Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration. Miranda Hart. Copyright: Monkey Kingdom.

Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration

BBC One comedy celebration of Miranda. 1 episode in 2020. Stars Miranda Hart, Sarah Hadland, Patricia Hodge, Sally Phillips and others.

Watch on BBC iPlayer

Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration. Image shows from L to R: Sarah Hadland, Miranda Hart, Sally Phillips, Patricia Hodge. Copyright: Monkey Kingdom.

Cast interview

Miranda Hart, Sarah Hadland, Patricia Hodge and Sally Phillips are celebrating 10 years of the hit TV sitcom Miranda in a one-off special...

What can you tell us about My Such Fun Celebration?

Patricia: It's a celebration, bringing us all back together and creating a fun show out of it.

Sally: It's a cross between a variety show, a chat show and a cup of tea round Miranda's house.

Miranda: Well, I can tell you it truly was a such fun celebration and to a level I could never have anticipated. Every part of the show was celebrated and we also had underlying messages such as learning to accept your uniqueness which was given an ovation. I felt genuinely overwhelmed by the loving response. Miranda was a show that harked back to traditional musical hall style comedy as well as being a contemporary sitcom so filming it at the London Palladium meant I packed it with sketches, dance numbers and guests.

There's a moment with one guest that I am really proud of that felt very Morecambe & Wise; who - as you know - continue to be my comedy inspiration and heroes. In rehearsals we ended up calling it a 'musical rom com scripted comedy chat show' and that kind of sums it up really! There's a bit of everything. And personally it was a surreal dream come true to perform at the Palladium again, but for a show about my own show - that is something I could never have imagined.
Sarah: It was absolutely brilliant. I think we were all quite unsure about what form it was going to take, but the night itself was just fantastic to be part of; it was amazing. Obviously we knew it was going to be really good fun to see different people again from various episodes, and of course, the core cast, but it was just wonderful.

The fans that came to see the show responded really well and it was a really special feeling to hear all the fans enjoying the references to the show. It was just a great night and I think it's a really unique combination of a celebration of the show including music, dance and classic Miranda moments that people enjoyed, it's all in there. It's something I think the fans will really love.

Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration. Image shows from L to R: Sarah Hadland, Miranda Hart, Sally Phillips, Patricia Hodge. Copyright: Monkey Kingdom.

What has the reaction from the fans been since you announced the celebration show?

Miranda: It has been incredibly and surprisingly moving. It really feels like the show has taken on a new life since it was announced. A new young audience have found the show for the first time and those who liked it from the off still seem to watch it and hold it dear to their hearts. Some of the messages have moved me to tears, in honesty. And I think that is because, although the show started as something just for big laughs, it has now become relevant on a new level in terms of the pertinence of messages for people suffering from anxiety and depression and illness - the message to accept yourself, that everyone feels out of place, that you don't have to aspire to be a certain way to be loved. If we had celebrated Miranda's first birthday we wouldn't have been focussing on that, and now that has become the most important part for me about the celebration. All thanks to the fans for sharing what the show has done for them.

Sarah: I think probably every day since the show finished I get asked by somebody in the street: "When are we going to do more?" The reaction has always been quite extraordinary to the show and it's something none of us ever predicted. The feedback I've had in the street to the sitcom is that it's a show that children, parents and grandparents can all watch together and laugh, a show that brings families together, which is not something I think was in any of our minds when we started doing the sitcom. You don't imagine it will have that impact and it's just a reminder of how important laughing together is. The fans were just desperate for something new, and just to enjoy seeing the cast back together again.

Sally: The Gallopers are legendary. I think they'd be supportive if Miranda was filming a tour of the local dump.

How did it feel being reunited with the cast again?

Patricia: Well, we've all kept in touch with each other, we are a team. To be brought back in a circumstance where we sort of saw each other several times over a few weeks was lovely because we do all get on together very well.

