As sitcom Bad Move returns for a new series, the show's writer and star Jack Dee reveals how his own move to the country didn't quite go according to plan...
Following a hugely popular first outing last year, comedian Jack Dee returns next week with a second series of his ITV sitcom, Bad Move.
As the six-part comedy begins, it seems the grass still isn’t any greener for husband and wife country-dwellers Steve and Nicky (played by Derek’s Kerry Godliman), who continue to face an uphill struggle in their quest to create their dream home. And returning to give them further headache are nuisance neighbours Matt (Miles Jupp) and Meena (Manjinder Virk) and local rock star Grizzo, played by comic Seann Walsh, who’s among the line-up for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Here, Jack Dee, 56, teases what’s to come this series and considers the highs and lows of country living…
Life’s still no better for Steve… “It’s slightly worse really. At the start of this series, Steve and Nicky are trying to get a builder in to fix a roof that was smashed up at the end of the last series. They can’t find a decent builder anywhere but, when they do, he’s almost too decent. He’s called Honest John!”
Steve thinks his building nightmare will be solved by ‘Honest John’. But is honesty always the best policy?
Bad Move is what sitcoms are always about… “It’s that idea of making a bad decision, a bad choice in life and being stuck in a situation you don’t want to be in. There always has to be a dilemma in this series and it’s one that’s usually badly managed, especially by Steve. I like that this show is also about these personalities from around the village – useless neighbours, pretentious kids, busybody old women – encroaching on Steve and Nicky and how they impact on their lives.”
Writing series two was easier… “When I was writing the first series, it hadn’t been cast, so everything very much existed in my head. But with the second series, I knew how Kerry or Miles would do things. I also knew what the set and the house was like, so it was good to be able to write with that knowledge in place. All the cast get on well, so coming back for series two was a nice reunion.”
As if Steve didn’t have enough on his plate, neighbours Matt [Miles Jupp] and Meena [Manjinder Virk] are still proving a nuisance
I do love a big village event… “Certain villages in the UK have these slightly strange events that are unique to that village, and we discovered there’s something called ‘Burning Bartle’ up in Yorkshire. It’s basically a big excuse for getting drunk and wandering around the village with flaming torches and a scarecrow, which ends up being set on fire. But it’s mostly about the drinking. So, for one of our episodes, we imagined a tradition that went on, that no one fully understood the origins of, that Steve gets roped into against his will.”
I’ve made my own Bad Move… “My wife and I attempted to move to the country once. We bought a house and did it up but by the time we’d done that we realised we didn’t actually want to live there! We had the place for two or three years, did everything we wanted to do to it, spent a couple of summers there but I found it made my work life incredibly difficult, and we couldn’t quite get to grips with the silence outside. The darkness. I grew up in the country so I should be used to it but I still prefer knowing there’s a bit of action going on outside the house for some reason. Even if it’s just police sirens, I find that weirdly comforting.”
Jack Dee doesn’t have much to smile about as country-dweller Steve
I don’t like watching myself… “I find that pretty difficult. Watching myself in the editing suite as Steve, I sit there saying: ‘Is there a take where he’s less miserable’ and everyone in the room says: ‘What? That’s what we want!’ To me, I’m just acting normally, so I’m totally unaware of the gloom I’m projecting all the time. I am a happy person I just don’t have a very happy face.”
Bad Move, starring Jack Dee and Kerry Godliman, returns on Wednesday September 19th at 8pm on ITV.