The Harpers are back!

My Family’s Robert Lindsay gives us the lowdown on the new series

It’s the tenth series, did you ever imagine Mr Family would be so popular?

“We knew early on the critics didn’t like it but we’ve worked our way into the hearts of the nation. I don’t think My Family is a sitcom in a traditional sense – it’s more of a sketch show of family life – it can go anywhere!”

What can we expect in the first episode?

“The council begin sending Ben Harper disability cheques and a disability car sticker and he decides to use them! Of course it backfires on him. It’s not PC but it’s very funny. I’ve really enjoyed doing this series. I think it’s particularly strong.”

Can you tell us about Michael’s revelation in the second episode that he’s gay?

“Michael (Gabriel Thomson) comes out to Ben when he comes home late one night a bit drunk. Susan (Zoe Wanamaker) is completely affronted because Michael didn’t come out to her!”

How does Ben react?

“There was a good stage note in the script: ‘Ben reorganises his brain.’ It’s brilliantly written – terribly funny and also very touching. It turns Ben into a human being for once!”

Is it hard to strike the correct balance with big subjects like this?

“Pre-watershed comedy always treads a fine line, it’s never going to be radical or left wing. This is a show people can watch with their families.”

What guest stars will we see this year?

“Penelope Wilton in the first episode is particularly wonderful. And there’s an array of other great guest stars including Phil Davis – and Rolf Harris appears in series 11!”

What do you think the secret to the show is?

“I think the chemistry between me and Zoe probably has a lot to do with it. Ben and Susan absolutely adore each other, they’re so in love with each other. It’s hugely popular. I don’t think I’ve had this kind of TV popularity since I did Citizen Smith in the 70s.”

My Family returns on Friday July 9 at 9pm on BBC1

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