Who doesn't like a loveable Yorkshireman? Or, more accurately, a West Yorkshireman, with dreams of making it big as a Tour de France-winning cyclist, or as a stand-up- comedy-sketch-and-radio- voice-actor? Well, at any rate, this David Tennant-lookalike is charming and instantly amusing, as are all of his adorable comedic creations: each seemingly a variation on Hodgson himself, the northern misfits, loners and weirdos, southern posho’s and ladies who may or may not be based on real ex-girlfriends, are all hilarious and steeped in bathetic glory. Meet characters such as Matthew, the awkward proto-Youtube star, Rob, the Alan Partridge-esque and rather endearingly pathetic Scout leader, and Mr Berkenshaw, the lonely old man who, in a characteristic moment of revisionary wish-fulfilment, and like Tiny Tim, ‘Did not die!’ Although he probably did.
Animated, empathetic and garishly clad in lycra
Kieran’s fascination with Texan cycling colossus Lance Armstrong gives the show its name, and the great man himself weaves in and out of various dream sequences that pepper the narrative of one Yorkshire lad’s quest to make something of himself. But, in truth, Lance is a MacGuffin: the show feels more like a confessional, an opportunity to self-mockingly own up to feelings of failure and the reality of self-delusions, as each naïf in his repertoire comedically comes up short of their own talk.
Animated, empathetic and garishly clad in lycra (classically British apologies follow for said revealing garments), Hodgson deftly weaves his autobiographical tale, stepping in and out of character and time and space, never missing an opportunity to slip in a funny, overwrought phrase or a perfectly timed stinger to burst the bubble of his characters’ dreams.
Seemingly a natural mimic, the only weaknesses in Kieran’s routine are his own mild-mannered moderation - which leaves you wishing, to steal a cycling phrase, that he’d lean into the corners a little more, turn up the volume and execute his pitch-perfect comedic manoeuvres; and the risk of his self-deprecating style moving past trademark and becoming predictable.
A character comedy drawing from Hodgson’s real-life escapades and delivering self- deprecatingly clueless Yorkshire personas, Lance is a delightful work of honest humour. Although, as Lance teaches him, sometimes bending the truth can inspire and amuse boundlessly. Or, in other words, ‘lying is magic’; and so is Kieran Hodgson.