Tom Rosenthal and Ryan Sampson reveal ITV2 sitcom Plebs is raising the bar when it returns with series four
If you’ve watched Friday Night Dinners you’ll know comic actor Tom Rosenthal isn’t shy about getting stuck into embarrassing situations. The same is true for his role as Marcus in ITV2’s Plebs, which returns for a fourth series, opening with a double-bill on Monday 9th April.
Plebs follows the misadventures of Stylax, Marcus (Tom Rosenthal) and Grumio (Ryan Sampson) – except in this new series it doesn’t. Stylax, played by Joel Fry, is written out in episode one (we’re not a liberty to say how he exits but it’s memorable), while Jonathan Pointing is written in as Jason.
Here we talk to Plebs originals Tom Rosenthal and Ryan Sampson, who reveal series four is going in a new direction…
How does it feel to get a fourth series?
Ryan Sampson: “I’ve never got to a fourth series of anything before. It seems like there’s a real barrier at three because so often the scripts run out of ideas, or you all hate each other! What’s really exciting is this is a sort of reboot, pushing the show in a different direction. The whole series feels like it has an exciting new angle.”
The new angle involves the gang acquiring an unused public toilet, which they rebrand into The Crown and Toga wine bar, a fertile ground for comedy…
Ryan: “It’s largely about these losers struggling to make this failing business work, which is a totally different direction to what’s been before. It’s allowed us to do different things.”
What can you reveal about Stylax’s exit?
Ryan: “It’s all or nothing for the makers Plebs. If Stylax is going to go, they’re going to fully embrace it in the first episode.”
He’s quickly succeeded by Pls Like star Jonathan Pointing, who plays Jason. How does he fit into the group?
Tom Rosenthal: “I suspect people will really warm to Jason, he’s an annoyingly likeable guy and Jon’s an amazing actor. Obviously some Plebs fans are going to miss Joel as Stylax but it’s not like Jon’s replacing him.”
The props are fantastic in the new series – especially in episode two when Grumio comes up with a novel menu concept to attract punters – like something you’d see in Father Ted or Black Books…
Ryan: “The props are really good. Filming the second episode where Grumio is a chef pushes it a bit. The Art Department work on huge blockbusters where they make beautiful sculptures but for Plebs they were in the corner trying to stuff a squid into a squirrel!”
Tom: “It was a nightmare for the Art Department trying to figure out what animal they could stuff into other animals. The director was obsessed with it. He was sent pictures and he kept going up to random people showing them the horrific monsters he’d created!”
And what about the gross-out humour we’ve come to expect?
Tom: “In episode one quite a few women were charged with spitting at me. It was a strange time in my life trying to convince a 90 year-old Bulgarian woman to spit in my face when she really didn’t want to! But yes that’s happened in my life now – a nice, old Bulgarian lady has spat right in my face.”
Your character Marcus does seem to bear the brunt of it!
Tom: “In the second episode I get piss poured on me about three times too. But that’s the job really. There’s no point being in Plebs if you’re not into being humiliated in every single way possible. If you ever need someone to be spat at or get piss thrown on him, I’m your guy – it’s on my show reel now!”
Series four of Plebs starts on Monday 9th April on ITV2 at 10pm with a double-bill. Guest stars include Robert Lindsay, Ollie Locke and Annette Badland.