I’ll miss Peep Show, but it was the right time to say goodbye to the El Dude Brothers

Channel 4's veteran comedy ended with excruciating, downbeat brilliance - but all good things must come to an end, says Ben Dowell

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After 9 series, Peep Show has finally finished. It is no more.

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Were Robert Webb and David Mitchell’s El Dude Brothers Jez and Mark suddenly going become Del Trotter-style winners – trooping off into the Croydon sunset with beautiful girls on their arms and contracts for their dream jobs scrunched in their hands?

Well of course they weren’t. And nor were Jez and Super Hans going to succeed with their outrageous plot to kidnap Angus, the husband of April (Catherine Shepherd). Their criminal act allowed Mark to whisk her off her feet for only a few short blissful minutes in the café toilet.

The failed plot even cost Hans his relationship with Molly when his wife failed to see his side of the argument: “Apparently I’m not even allowed to do a f*****g novelty kidnap,” he moaned, before vowing to flee to Macedonia to set up his moped rental business. (Surely a Super Hans spin off can’t be far away. If not, get on to it now, Channel 4). 

Mark, who had already lost his bank job, thanks to Jez, inevitably also lost April. And quite right too.

Just before the series – and the show – ended, Jez wondered whether they “loved each other really” while Mark was thinking: “I simply must get rid of him”. And that was it. Cue credits.

It’s been, in my view, a pretty good series. Maybe not vintage Peep Show, but there have been some good moments – the Hans wedding episode was great (Peep Show has always worked well on the road). And I enjoyed the general bringing to the fore of Matt King’s Hans, a fantastic (and integral) character in the peerless world of Peep.

But maybe there was a sense that creators Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong were trying too hard in their swansong and I certainly feel that with the two boys not really being boys any more but 40-something men, it had to come to an end now. How long could they realistically be chasing women and trying and failing to hold down dead-end jobs?

I thought making Jez gay was a mistake when he embarked on a full-blown affair with Joe (Bart Edwards), the boyfriend of one of his (female) life coach clients.

It wasn’t funny enough and didn’t seem very Jez-like. It was an idea that probably sounded funny when Bain and Armstrong were kicking around ideas at the beginning but didn’t really work in the execution.It simply didn’t garner enough laughs.

Credulity was also somewhat stretched when Mark had frantic sex in the toilet with April. That didn’t seem very Mark-like, either. 

But still, that’s to take nothing (or very little) away from what has been a fabulous show – nine series over 12 years – with the excruciating, downbeat brilliance of this fabulous curtain call hitting precisely the right note.

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This is a classic comedy that will be sorely missed. Pip pip, or (as Mark may have it) should that be Peep, Peep?