James Buckley: 'I should be on TV a lot more but I'm stubborn'

After a successful three-part pilot, Buckley returns as Brian Weaver in a full series of Zapped.

Inbetweeners star James Buckley says he should be on TV a lot more but isn't because 'I’m very stubborn and it will inevitably kill me off professionally'

James Buckley made his name in the cult coming of age sitcom The Inbetweeners, but he’s back soon for a second series of the fantasy comedy Zapped! on Dave playing office temp Brian Weaver, who gets trapped in a zany parallel universe called Munty.

Here James Buckley tells What's On TV more...

What's on TV: Zapped! is a pretty wacky comedy. Tell us about the second series?

James Buckley: Yeah, it’s a weird idea! The first series was basically about Brian wanting to get home to the real world, but this time around we get to see how he lives day to day in Munty, which I think is funnier. Obviously getting home is still always on the back burner, but it’s great to explore the other characters more.

WOTV: Brian’s a bit of a loser, isn’t he?

JB: He is! Back home he’s the idiot and nobody in the real world misses him. What’s interesting is that maybe he’s actually better off in Munty – there’s a bit of a dysfunctional family and people who genuinely care about him!

WOTV: It’s a funny show, so how do you keep a straight face while filming?

JB: We don’t. There’s a lot of laughing on set! Doing comedy is the most fun because you’re working with people who are funny and you all make each other laugh. That’s how I want to live my life, so whenever I get a script through, the first thing I ask is, will it be fun? There’s no point doing this job unless you’re having a good time!

WOTV: Is that why you’ve turned down parts in big mainstream comedies?

JB: Basically I’m drawn to projects that are a bit weird, I don’t know why! After something like The Inbetweeners, everyone wants you to be in their sitcom, big popular sitcoms as well, but I don’t want to do anything that I don’t believe in or I don’t think will be fun. I should be on TV a lot more than I am, but I’m very stubborn and it will inevitably kill me off professionally!

WOTV: The Inbetweeners was such a cult hit, so do you still get recognised as Jay Cartwright?

JB: Yeah I do! It was such a long time ago and for it to still mean so much to people is amazing. I thought the show was funny when I first signed up to do it, but I wasn’t sure anyone else would!

WOTV: Do you have any TV heroes?

JB: Russell Brand is one of them. I grew up thinking I was going to be a painter and decorator or a postman, but he showed me that you can come from Essex and make a career out of being funny.

WOTV: We loved you in BBC2 comedy White Gold, is that coming back?

JB: Yeah, we start work on the new series in a couple of weeks. That’s just Damon and Joe and a lot of the other Inbetweeners crew, that’s what we do, that’s just our thing. I love doing it and I love working with Damon and Joe again.

WOTV: Do you fancy doing straight stuff?

JB: I used to get told all the time that I was funny and I make people laugh but I don’t consider myself to be funny at all. I think I’m funny when people write funny things for me to say. I always just thought that I was an actor and… but the only thing I have learned is that comedy is just the most fun. I wouldn’t say never to a dramatic role or a serious role. It would just have to be something that I’d think would be fun. That’s all I care about really. There’s no point doing this job unless you’re having a good time.

Zapped returns to Dave on Thursday October 12

Sean Marland
Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV, TV & Satellite Week and whattowatch.com

Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 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 The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.