Episodes star Tamsin Greig: 'Why I love jokes that are close to the bone'

Tamsin Greig, diana
(Image credit: PA Wire/PA Images)

As hit BBC2 comedy Episodes returns for its final series, Tamsin Greig talks risky jokes, shooting with Matt LeBlanc and why it's time to leave the party!

Actress Tamsin Greig is back as screen-writer Beverly Lincoln in the fifth and final series of  BBC2's hit comedy Episodes, which is set behind the scenes of Hollywood and also stars Matt LeBlanc and Stephen Mangan.

Here Tamsin Greig tells What's On TV  about going shooting with Matt LeBlanc, why she loves jokes that are close to the bone, and how she’s prepared herself to say a final goodbye to Episodes…

What's On TV: How is Beverly finding working with Matt (Matt LeBlanc, who's also spoken us) this series?

Tamsin Greig: "So Beverly and Sean (Stephen Mangan) can’t get rid of this monkey on their backs! They’re trying to write stuff with him and his ideas are really terrible. He comes up with an idea for a show that’s called Whores!! but the best thing about it is that it’s got two exclamation marks after it! So it’s an ongoing terrible triangle of us trying to contain him – but his wonderful imagination just can’t be stopped!"

WOTV: There’s an episode where they go to Matt’s ranch, too…

TG: "Yes, we go to Matt’s ranch to do some writing and Matt says it would be a good idea to do some shooting – not television, actually shooting things!"

WOTV: What do you enjoy most about being on the show?

TG: "The quality of the writing is sublime and that doesn’t happen a lot on other shows... You know, Matt’s playing a brilliant version of himself, a dark, manipulated CGI’d version of himself and that’s what a great actor does."


Sean (STEPHEN MANGAN), and Beverly (TAMSIN GREIG) (Image credit: BBC/Hat Trick Productions Ltd/So)

WOTV: Both Matt and the writers are American. Have there been moments when you’ve not understood each other?

TG: "Yes, it’s a different language! So I say I don’t know what a nightstand is and they laugh at me and say it’s a bedside table! But you have to put your head above the parapet and say,'I’m sorry I don’t know what you’re talking about.'"

WOTV: Some of the jokes are a bit close to the bone, were you worried about that?TG: "I think the closer to the knuckle the better! When you handle them delicately then it makes them beautiful and shows the humanness of people and how flawed and thoughtless people are."

Beverly Lincoln [TAMSIN GREIG], Matt LeBlanc, Sean Lincoln [STEPHEN MANGAN]

Beverly Lincoln [TAMSIN GREIG], Matt LeBlanc, Sean Lincoln [STEPHEN MANGAN] (Image credit: BBC/HatTrick)

WOTV: How do you feel about the show coming to an end?

TG: "I’m fine! I’m a real fan of the bravery of knowing when to leave a party. When it’s time to go home it’s time to go home. It’s a really well told tale, it’s very well balanced and beautifully structured and the place that it gets to is so effective and nourishing, you just go, ‘Oh yeah of course’. I’m happier than anyone that this job came my way!"

Episodes Season 5 begins Friday March 30th, BBC2

Main pic: PA Wire/PA Images

Tess Lamacraft
Senior Writer for What's On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite week, Whattowatch.com

Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.