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David Mitchell, Robert Webb


June 2007

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Peep Show’s Mitchell & Webb hit the big screen as rival illusionists

“It was a complete no-brainer for us,” David Mitchell says of Magicians, his first movie pairing with comedy partner Robert Webb following three series of their Channel Four series Peep Show. In the slipstream of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s astral rise from Spaced to Shaun Of The Dead to Hot Fuzz, the timing couldn’t be better for another comedy double act grooved on an after-hours sitcom to attempt a multiplex breakthrough

The brainchild of their Peep Show writing team, Magicians casts Mitchell and Webb as a tacky magic act who fall out, reunite for a national competition in Jersey, then fall out again. “It’s a real community,” Mitchell says of the Butlins end of the magic universe they inhabit. “And it lends itself to comedy because it takes itself incredibly seriously. That kind of introspective seriousness is very puncturable.”

“It attracts an obsessive kind of personality,” chimes in Webb, who says he’d be “hard-pressed to impress a child” demonstrating the tricks he learned. “It’s a peculiar atmosphere when you’ve got a whole bunch of them in one room and they’re all performing to each other.”

If critics and public don’t embrace Mitchell and Webb at the movies, well, having already achieved ubiquity with their Apple Mac ads (“it’s a posh campaign, it’s not like it’s for pile cream,” says Mitchell), they’re not unduly concerned.

Says Webb: “Sex Lives Of The Potato Men wasn’t a well-loved film and it hasn’t hurt those guys [Johnny Vegas and Mackenzie Crook].”

“But,” Mitchell hastens to add, “I think we’ve done a much better job than that.”

“Yes, that’s worth pointing out,” agrees Webb. “It’s funnier than Sex Lives Of The Potato Men.”
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