Him & Her
Friday, September 3 2010
By Morgan Jeffery, TV Reporter
Prepare to face the truth about modern romance. New BBC Three comedy Him & Her is less about flowers and chocolates, and more about man flu and toast crumbs. The show stars DS favourite Russell Tovey as laddish layabout Steve and Sarah Solemani as his girlfriend Becky. We met up with the stars to chat about true love, farting and weird neighbours. We also managed to pressure Russell into giving us some exclusive scoop on the next series of Being Human, of course.
How would you describe your characters Steve and Becky?
Russell: "They're average Joes. Very happy being average. No aspirations apart from to love each other as much as they possibly can, and to sponge as much off the country for as long as possible, before they have to actually get a life!"
Sarah: "They're very content. They don't really want for anything. They just enjoy each other's company. They enjoy getting p*ssed, having sex, watching TV and farting."
What was it that attracted both of you to the series?
Russell: "The script and the character. I absolutely love and connect with Steve. I love the domestic kitchen sink style of it, where nothing huge happens, but so much happens within that. It gives you a chance as actors to be completely in the moment and react with this other person."
Sarah: "The script's so strong and such an accomplished piece of writing. It's all set in one room and in real time. When I read it, I couldn't believe that at last someone had written a truthful account of what goes on behind-the-scenes in a modern relationship."
The show's been described as an anti-romantic comedy. Do you agree with that?
Russell: "It's a love story. I wouldn't say there's anything 'anti' about it. It's not the Hollywood persona of a romance. You meet them at the point where they've already fallen in love. They've only been together seven months so they're still in the honeymoon period."
Sarah: "I guess it subverts that romantic pursuit of each other. They've got their romance. It's an anti-romance because there's no traditional interloper who's going to mess their relationship up. Instead of arguing about being jealous of someone, they argue about crumbs in the bed."
Russell: "It's just a very simple, very normal relationship between this couple. They have complete love and trust for each other from the off."
Do you think that young people will relate to the show?
Russell: "I think anyone of any age will buy into this on their own level. I think young kids who like talking about s**tting and p*ssing will really buy it - the Men Behaving Badly and Game On crowd. I think that the intellectuals will really buy into it on a different level . An adult might look it and say it's like their kids. Other people might say it's like their friends or it's like them, and their lives. I think it's going to hopefully have a wide appeal."
Sarah: "Ultimately what we're trying to do is create a show that's just really truthful. There were points where really funny lines got removed because they were obvious gags, and the writer Stefan [Golaszewski] didn't want the comedy to be too overt. The aim isn't to have a gag a second, the aim is capturing something and making it truthful. If people can relate to it and find it truthful, then we've succeeded."
Do you think the show is more honest about modern romance than other shows on TV?
Sarah: "Yeah, especially the male / female relationship. So often couples are depicted with women wanting more commitment or reassurance. Often, it's the man who might want that. Steve is slightly more paranoid about the relationship status than Becky is."
Russell: "She's the one who's in charge and Steve's this little man running around trying to please his lady. And she gets off on that."
Sarah: "Becky's quite inactive. I think it's exquisite the way that she doesn't do anything really. But she has her bloke, her mate and her sister, and is just content with that."
What are the supporting characters like?
Sarah: "We've got Dan, our upstairs neighbour, who's played by Joe Wilkinson. I think he's going to become a bit of a cult figure. He's this weird, dark character. You see little glimpses of his life and don't want to go there!
Russell: "It's his first TV job and he's just effortlessly brilliant."
Sarah: "There's my sister Laura, played by Kerry Howard. She's a drama queen and takes herself very seriously. She also has a loveable but psychotic fiancée, played by Ricky Champ, who's hilarious. He just comes in like a hurricane."
Is there a continuing story throughout the series or does each episode stand alone?
Russell: "They can be standalone, but the story that grows is the emotional journey of Becky and Steve's relationship. Every week, you're seeing them in a different scenario, and it grows and builds. It did for us when we were filming it. We shot every episode in sequence, in order. That's really rare to do. We completely had a journey as actors and as characters."
Sarah: "Each episode has a self-contained plot. You could tune in and understand the story but each week you follow the emotional journey of the characters and how they interact with each other. In episode six, there's a sort of finale to Becky and Steve's relationship, which is worth tuning in for."
Is this a one-off or is there potential for a second series?
Sarah: "Stefan has drafted out a second series. He's got ideas for where this goes."
Russell: "When we finished, everybody had so many ideas [for a second series] that were feasible, because we completely understand the background of all of the characters. What's incredible is that these characters never leave the flat, and yet there is so much scope for what they can go through."
Russell, are you still filming the third series of Being Human?
Russell: "We're filming until October, in Cardiff. I'm right in the thick of that."
Can you give us any hints on what's coming up?
Russell: "I take my clothes off again, of course! The threat of the first series was supernatural, the threat of the second series was human, the threat of the third series comes from within. From within the friendships. They've moved away from Bristol now and they're living in Barry Island. They're on their journey again and trying to be normal, and they can't be."
The second series was a lot darker than the first...
Russell::"Yes, the first series was lighter and the second series was dark. The third series is a combination of the two. I think it's brilliant. It's really incredible where it goes. I don't know how the writers come up with these ideas. It's amazing."
Him & Her begins Monday at 10.30pm on BBC Three.