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Audio Comedy Review

Book Cover

Giles Wemmbley Hogg Goes Off
Series 2


Written by: Marcus Brigstocke and Jeremy Salsby
Starring: Marcus Brigstocke
BBC Audio
RRP: £15.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 4056 8789 8
Available 04 February 2008

Budleigh Salterton's most famous citizen Giles Wemmbley Hogg (two 'm's, two 'g's) is off round the world on another six adventures. Why? Because "Travel" is his middle name (between St John and Leonard). In this second series, as heard on Radio 4, Giles experiences Tanzania, New Zealand, Cuba, Egypt, India, and Germany - and becomes the first man ever to have been literally cut out of a pair of lederhosen...

Marcus Brigstoke stars as the Sony Award-winning lovable nitwit in this complete second radio series - which also features guest appearances by David Mitchell and Catherine Tate.

Traveller, backpacker, ethnologist, fearless investigator of cultural diversity, and upper middle-class student ponce from Budleigh Salterton, Giles is travelling in the Summer Vac- yes, he's become a student. Giles is now doing Canadian Studies at the University of Bristol and Durham, due to a bit of a slip-up with his UCAS form.

But this is a changed Giles as he says: "Doing Canadian Studies at Uni has made me realize how naive I used to be about other cultures and people. I feel I've really moved on. Ooh, is that a camel?"

Each week, with his trusty portable DAT and his Charterhouse rugby shirt, Giles travels to far-off foreign lands. In the first episode Giles heads off on safari to darkest Africa ("Which is surprisingly bright") to Save The Giraffe - even though it didn't really need saving before he arrived.

In Germany, Giles goes in search of the world-famous Munich Oktoberfest. But where is it held? And when? Next stop, Cuba, ("Where I'm determined to be the best ruddy socialist I can - money no option"), and then it's time to walk like an Egyptian, as Giles attempts to twin Cairo with that other cradle of civilisation: Budleigh Salterton.

Then it's a chance to tour India with the Durham Uni Cricket First Eleven and to join an Ashram in an attempt to find peace, enlightenment and a decent Kashmir sweater for his dad, Peter Wemmbley Hogg (same spelling). And finally, it's a flight to New Zealand for the romantic trip of a lifetime to see the girl he still loves marry someone else. As Giles himself says: "Am I mad, impetuous or just plain stupid? Well in a way, both."

Along the way we are subjected to Giles's naivety. While in Tanzania he tries to Save The Giraffe by dressing in a baby giraffe suit made from the skin of a real baby giraffe; in Germany he's convinced that the Nuremberg Rally is the home of car racing in Germany; in India he reminds us that Indians are referred to as native Americans nowadays; and in New Zealand he quickly corrects his mistake that Lord of the Dance was filmed there by telling us that he's found out it was Lord of the Rings... by J R R Hartley. Also, when asked if he's ever been white water rafting before, Giles admits that he's been on the Log Flume at Alton Towers twice - and he got soaked.

Catherine Tate makes an appearance in the final episode (New Zealand) as Arabella, Giles's old girlfriend, and David Mitchell also turns up as one of the cricketers from Giles's university in the episode set in India.

This is one of those great collections that will be appreciated by just about everyone and is sure to bring hours of listening pleasure to those with a sense of humour.


Nick Smithson

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