather smell, soft fur and peaty after-taste so if you have any questions about the production process or alternatively tips on the best way to store feta cheese after you've opened the packet please let me know in the space below.

Watch the new series of That Mitchell & Webb Look 9pm Tuesdays on BBC Two.



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