The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin Is Pure Fun

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Noel Fielding has always been immensely charming, imaginative, and funny, but like many surrealists, he often needs something to keep his high-flying ideas grounded, lest they float off like untethered balloons in Fielding’s vast headspace. The Mighty Boosh was a perfect example of Fielding being balanced by a more neutral force in the form of the wonderful Julian Barratt. Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, on the other hand, was bursting with colorful imagination (as if a candy store had exploded onto the screen) but was kind of a mess. Fortunately, The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin finds Fielding expertly balanced by an amazing cast of lovable characters and an actual plot.




The new Apple TV+ series is a mainlined injection of pure fun and whimsy straight into the brain. Fans of good-natured, fantastical comedies like Good Omens and, of course, The Mighty Boosh will adore this series, and it may even garner Fielding some new fans in the form of The Great British Bake-Off viewers who enjoy the host’s amiable yet funky presence. And who knows, maybe even some Downton Abbey fans will get a kick out of it, thanks to Hugh Bonneville’s hilarious turn as a villainous father. They’ll appreciate the period setting of the show as well, which creates some quirky incongruity with the characters.


Each episode essentially follows the execution of some kind of robbery and its consequences, but there are character and narrative arcs that make the series feel like it’s really growing into something. It’s also an interesting study on how stories (and histories) are formed, and how heroes and villains are created through storytelling. This is a delightful little comedy that feels perfect for spring — irreverent but with characters you invest in, light but with entertaining stories, and fresh in its originality and optimistic attitude.


Dick Turpin: Highwayman

The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin

The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin

4.5/5

Release Date
March 1, 2024

Cast
Noel Fielding , Marc Wootton , Ellie White , Duayne Boachie , Mark Heap

Seasons
1

Streaming Service(s)
Apple TV+

Pros

  • A very funny, feel-good series led by an immensely charming Noel Fielding.
  • A great cast with some of the funniest actors in the UK.
  • Hugh Bonneville makes a great villain, and the storylines are fun and engaging.
Cons

  • It may be a little too goofy for some people, but stick with it.

Loosely based on the brisk 18th century life of Richard Turpin (who was previously featured in a four-season British series 40 years ago simply titled Dick Turpin), The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin follows the origin and rise of the titular gang leader and thief. He begins as a butcher’s assistant to his father, though being a vegan doesn’t help. He strikes out on his own for a life of excitement, accidentally murdering a band of highwaymen’s vicious leader and becoming the gang’s spokesperson in his place.


Related: Best British TV Shows of All Time

Fielding plays Turpin like he’s invincible; he’s eternally optimistic and always smiling, and he tries to see the best in everyone and help them in any way possible. He’s contagiously joyful and kind, which makes his goal of becoming the greatest highwayman utterly ridiculous. But this isn’t a series that relies on realism; it’s a very silly show with a bent toward fantastical absurdism. It’s a comedy, through and through.


Fielding’s gang consists of three eventually loyal members. There’s the big, bearded Moose (a scene-stealing Marc Wootton), who immediately has a man-crush on Turpin; the acerbic and actually talented Nell (Ellie White playing ‘the straight man’ here, though she’s also very funny in The Other One); and the trigger-happy, kid-in-a-candy-shop idiot, Honesty (Duayne Boachie, pitch-perfect in the role). With Fielding (and his character’s Inspector Gadget-like mixture of confidence and dumb luck) leading the team, The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin quickly proves itself as a great ensemble comedy.

Hugh Bonneville and Dick Turpin’s Villains


When Turpin takes over as gang leader, he spurns the Thief-Taker General, Jonathan Wilde, who is also based on a legendary English figure. Turpin rejects the previous arrangement (or extortion) enforced by Wilde, which puts him and his gang forever on the run. Wilde is a member of an even bigger criminal organization that’s run by the ruthless Helen Gwinear, played with relish by the great Tamsin Grieg.

Related: Best British Comedy Shows of All Time, Ranked

Grieg is one of many faces that will be familiar to fans of British comedy — Mark Heap, Simon Farnaby, Asim Chaudhry, Joe Wilkinson, Jessica Hynes, Greg Davies, Diane Morgan, Rich Fulcher, and more pleasant surprises are included in The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin.

It’s Hugh Bonneville’s Thief-Taker General, however, who often steals the show, especially in the fantastic third episode, which finds him chained to Turpin and running for his life. Bonneville’s most famous for Downton Abbey, but viewers who only know him through that epic series should be delighted by his sense of humor. He’s been excellent in the past comedies Rev and Freezing, and especially as Ian Fletcher in the brilliant shows Twenty Twelve and W1A. He’s wonderful here as a scoundrel who fixates on Turpin as his greatest nemesis.


On the contrary, viewers may wish that Dick Turpin was their best friend. Produced by Apple TV+ and Big Talk Studios, part of ITV Studios, The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin is created by Claire Downes, Ian Jarvis, and Stuart Lane, and written by Jon Brittain, Richard Naylor, Claire Downes, Ian Jarvis and Stuart Lane, with Noel Fielding. The series is executive produced by Kenton Allen, Noel Fielding, Victoria Grew and Ben Palmer.

The first two episodes of The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin are streaming on Apple TV+ through the link below, with new episodes premiering on Fridays. You can watch the trailer below.

Watch on Apple TV+


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