National Lampooning

By Ben Felsenburg

Tracey Ullman is the epitome of BBC balance and objectivity – she dispenses merciless cruelty without fear or favour to famous figures right across the political landscape. In the new, three-part series of Tracey Breaks the News (Fridays, BBC1, 9.30pm), she extends her reach to take on some surprising targets. She has already shown the world her unnerving talent for sex change, disguising herself as Jeremy Corbyn. For this series, the comedienne has again made herself unrecognisable to play environment secretary Michael Gove, complete with surly pout and softly accented machine-gun delivery.

What you won’t get with Ullman is the preternatural precision of Mike Yarwood’s impersonations or the lacerating satire that Rory Bremner once made his own for so long. Instead, you often sense an affection for her targets beneath the lampooning. In the case of her Angela Merkel, that might even amount to outright admiration for a woman who has defied the otherwise ubiquitous edict that all public figures require a makeover in our style-conscious age. So, prepare not only to welcome the return of some familiar Ullman sketches – we’re back at home with Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall to witness the idiosyncrasies of their rarefied private lives – but also to say hello to entirely new material. now, will the real Jacob Rees-Mogg dare tune in to see how his fictional self-fares alongside Ullman's nanny?

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