After Hours. Willow Hannigan (James Tarpey). Copyright: Jellylegs
After Hours

After Hours (2015)

  • TV sitcom
  • Sky One
  • 2015
  • 6 episodes (1 series)

Sitcom about an 18 year old music lover who's just had his heart broken for the first time. Set around an internet radio station. Stars James Tarpey, Laura Woodward, Lewis Henry, Jaz Martin, Jaime Winstone and more.

John Thomson interview

After Hours. Image shows from L to R: Ollie (Rob Kendrick), Lauren (Jaime Winstone), Willow Hannigan (James Tarpey). Copyright: Jellylegs
After Hours. Geoff (John Thomson). Copyright: Jellylegs

What attracted you to After Hours?

The fact that Craig [Cash] was directing it was a big bonus because we are old friends and go absolutely way back. I knew that it would be good I because I know that he wouldn't just take any project. Then I read the script and I thought it was great. Geoff is a great character too.

How did you and Craig cross paths?

Caroline [Aherne] and Craig used to do a radio show in Stockport and I used to occasionally guest on their show. I knew Caroline from doing gigs with her and she lived on the same road as me for a while so the Craig connection came through her. She had known Craig for years.

What was it like working with the rest of the cast. Was it a good atmosphere on set?

It was nice to work with an Irishman again as I'm half Irish. Working with Jimmy [James Nesbitt] on Cold Feet for seven years was a joy and so to work with Ardal was a bit like history repeating itself. The chemistry is great between me and Ardal, as well as with Susan Cookson. The beauty of this script is it's very dry. You have to play it very deadpan and we found it very hard for laughing sometimes! I loved the job, it was one of those ones that I just looked forward to doing.

How would you sum up Geoff's character?

He's got a huge heart but doesn't really know how to express himself sometimes. Obviously he had a job in marketing and he's not a fool but he has difficulty in conveying his ideas. He's a bit socially awkward but he is a very likeable character. He's obviously got marriage issues with Sheila because he's desperate to win her back and some of the things he does are very touching. There's one line that I think kind of sums Geoff up - he gives Anna a shirt the night before the gig, and says, "I don't suppose you could iron my shirt Anna? The buttons confuse me". You can learn a lot from that line of dialogue alone.

A lot of the show is filmed in Lymm. Is that near your hometown?

It's about 20 minutes from Didsbury. It's on my doorstep but I didn't realise how beautiful it was. But we were cursed by the weather - the heat was a killer. On one of the early days of filming, we came back from lunch and it was just so hot. It made us hysterically giddy, we couldn't get our lines out.

After Hours. Geoff (John Thomson). Copyright: Jellylegs

Why do you think British comedies are often held in such high esteem?

We are very sophisticated. We are masters of irony, of understatement and of dryness. We've got a good lineage, and a very strong pedigree in comedy. If something is written well and you get a decent cast, like After Hours, the performances can be so natural that the jokes tell themselves.

What was the first album you bought?

It was given to me and it moulded me. I am a drummer, I've been playing since I was 11, and I remember that I was on a French exchange trip. The weather was awful and I was stuck in an apartment in the middle of Lyon. I used to listen to Stanley Clarke, School Days. He is an amazing bass player and it was one of my favourite albums of all time. It got me into my favourite kind of music, which is jazz funk and jazz fusion. I'm a bit set in my ways as far as music is concerned and I like the fact that people think I am odd. I've done stand-up at Glastonbury three times but I didn't see a single band.

What song would you say summed up your youth?

When I was about 14 or 15, my favourite British band was Level 42 and Hot Water was my favourite song.

What would be your karaoke song?

I'd do Mack the Knife or I could do one those big band or crooner songs. Something like Beyond the Sea. That's my cup of tea.

Can you sing?

I can. When I was at school, I was Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and I was Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. It was a Catholic school, you would never have guessed would you?

What radio show do you listen to?

If the radio is on, it would be Smooth FM. Up north, it's the only one that plays any soul.

Published: Monday 2nd November 2015

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