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That Mitchell and Webb Format

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Gareth Edwards Gareth Edwards | 12:08 UK time, Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Mitchell and Webb in a basketAny amateur historian with a bit of initiative and a metal detector will have discovered that That Mitchell and Webb Look is a spin off of David and Robert's radio show That Mitchell and Webb Sound. But what is less well known is that alongside the Look and the Sound we've also been working on other versions of Mitchell and Webb for the other four senses: touch, taste, smell and umami. Why? Because humankind's creativity is all that separates us from the slime on the surface of a stagnant tarn. Here's the story so far.

That Mitchell and Webb Touch

This preceded both the TV and radio show, and it took for its inspiration the ITV police drama The Gentle Touch. In it Rob played a female detective juggling the demands of her son, her career and her hair while fighting against the institutional sexism of the police in the early eighties, played by David. It all took place under a heavy tarpaulin in Chippenham, and the idea was that instead of watching the programme the audience should feel it through special holes. People called it "warm" and "surprisingly hard hitting", but the show ended midway through series two when a critic from the Spa Gazette and Herald was badly bitten on what he described as his "middle upper thigh". Neither David nor Robert have ever admitted responsibility.

That Mitchell and Webb Taste

This is a traditional thick-crusted pie containing cooked pork in a rich jelly. The pie consists of three knock out rounds where contestants have to complete a well known phrase against the clock to score points and a chance of going head to head in the "ham run" where they could win a holiday. There are some elements of the format that aren't yet working, but we're confident this will soon be available from all good bakers or on BBC Three, depending on which way we go with it.

That Mitchell and Webb Smell

This has undertones of custard with grace notes of leotard, old tweed jackets and a slightly-frightening clown (might not sound like a smell, but you'd recognise it if you inhaled it). It also contains a significant quantity of bee pheromones, so should not be smelled out doors, or near bees indoors, or if you are a bee with a restraining order. Sadly the BBC Olfactory Network doesn't yet cover all of the UK, so if you live in low-lying areas of Cornwall or the ocean-facing side of the Isle of Skye I hope you enjoy That Mitchell and Webb Smell, and do please describe it to everyone else from the rest of the country whenever they mention Freeview.

That Mitchell and Webb Umami

This is our most recent format. It's work in progress but it will probably use monster puppets voiced by David and Robert intercut with a man in a cave shouting "Why Alison, why?" but you'll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile why not add a spoonful of umami to home-made soups if you want them to taste like they came from a massive chemical plant in Beijing?

I hope you'll agree that this is an exciting range of ways to experience David and Robert, and if you don't then I don't really know what you expect me to do about it.

Finally, for the tie-break please complete in eleven words or more or less the phrase "I didn't think this was a competition because..."

Gareth Edwards is Producer of That Mitchell and Webb Look, which continues on Tuesdays at 9pm on BBC Two. Keep an eye on this blog for any news on That Mitchell and Webb Taste, Smell or Umami.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Umami is not a sense. It is just something which can be detected by taste.

    According to "QI" there are between 9 and 21 senses. Other senses apart from the main five include balance, heat, pain and self-awareness.

  • Comment number 3.

    "I didn't think this was a competition because, earlier in the day during one of my usual visits to the lavatory, I couldn't help but picture the face of a drowning toaster as I unfastned my trouser seal and rooted around in my ubercrackers for a dirgle-schnatch."

    I hope I win the signed copy of David's arm that was tacitly implied to be prize to the quiz that was only barely hinted at!

  • Comment number 4.

    I didn't think this was a competition because I use up all of my brain power on being a pedant and therefore I am unable to think about things such as whether or not something may or may not be a competition. However, if I find that there have been any so called facts mentioned in any blog entries then I am sure to think long and hard about whether these are indeed facts. If I find these, for want of a better word, facts to be in fact unfactual then I will, in no uncertain terms, comment.

  • Comment number 5.

    @2 - You're right! Also, there aren't 4 more ways of experiencing Mitchell and Webb, and you didn't need a metal detector to know that the TV show was a spin off of a radio show.

  • Comment number 6.

    I didn't think this was a competition because it literally isn't a competition.

  • Comment number 7.

    I didn't think this was a competition because...
    1. there was no phone number listed for me to be able to cast my vote on whether to send Robert or David home this week
    2. the only question you asked was "why?"

    Oh, darn you Mr. Mammal, you have sneakily slipped in a competitive element to your blog after all! You have cunningly devised a scenario where your readers are fighting to be in the #1 comment spot. And, so desperate are we to feel loved, accepted and embraced by you, that some poor soul - in their hasty attempt to please you - has inadvertently broken the House Rules. A shame, but since the #1 spot is now open, I would like to officially be announced as the winner.

  • Comment number 8.

    Also, I am finding the omission of "a" in "It's work in progress.." is making me uncomfortable and upsetting my umami

  • Comment number 9.

    That Mitchell and Webb format can be explained in far fewer words than these.


  • Comment number 10.

    You can buy Umami in a tube from Waitrose.

  • Comment number 11.

    I didn't think this was a competition because having my tie broken sounds (and looks, tastes, smells, etc.) like a rubbish prize.

  • Comment number 12.

    "I didn't think this was a competition because..."

    You didn't say what the prize will be, nor how to win it.

  • Comment number 13.

    I didn't think this was a competition because… no, wait. actually, I did know it was a competition. I am that good. Or am I? You have no way of knowing — ha-ha, foxed you now, haven’t I? Quite frankly, although I knew it to be a competition, I really did wish it wasn’t. Aside from the glaring lack of a prize (or indeed anything besides a tiebreak question as a basis for entry), and ignoring quite how utterly pathetically transparent a plea for people to “please! talk to me! make it look as though I have friends on my blog! Mother, is that you? Mother? what's for tea, Mother? no, not the spaghetti bolognese again, please, I beg of you! oh, now you've done it, you had to add parmesan, didn't you? now my dinner tastes of socks. Why, Mother, why? Now that you mention it, this is the Beautiful South. What a coincidence!”, there's the clear lack of obligatory terms, conditions and rules of entry, standard disclaimers, appeal mechanism, information about closing dates or when the winner will be announced. This is, I fear, the worst competition I have ever had the misfortune to lay eyes on. If I'm honest, if I didn't know better, I'd think this was some sort of scam involving identity-theivery.

    Well, tough. You're not going to get any bank details out of me. Suck on that!


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