Steve Coogan has told Sky News film and TV podcast Backstage that he and Rob Brydon thought The Trip was “a stupid idea” when it was first suggested to them.
A mash-up of travel documentary and comedy drama, the sitcom sees the pair eating and drinking their way around Europe while making fun of one another and doing impressions of other stars.
After enjoying critical acclaim, it will return for its final series, set in Greece, next week.
Coogan admits he initially said no when director Michael Winterbottom suggested the idea.
He said: “Michael wanted us to do it, kept begging us to do it, Rob and I didn’t want to do it.
“We thought it was a stupid idea, we thought it was self-indulgent, it was narcissistic, that it would just vanish up itself and all that kind of stuff.”
But the comedian said that once they got started, he quickly saw its potential.
“We said, ‘Okay, we’ll try it, we’ll try it’, and then after the first week in Yorkshire, the very first thing we did, I think it was at the end of the first week, we’d done a few days, and I remember I looked at Rob and said ‘I think this is gonna be good’.
“I said, at least they won’t be able to say it’s another one of ‘those shows’.
“And then, yeah, it was a wonderful surprise, we never really thought it would work.”
The Trip to Greece is the fourth series of the programme, which started in 2010 with The Trip – set in the north of England.
The second series in 2014 saw Coogan and Brydon head to Italy, while the last one – which aired in 2017 – was set in Spain.
The pair play fictionalised versions of themselves, and it’s not always clear where the actors end and the characters begin.
Coogan told Sky News he is emotional about it being their last outing.
He said: “I’m a little bit sad about it coming to an end because I’ve loved going around the world, or going around Europe at least, with Rob Brydon.
“And yeah, it was tinged with a little sadness toward the end of it.
“They [the series] were a big part of my life for a long time and an education for me, I was very lucky to be able to do them because I saw some of the most beautiful places in the world and ate the most beautiful food and if I’d had beautiful company, that would’ve been even better, but nevermind, I put up with Rob Brydon and that was okay.”
To listen to the interview, download the latest episode of Backstage, the TV and film podcast from Sky News.
The Trip To Greece starts on Sky One on Tuesday 3 March