Miranda: Oh it's sheer delight to be with them again. Us four girls - Sarah, Patricia, Sally and myself - are dear friends, and there is always much silliness. But rehearsing comedy it is incredibly pressured, technical and difficult so we put work at the front in rehearsals and the larks mainly happen outside of it.

Sarah: It was amazing. I mean we've all been very close. Miranda wrote this at a time when traditional sitcoms were not in, it was all very observational comedy. We all went on a journey together as a cast that none of us could ever thought. We've all stayed friends so it's really special to see everybody all together. Also, I don't want to give anything away, but cast members that have been in different episodes... it's so lovely that they wanted to come back and be part of this, it's really special.

Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration. Image shows from L to R: Sarah Hadland, Patricia Hodge, Miranda Hart. Copyright: Monkey Kingdom.

Can you tell us about some of the special guests involved in the show?

Miranda: I can tell you that my tiny elf of a friend in 'Stevie' was of course there by my side, as Sarah Hadland often is in real life and Stevie always is for Miranda. So Miranda and Stevie had a few sketch moments and naturally broke out in to dance where possible. There was a certain someone who just had to say "such fun" and I thought the Palladium roof might come down! Whether my on screen husband Tom Ellis managed to make it over from LA I couldn't possibly tell you - he has been busy filming Lucifer, but maybe he sent a message, maybe he teleported himself - as I say, I couldn't possibly say.

There's one musical guest that's a lovely reveal moment so I will keep that tucked secretly under my breast shelf, but McFly did a fantastic opening number, and it wouldn't be a Miranda celebration without What Have You Done Today To Make You Feel Proud, so Heather Small is there. We also had the Kingdom Choir to sing one of mine and Sarah's favourite songs to celebrate the Miranda and Stevie friendship.

How would you best describe Miranda and Stevie's friendship?

Sarah: Miranda and Stevie had a really, really strong friendship in that it's like sisters, and Miranda and I both have sisters and we both really relate to that sort of bickering. But ultimately, you've always got each other's back. I think sister friendship is replicated in the best friendships in that you can say things and do things that nobody else would forgive, but your sister will. But ultimately, what really matters is you've got each other's back, and also that you have fun together.

You both got the same silly sense of humour I know with my sister we laugh at the same stupid things and I think that's something Miranda and I talked about a lot is we both have very close relationships with our sisters in real life. So I think that was something that we both really bonded over. 'Loveoo' came from something that I say to my sister and she says to me, and that's something that got picked up and it's become a big catchphrase for the show. And I think, ultimately, good friendships can be a really meaningful part of life, you want somebody that you can laugh with, but also somebody that's there for you when things go wrong, and hopefully that's what we kind of portrayed in that kind of sitcom world.

Miranda: They were sisters really - they were able to be completely themselves with each other which included honesty, bickering and competitiveness but held firmly and securely by a deep love and understanding of each other. They have the perfect friendship.

How would you best sum up Miranda and Penny's relationship?

Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration. Image shows from L to R: Patricia Hodge, Miranda Hart. Copyright: Monkey Kingdom.

Patricia: It's a very recognisable mother-daughter relationship with the mother's ambitions for the daughter that doesn't necessarily fit with the daughters ambitions for herself. This is a partly generational thing and the thing of the mother that embarrasses you and the daughter that embarrasses the mother and how that's played out together.

And what about Tilly's friendship with Miranda?

Sally: Tilly loves Miranda and Miranda tolerates Tilly. I think Tilly's self-esteem for a long time was dependent on her being 'better, prettier, more serious' than Queen Kong - and at school the hierarchy was unquestioned but as they get older it becomes clear that, disturbingly for Tilly, Miranda actually has all the important things in life more sorted than she has. I always found it touching that although Tilly was incredibly annoying, Miranda was never mean back and Tilly was welcome to dance in Miranda's lounge along with everyone else.

Did you think ten years from the first Miranda the show would still be as popular today?

