Russell Tovey stars in the second series of Him & Her this week, and he'll also be providing the voice of a magical dragon in a new kids cartoon series Mike The Knight. The Being Human star spoke exclusively to What’s On TV about both shows... How does the first episode of Him & Her kick off? “Well, Becky’s moved in permanently now, and she’s trying to feminise the flat with fairy lights and all girlie things. Sarah Solemani, who plays Becky, was desperate to get a box of Tampax in there. I suppose theirs is a love story so it’s a natural progression. He’s happy I think now she’s in. But he’s a bit OCD about his rules, like hanging clothes in the wardrobe and things like that. She just tells him to shut up! Gradually the flat becomes nicer throughout this series. It sort of becomes Becky’s flat.” Steve’s ex-girlfriend turns up in the first episode, too, doesn’t she? “Yep, Julie with the big tits (that’s in the script by the way, not me!) She’s a tough cookie and intimidates Steve. The relationship they had before was completely unbalanced. She walked all over him. And now she wants him back because now he’s happy. It throws Becky. You’d expect her to be stronger. In the first series, Steve had anxieties about her ex-boyfriend, Lee, but in this series it’s Becky’s anxiety. She’s also thrown that her sister Laura decides she wants to be Julie’s new best friend and just talks about her the whole time. Julie has an impact throughout the series.” How do you keep a straight face filming Him & Her? “We’re for ever not completing scenes because we’re always laughing, so we sometimes have to stay quite late on set! Me and Ricky Champ had a scene in the loo, where Steve has to check Paul’s private parts for a lump, which we really had trouble finishing because of the corpsing. It was ridiculous. I mean, I had to finger his tackle! Look out for that bit in episode five! But the girls probably get it worse, like having to do a poo on the toilet. How embarrassing must that have been for Sarah?” How do you cope with all the farting and burping you seem to do on screen? “Well not all of it’s dubbed, some are real! I can almost do it on cue now, and odourless! With this show, if you’ve got one brewing you can kind of release it even if it’s not scripted! I’m a good burper - it’s on my CV! Life taught me that, and eating too fast! I do have excess wind and you can quote me on that!” Can you tell us a little about your CBeebies cartoon series Mike The Knight? “It’s an awesome new kids' TV show that adults can get into as well. We’ve made 52 episodes and I play Squirt the dragon who is Mike’s faithful companion. He’s very generous, kind, lovely and funny and a big scaredy cat. Sparky, the other dragon, breathes fire while Squirt squirts water. They are the yin and yang of life! Squirt’s the calmer – while Sparky is more... sparky! So did you have to alter your voice to play a cartoon character? "My voice goes a lot higher and a bit squeakier. He’s not as mature as Russell. He’s like a little doting puppy dog. I love animation anyway – am a huge fan and I thought this one had a really special script." Are the younger members of your family excited about you doing kids TV? “I have two nephews – Nathan and McKenzie aged seven and four - and they’re excited about it. I got given some merchandise – and they loved that, especially the picture of Mike the Knight on it. They love knights and things like that. At the minute there has been a lot about vampires and werewolves, which is great, but I feel the next movement – at the moment it’s superheroes with Captain America – I think knights and Robin Hood will come back again! I feel this is going to be riding a wave. For a period there was dinosaurs and robots and then vampires and I feel it’ll go back to the olde worlde Robin Hood-style world again.” What did you enjoy when you were a kid? “Everything that was Disney. Also, and I shouldn’t have been allowed to watch it, but Beavis and Butthead. I used to loved CBBC when I got back from school. The Moomins and Muppet Babies I loved as well – plus Fraggle Rock! I used to want to be an animator when I was a kid. I used to draw cartoons all the time. I got into acting I suppose because I loved animation, like Robin Williams doing the voice of the genie in Aladdin which I still think is up there as one of the best cartoon performances ever.” Can you briefly tell us about your part in the new Sherlock on BBC1? “It’s the Hound of the Baskervilles episode and I’m quite posh in it! I play Henry – and it’s going to be good!” You tweet quite a lot don’t you? “Twitter - I love it! The thing about it is it’s so instant. I went to Luton Airport the other day and there were all these police and I couldn’t get in and so I typed into twitter Luton Airport and it come up and said there was an evacuation. Any information you want, you just go there. Also, any reviews you want for TV shows or films – instantly you get a reaction from the public. It’s terrifying, but amazing.” *Him & Her begins on BBC3, Tuesday, November 1; Mike The Knight starts on Monday, October 31 at 4.05pm on CBeebies
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