It’s good to see Stephen Merchant back on TV in this comedy cracker, Click and Collect.
Stephen plays Andy, a dad who refuses to buy his little girl a certain Christmas present because it’s so overpriced.
His neighbour, Dev (People Just Do Nothing’s Asim Chaudhry), reveals he’s tracked down the only Sparklehoof the Unicorn left – but it’s an eight-hour trip… on Christmas Eve.
TV Times rating: ****
TV Times caught up with Stephen, 44, and Asim, 31, to find out more…
How do this unlikely pair end up stuck in a car together on Christmas Eve?
Stephen: My character, Andy,
won’t buy his six-year-old daughter the gift she wants because it’s overpriced. Then the most annoying man ever, Dev, tracks down the last one in a toy shop
300 miles away and reserves it.
Asim: Dev loves Andy – he thinks he’s just so cool and funny and he wants to hang around with him. So it’s basically like real life.
Stephen: I would say that Asim is marginally more annoying.
Stephen, you appear to be dressed as an elf…?
Stephen: The car ends up in the lake and Andy’s clothes get wet, so Dev buys him the only thing he can find at a service station, which is this elf outfit. We filmed in an actual lake and tried to get our lines out before the water rose too far. I’m the one who seems to suffer in this project; Asim is unscathed. My height is also proving a hindrance because I’m driving a little Ford Focus I barely fit in – it’s painful.
Do you make a good double act?
Stephen: We have a good rapport and the comedy in this is like Laurel and Hardy, I love a bit of slapstick.
Asim: If you’ve got a tall, thin man with a fat bloke you can’t lose. I’m a big fan of Stephen’s, in fact most of my comedy is just nicking his stuff from The Office, which I grew up watching. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, isn’t it?
Stephen: Actually it’s theft. But in all seriousness, of all The Office rip-offs, People Just Do Nothing is one of my favourites.
Is there something special about being in a show that goes out on Christmas Eve?
Stephen: I have a young niece and nephew now and most of the things I’ve done have been quite adult, so it’s nice to do a family show. Growing up, I used to love planning what we would watch at Christmas, picking things we could all enjoy while my grandmother wouldn’t know what was going on and Dad would fall asleep. Basically I’m hoping my dad will sleep during Click & Collect.
Do you leave Christmas shopping until the last minute?
Stephen: I find any gift-buying stressful and I like a bargain. For years I’ve been walking down Oxford Street trying to get £3 off whatever scarf I’m trying to buy my sister…
Asim: My book has just come out, so that’s everyone’s present sorted!