One of the few good things to come out of the recession was the fact that it brought the quick-witted Frank Skinner back to our TV screens after he lost most of his life savings in the banking crisis.
As Skinner’s chat show Opinionated returns for a second series on BBC2 (Friday, March 25), TV&Satellite Week magazine sat the teetotal comic, one-hit wonder and football fan down for a quick chat about the show, pub talk and poetry…
Do you consider yourself an opinionated person?
“My views on things change regularly and, when people say you’ve contradicted yourself, I don’t think it matters. It just depends on how I’m feeling that day.”
Your show is a bit like a chat down the pub. Would you agree?
“Well, I don’t drink now, so maybe that’s the reason I came up with Opinionated, because I miss those chats with mates down the pub.”
You get the audience involved in the show. Can that be unnerving?
“The great thing about interacting with the audience is no one knows where it’s going. Someone will say something unusual and you think: ‘I doubt I’ll ever do comedy about that subject again!’”
After losing lots of money in the banking crisis, do you have strong views about the people who got us into this mess?
“I guess there aren’t many situations where you can trust a human being to do the decent thing. It seems a bit harsh that the bankers lost all the money, but the ordinary bloke working for the council loses his job. I blame the government for not saving the bankers from themselves.”
You’re a big football fan, but do you follow other sports?
“My interest in football is pretty much limited to watching West Brom and England. But to my girlfriend’s consternation, I have watched every ball of England’s cricket World Cup games. She said: ‘If I got up and watched eight hours of Come Dine with Me you’d be outraged.’”
Since your other half likes Come Dine with Me, do you ever cook for her?
“I recently cooked fresh spaghetti and pesto for her, but she doesn’t eat wheat. It’s ready in two minutes and I don’t believe in taking longer to prepare a meal than it does to eat it.”
Are you excited about Roy Hodgson managing West Brom?
“I like the idea that he literally looks like a wise old owl and the fact that he’s seen it all before. There aren’t many managers like that left in English football, and I don’t think he’s given up on the England job.”
What did you make of the recent Ashley Cole shooting story?
“He has really raised the bar by shooting somebody. I love that he has managed to incorporate ‘broken Britain’ into the whole anti-Premier League footballer debate.”
Will you ever revive Fantasy Football League with David Baddiel?
“Fantasy Football League has been superceded by other programmes. When we were doing it, it was very original, but now everyone’s showing funny football clips. What the newer shows don’t have is that feeling of nostalgia, though I’m not convinced people want it any more.”
You have a Masters in English literature. Do you still read the classics?
“I’ve been getting into modern poetry recently. I can’t write poetry, even though I work with words, but I do write songs to play on my banjolele. Mind you, in my opinion, any comic who brings out a book of poetry should be executed.”