With its groovy sound effects, melodramatic close-ups of squinting faces and more shades of brown than is ever necessary, there’s an unmistakable whiff of the 70s and 80s about this police comedy spoof, which lovingly lampoons cop shows of the era with a deft and unashamedly daft wit.
Double Edinburgh award-winner John Keats and Steen Raskopoulos star as absurdly hapless detectives Mitch Rust and John Mahogany, a crack cop duo who must overcome their own reckless stupidity to protect the fictional Justice City from the deranged residents of its sinister underworld.
In this series opener, the duo take-on notorious wrong‘un Harry McCrane (an excellent Paul Ritter), who’s turned a successful ice cream business into a front for his drug empire (“Drugs or ice cream?”); meanwhile, Mahogany attempts to woo station newbie Pippa, albeit with about as much charm as a contestant on Young, Free & Single.
The entire cast has a ball going completely over the top with their characters. Paul Ritter is especially hilarious; chewing the scenery through perpetually gritted teeth as a fearsome cockney gangster, while Donovan Blackwood almost steals the show as the obligatory short-tempered station chief.
Unsurprisingly considering it stars a comedian whose style has been described as “erratic, eccentric absurdism”, the show is a mishmash of jokes that come thick and fast, evoking everything from Airplane! and Anchorman to Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace in its efforts to expose the silliness in shows like The Sweeney and Hawaii Five-O.
This scattershot silliness might not be to everyone’s tastes – nor does it make for the most consistent comedy in the world – but whether it’s a car chase featuring an ice cream van, a MacGyver-esque hamster on a zipline or a simple one-liner like “a lover of another brother’s mother” there’s bound to be at least a couple of gags to tickle your taste buds.
Click here to watch Top Coppers on BBC iPlayer