Actor Russell Tovey has revealed that the writers of his new ITV sitcom The Job Lot have struck the right tone – despite being terrified of the show patronising the unemployed.

The Him and Her actor, who plays a Job Centre worker in the new show – which observes the day to day life of the centre and its jobseekers – said the writers went to great lengths to ensure it was respectful.

“The Job Lot is very truthful,” he said. “I think it has some really nice takes on a jobseeker.

“They’re not just going, ‘Oh my life is rubbish’, they’re actually just getting on with it, whereas I think the employees of the Jobcentre in the show are going, ‘Oh my life is rubbish’ and we’re in full employment. There’s that kind of comparison.

He added: “It’s making more fun of the people who work there and the writers did so much research and were terrified, because it comes back to them if anyone watching found it patronising or rude to those struggling to find work or money.”

Russell added that while the show might be a comedy, getting into character was a serious business.

“I don’t take notes on characters, so getting into character is a mental thing,” he admitted.

“Otherwise you might look into the mirror and see what you look like when you cry. What? Does no-one else do that? Whoops! Busted!”

The Job Lot kicks off on April 29 at 9.30pm.