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It’s strange how little the art of the impressionist has evolved since the heyday of Mike Yarwood. But this new sitcom written by Matt Morgan achieves the unusual feat of placing this variety club act in a fresh context. Terry Mynott is Martin Hurdle, a quiet, unremarkable middle-aged man with a hidden talent.
Hurdle’s a freakishly good impressionist, prone to slipping into Terry Wogan in traffic jams or getting his own back on his boss over the intercom at work. So far, so ho-hum. But where ‘The Mimic’ feels both promising and unusual is that Martin’s mimicry is, at this point, a dead end. Martin has a rubbish job. He has a charming but, as far as we can tell, unfulfilled relationship with Jo Hartley’s Jean. And he has an 18-year-old son whom he’s taking the first tentative steps towards getting to know. In other words, ‘The Mimic’ is brave enough to be gently melancholy rather than uproarious – Martin’s gift feels more like a product of confused identity and low self-esteem than any desire to entertain.
It will be interesting to see whether this ventures into more conventional sitcom realms as it progresses – on the evidence of this opener, it could be a subtle, understated treat. Phil Harrison