I am still a little worried that Harvey Easter, the indefatigably cheery protaganist of Mr Blue Sky, will someday soon rip the mask of optimism from his face and go on a killing rampage, starting with his live-in son-in-law-to-be. As this young man, a grimestep DJ who is paid in energy drinks and therefore returns to the Easter household at 5am on a Red Bull high, is called Kill-R, it will give Harvey the opportunity to snarl: "Who's the killer now?" as he takes aim.
When I reviewed last year's first series of Andrew Collins' slow-burning hit comedy, I thought Harvey was bound to 'reverse into gloom' at some stage. The second series opened with his entire family kidnapped and replaced almost wholesale by the cast of TV's Outnumbered, but plucky old Harvey just got on with the job of being happy.
So Mark Benton's Harvey, a performance which is an essay in finely nuanced felicity (and how much harder must this be to play than the sobs of a broken man?) didn't falter even though the detached irony of Rebecca Front, last year's Mrs E, was replaced by Claire Skinner bringing with her Tyger Drew-Honey, both from Outnumbered. Skinner is the leading exponent of wringing comedic value out of the middle-class mum, determined never to yell "Because I said so." And I'm sure I'll get used to her in this, but for now I can't imagine her without chiselled-jawed, puppy-eyed Hugh Dennis as the husband who is a perpetual disappointment.
Tyger took over the role of 16-year-old Robbie with aplomb, asking for money to buy fruit - street slang for drugs - while their older child and bride-to-be, Charlie, was played by Rosamund Hanson with a quirkiness heightened by what was either a speech impediment or a plethora of tongue piercings. The darkness in this solidly engineered comedy, it transpires, is not embedded in Harvey's alter-ego, but swirls all around him as he attempts to hold it back like the tone-deaf, out-of-condition superhero he is.Moira Petty, The Stage, 11th April 2012
RT's film editor opens up about the series he hopes will get families gathering around the wireless again.Andrew Collins, Radio Times, 9th April 2012
Those following my Electric Light Orchestra-themed headlines this week will have guessed today's. For today is Day Seven, the final day of the recording of Series 2 of Mr Blue Sky.Andrew Collins, 16th March 2012
Having recorded outside in the car park on Tuesday, and in a van in the car park yesterday, studio director Wilfredo had us all outside in the cloudless sunshine again this morning for some more exterior scenes.Andrew Collins, 15th March 2012
It's weird to sit on this side of the glass. The actors know that we can hear every word they're saying when they're in there, but unless we press "talkback", they can't hear us. It's an unfair dynamic, but it spells out who's boss.Andrew Collins, 13th March 2012
Day Three of Mr Blue Sky, and it's all slotting together. We had an easy morning, in that we recorded all of Harvey's monologues.Andrew Collins, 12th March 2012
Day Two of Mr Blue Sky Series 2. The palatial middle studio at Soundhouse on what is now an ominously deserted industrial estate in Shepherd's Bush is our place of work until the end of next week.Andrew Collins, 9th March 2012