David Schwimmer: I was dealing with an ear injury filming Intelligence

David Schwimmer stars alongside Nick Mohammed in this British comedy.
David Schwimmer stars alongside Nick Mohammed in this British comedy. (Image credit: Sky One)

It’s hard to keep David Schwimmer out of the news right now. As well as reuniting recently with the cast of classic sitcom Friends for a special reunion episode, he’s also back as the star of Intelligence Season 2, which starts on Sky One and Now in the UK on June 8.

Schwimmer plays ambitious US agent Jerry Bernstein, who has been assigned to UK spy headquarters GCHQ as part of the cyber crimes unit — where he works alongside his faithful sidekick Joseph Harries (show creator Nick Mohammed).

After he narrowly escaped being sent home to face treason charges last time out, the American is desperate to redeem himself and gets the chance to impress his superiors when rogue operatives launch a lethal attack on the UK.

Yet while Jerry and Joseph race to stop US cyberweapon nicknamed Eternal Blue falling into the wrong hands, there's a bromance brewing between the pair of hapless security operatives, as David Schwimmer explains... 

David Schwimmer on the new series

"Jerry's in further pursuit of power and trying to work his way up the ladder as much as he can," David explains. "Maybe he’s harbouring some secret fantasy of running for president, he certainly thinks very highly of himself and believes he should be in charge of pretty much everything. 

"We find him pursuing anything that will elevate his status and give him more power. But at the same time there’s a real attachment, a bromance forming between Jerry and Joseph. Jerry’s feelings and real friendship for Joseph, are growing deeper, I think."

David on making the show

"We'd settled in by the end of series one as an ensemble and by the time we started series two, everyone hit the ground running because we felt pretty confident in the characters and the dynamics and the relationships.

"So coming back seemed like slipping into a really comfortable jacket. Although obviously the working conditions were quite different with Covid!"

David on the reaction to Intelligence Season 1

"In the States I think it was less on the radar but of course I brought it to the attention of my friends and family and people who follow my Instagram. I made them subscribe to Peacock!

He adds: "From what I understand it was pretty well received in the UK, so my UK friends and family really enjoyed it. So, I’m happy."

Intelligence season 2

Jerry Bernstein is desperate to impress his boss Christine Cranfield. (Image credit: Sky One)

David on improvising during filming

"It’s the most liberating experience," says David. "There’s a kind of natural thing where performance kind of falls away, and it’s just Nick and me, and we have a chemistry and ease with our characters. As actors we can forget about acting, in a way, and just be present. There’s a lot of trust in the other actor and a comfort and ease and we just kind of fall into this nice dynamic that’s a real pleasure.

"My favourite scenes are those where you just stay with those two characters for a little while. At the best times, I found myself totally forgetting we were filming; we were just in a state of flow and those moments are an absolute dream as an actor."

David on rupturing his eardrum

"It was a tough shoot on everyone in terms of Covid, but I was also unfortunate because I was dealing with an ear injury and I had to take different medications just to be able to get through shooting without real pain and discomfort at times," explains David. 

"I injured my ear when I was trying to make my daughter laugh. We’d been visiting people who had a place with a pool and I was standing at the edge of the pool and did a kind of dead fall into the pool and I slammed my ear at such a perfect angle that I immediately ruptured my eardrum, and I gave myself an inner ear concussion.

"That healed eventually after six weeks, but then a whole new condition migrated into both ears and gave me a combination of tinnitus and something called hyperacusis. It’s finally just on its way out now. It’s been seven months. It’s crazy.

"I have bad days and good days. The thing that bothers it the most is talking. So, if I talk too much and at significant volume, it generates the ringing. That’s why being that character, who’s pretty loud, was challenging at times!"

Intelligence Season 2 will arrive on Sky One and streaming service NOW on Tuesday 8 June. In the US the series will be streaming on Peacock in the US from Thursday 17 June.

Intelligence Season 2

Intelligence Season 2: Jerry Bernstein and Jospeh Harries are back for a second series, joining David Schwimmer. (Image credit: Sky One)
Sean Marland

Sean is a Senior Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week, who also writes for whattowatch.com. He's been covering the world of TV for over 15 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are I'm Alan Partridge, The Wire, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.