Dead Ringers review: Why so polite to our politicians?

If you are looking for cutting-edge political comedy that draws blood, look elsewhere. But if you want mischievous humour and impressions that will make you think the likes of Theresa May and Donald Trump have just stepped onstage then catch BBC’s Dead Ringers team in this grand theatrical setting.

Jan Ravens, Jon Culshaw, Lewis MacLeod and Duncan Wisbey should feel at home. The format is similar to the radio-recording process with the quartet standing at microphones gripping their scripts. It is unclear if this is a homage to their enduring Radio 4 oeuvre or they haven’t quite mastered their lines.

Some of them are certainly topical, with gags about Whats App hacking and Eurovision feeling impressively boxfresh.

If you come for the quips, you’ll stay for the mimicry. When they are good they are showstopping. Ravens’s aforementioned May, totally rigid in every sense, is spot-on.

I particularly relished Wisbey’s master negotiator “Brexit bulldog” David Davis, who cannot negotiate his way out of a soggy paper bag. MacLeod’s Trump is also a triumph, his Farage less so.

What this really requires is savagery. As satire their imitation game is all rather polite. The team seemed more relaxed easing off the Parliament-prodding pedal and doing their greatest hits after the interval, spoofing The Archers and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

I would have liked more of Culshaw’s orotund Tom Baker here but Wisbey’s head-bobbing Paul McCartney will linger long in the memory.

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