When What’s On TV joined Simon Amstell and his Grandma’s House co-stars Rebecca Front, Samantha Spiro, Linda Basset and co-writer Dan Swimer, Simon explained what new fun is in store in the second series of his hit comedy…

How would you describe the reaction to the first series?
“I think it was a really unclear reaction. At first people didn’t know what it was – was it a comedy or was it a drama, then: ‘What the hell is this?’ At first, I didn’t know whether I would have to leave the country in shame but I’m still here, I guess, so it must’ve been OK in the end.”

Was it hard to film the second series without the late Geoffrey Hutchings, who played Grandpa in the first run?
“There’s no doubt about it, it did feel strange at first and we still miss him. We decided to make it six months after the funeral. Because the character had cancer in the first series it was easy to write in so we didn’t have to come up with anything crazy. I missed him while writing it. Also his character was so funny, but it did make everything worse for everyone. The fact Simon’s grandpa is no longer with us has cranked it all up. It’s kind of driving the situation more and the tension is palpable. We join them all at a heightened time, Simon has moved in with his grandmother. She was already emotionally closed, and now she’s even more in denial about the death of her husband and even more unable to cope with reality.”

So is there even more tension between the sisters – his mum Tanya and moustached Liz?
“The sisters have never really got on but now haven’t spoken for six months, ever since the funeral. Grandpa was such a calming character in the house. No character in the show now can accept another character. So I guess that’s why it feels a bit more intense this time.”

You came in for a bit of stick for your acting first time around didn’t you?
“I just play myself… brilliantly! We address that in the opening episode and we kind of addressed it in the first series, too. It was something we always found funny to mention so we’ve gone even more nuts about that this time around. And because my character is now living in Grandma’s box room, there’s so much more scope for tension.”

Do people ever assume that the cast are your real family?
“Yeah, my real family think that! Or they think it’s based on them at the very least. But I’ve said before and it’s true, that even if you want to take your actual family and put them on screen it would be an impossible task, because it’s always your own perception. There are so many people that make up these characters in the same way that my character isn’t totally me. The mother character is made up of various different people as are the others. Also, the actors come in and bring a different feel to it themselves, things we weren’t expecting.”

In this week’s opening episode, you have your very first screen kiss – with Oliver Coopersmith playing teenager Mark. How was it for you?
“I was very tense and I think we filmed that scene at about 8am. It was also something that hadn’t appeared in the script when the actor auditioned. It turned out that the script was about three minutes shorter that it needed to be so we ended up improvising various things. The bathroom scene where it takes place did not exist in the original script. So we improvised some fabulously awkward stuff handing over this towel in the bathroom…”

So how did the kiss go?
“I said to the director: ‘Should I tell the actor that I don’t fancy him? And she was like: ‘No that’s rude, don’t say that!’ But the actor was really cool about it and we called each other dude quite a lot. But he was a lovely kisser. I just kissed him how I’d normally kiss someone. Simon sort of gets kissed as opposed to instigating it, so I could appear a bit tense and anxious about it so that was alright. But watching it back I was like: ‘Oh my God!’ That’s a strange thing to see.”

Grandma’s House starts on Thursday 19 April on BBC2 at 10pm