In 'The Trip To Italy', which screens this Friday evening on BBC2, Rob and his co-pilot Coogan continue the journey they started four years ago in the Lake District.
This time around, they make their way along the Italian Riviera, which makes for some stunning locations, beautiful sunsets, delicious meals on pot-planted terraces, and more than a small amount of wine being imbibed along the way.
“We did drink. We were trying to remember a quote, which you’ll see in the out-takes,” says Rob of one of the scenes later in the series. “It went on and on, we’d been drinking, and it was such a beautiful spot.”
“Had we done that all the time, it wouldn’t have been very good,” says Steve Coogan. “I think we thought we were doing okay by that stage. We were allowed to experiment with alcohol."
“It’s very creative and we were making stuff up on the backbone of Michael's (Winterbottom, director) story, and the drinking…” muses Rob. “I’d never normally do that… it was a unique atmosphere.”
“You feel very secure with Michael, you do things you’d never normally do,” agrees Steve.
In between the familiar routines the pair play out over dinner – questioning each other’s career choices, inspecting forensically each other’s Roger Moore impression, and fear not, Michael Caine is not neglected – there is something more reflective occurring underneath.
Screen Steve is missing his family and trying to reconnect with his son (it’s semi-fictional, real Steve has a daughter) while Rob Brydon is craving a more adventurous offering than he is used to at home with his family.
Between the siestas, sunsets and spaghetti, it’s about two middle-aged men trying to make sense of it all – where life has taken you thus far, how to compensate for a failing mojo, what to do when a pretty girl no longer notices you, and how to make sure that the next pathway is the right one. Not easy when there’s a man sitting opposite you trying to ‘do’ a better Terry Wogan, and the only CD in the open-top Mini is that of Alanis Morissette.
The Trip To Italy starts on Friday at 9pm, BBC2.