Richard Ayoade’s BAFTA-nominated Travel Man boasts that much of a cult following that those who were lucky enough to catch its first few seasons have been chomping at the bit for a fresh episode.
Never fear, it’s time to breathe a long overdue sigh of relief. The hilarious Brit is returning to SBS VICELAND with a new bunch of episodes of his highly original and equally sidesplitting travelogue.
Just in case you’ve been living under an old British rock
Much of the TV-watching world is too busy re-watching The Hills or Play School to know of Richard Ayoade’s significance to the medium, although chances are his memorable mug exists somewhere in your subconscious.
If you ever caught classic British sitcom The IT Crowd, you’d know him as that half-African, half-Norwegian bloke with the sexy Afro who played alongside Chris O’Dowd of Bridesmaids fame. Ayoade is a hyper-literate jack of too many trades, mastering comedy, acting, writing, directing and, most recently through Travel Man, television presenting. He’s quick-witted, self-deprecating and far too intelligent for his own good.
Ayoade has enlivened Britain's most memorable modern programming, including Nathan Barley, The Mighty Boosh, Gadget Man and, of course, Travel Man. Oh, and he’s also been selling out theatres in the British stand-up scene. Pretty astonishing considering he’s only been in the public eye for just over a decade.
Just in case you missed Travel Man’s first three seasons
Here’s the basic gist: each season is comprised of four episodes, and during each episode Ayoade is joined by a celebrity as they tear up an international location. The pair spend 48 hours scouring the corners of the city, learning what they can while spitting out facts and quips so you don’t have to leave the comfort of your couch (or spend thousands of dollars to replicate the experience).
In season one, Ayoade dragged along Aussie comedian Adam Hills and his motherland peer Kathy Burke for stints over in Istanbul and Barcelona. In his second lot of episodes, Ayoade travelled to Vienna with his old The It Crowd partner-in-hilarity, Chris O’Dowd. Season three took us for fun times with Catastrophe's Rob Delaney, after which we jetted over to Venice, Italy for a waterlogged lark with legendary comedian Jo Brand. And that was just for starters.
The first trio of seasons proved Ayoade isn’t one of those self-centred lifestyle presenters. Indeed, he benefits from a co-traveller who helps inject comedy into his shenanigans.
Just in case you desperately want more STAT!
Now Ayoade and his team have perfected the formula, each season of the show increases in confidence and quality, and this next collection of episodes are among the show’s most effective.
We’re taken to New York, where Ayoade chews the international fat with the Queen of Panel Shows, Katherine Ryan. The Canadian-born, UK-based comedian and actress has appeared on QI, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Would I Lie to You?, and in the post-Joey Matt Le Blanc vehicle, Episodes. Speaking of non-Brits, Ayoade takes the perpetually youthful Paul Rudd to Helsinki and our own Rebel Wilson to Florence for a bit of romantic sightseeing.
Tired yet? You won’t be in a moment. Aoyade is set to take British comedian Rob Beckett to Mother Russia, award-winning Ainslee Bea to Budapest and, wait for it, Lena “Girls” Dunham to Tenerife (which, if you don't know it, is the largest of the Canary Islands).
As for the next four celebrity/city combinations, Ayoade is keeping the surprise close to his chest, although we’re desperately hoping an episode features a journey to Darwin with Eric and Ivanka Trump.
Travel Man airs Mondays at 8:00pm on SBS VICELAND. Watch the first episode at SBS On Demand: