Lee Mack’s gag-filled sitcom Not Going Out certainly has staying power, having staged a Lazarus-like return after being axed by the BBC in 2009 and surviving the departure of cast members such as Miranda Hart and Megan Dodds.
The BBC1 comedy returns for its sixth series on Friday, April 4 minus the only other original cast member besides Lee Mack himself, Tim Vine, but still manages to deliver a breathlessly high joke rate as it charts the continuing misadventures of slacker Lee, his long-suffering landlady Lucy (Sally Bretton) and their dippy friend Daisy (Katy Wix).
We caught up with Mr Mack to find out more…
At first I was worried that cast members would leave Not Going Out, but I’m getting quite used to it now… I’m still very good friends with Miranda Hart and Tim Vine. They just found other things to do.
Tim left the show purely to rehearse that Justin Timberlake routine for Let’s Dance for Comic Relief… I talk to him all the time, but it tends to be about darts and football rather than work.
Sally Bretton has the hardest job on Not Going Out… Being the romantic lead in a sitcom is the most thankless task. We all get away with doing one thing well, but she has to do about three things well.
Simon Farnaby from Horrible Histories appears in an episode as Lucy’s first boyfriend… He asks Lucy to star in an amateur dramatics production that he has written, and Lee gets very jealous. It’s an excuse for us to do a period drama, wear fancy clothes and speak in a funny language.
Bobby Ball is back as Lee’s dad… My uncle told me that, many years ago, Bobby actually met my dad in the pub my parents used to run. Although I don’t remember it, I love the fact that they actually met.
My kids are aged eight, six and one, so I’ve done a lot of children’s parties… Lucy and Lee look after a group of nine-year-olds in one of the new episodes, and that story was based on my very brief career as a children’s entertainer. It lasted one gig and was a complete disaster.
My autobiography, Mack the Life, includes conversations from my visits to a psychiatrist… For me, it was just a comedic tool for the book. I believe that therapy does a lot of people good, but you can’t go into it with one eye on writing a book. Just like you can’t take notes while you’re undergoing hypnotherapy.
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