Miranda: NO! In fact, on the actual tenth anniversary - on 9 November - I ended up being home alone as we were in rehearsals for the show. I was exhausted, and was reflecting on how amazed I will always be by its success. I remembered on that night ten years ago I wandered around Hammersmith as it was being aired thinking: "What shall I do for a job now? Will it be weird going back to office work if people recognise me, and I feel sorry for my friends in comedy who will have to try and be polite about the show", because I thought it would just fizzle away. It was a gamble to put that style of comedy on at the time and I thought perhaps people might just think it eccentric and not see the contemporary reality story behind the big performances and physical comedy. So what has happened to it will always be my greatest joy but equally my greatest surprise.

Sarah: No, definitely not, which sounds terrible, but it's true. I thought all this is a very traditional slapstick sitcom. We never predicted that teenagers and young people would like it so much, that really blindsided us all. So to think that ten years later we'd be doing a show on this scale at The London Palladium is quite amazing.

Patricia: I don't think any of us knew, we always committed to it because we loved the whole notion of it and it made us laugh. But none of us knew the extent to which it would catch on.

Sally: You always hope you're making something that will last but, no, I could never have imagined the success the show has been and what it appears to have meant to so many people.

Miranda. Image shows from L to R: Tilly (Sally Phillips), Gary (Tom Ellis), Miranda (Miranda Hart), Stevie (Sarah Hadland), Penny (Patricia Hodge). Copyright: BBC.

What reaction do you get from fans of the show?

Patricia: Extraordinary. On that night: absolutely extraordinary. It was like a rock concert really. The interesting thing about this show is it is unchallenging in terms of its cleanliness, it's family entertainment. When the show first went out many families said to me: "We sit down as a family and watch Miranda every Monday night". I think parents feel very safe with their children watching it as it's got something for everybody.

Do you have many people shouting "such fun" at you?

Patricia: The interesting thing about TV now is that you are very recognised from the morning after the night a show goes out for a couple of weeks then that diminishes over time. But it only takes one rerun and then then you're up again. The recognition, of course, has continued on. And sometimes people sidle up in a supermarket and say to me... "Go on say it".

Did you ever imagine the phrase would catch on as much as it has?

Patricia: No, no, no, absolutely. No. No, I mean, again, this is very good observational comedy. Because to us, it is something we might say at Christmas time or something, but to have that impact just still amuses and amazes me.

Sarah... What does Heather Small really think of your version of Proud?

Sarah: I think she's absolutely untroubled, her career is safe! I've been lucky enough to meet her and she's just the loveliest woman and she is always very gracious about my attempts to sound like her. But yeah, she's not troubled in any way, her career is definitely safe! (laughs).

Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration. Heather Small. Copyright: Monkey Kingdom.

Why do you think the show resonates with so many people?

Sally: I think it's fundamentally about accepting yourself and others and staying in touch, even loving your inner idiot and the inner idiots of others.

Miranda: There is a beautiful moment in the celebration show, which was a surprise to me on the night, when a selection of fans were interviewed as to why they were helped by the show, and the overriding theme was that if Miranda could find love, be loved and accept herself then they can too. That moved me to tears. I also think everyone loves a good love story and I am proud of Miranda and Gary being a good rom com and despite it being set within a sitcom, they were incredibly romantic. And then I think it was just positive, and energetic and silly and it's so easy for adults to forget to play, to forget to do the things they loved to do when they were younger, to allow themselves to be silly. I think that's why the galloping became a break out part of the show - it's mainly adults in the work place that I get sent videos of galloping. It has given people the licence to play in order to reduce stress.

Sarah: The feedback I get from fans is lovely. The show came at a time when on TV, young women and teenagers felt the representation of women had to be cool, had to look and act a certain way. And then along came our show, (which ironically Miranda and I were in our late 30s when we did it) we were very infantile, the characters were very playful and there was a lot of mucking about. Stevie and Miranda had an amazing friendship as both of them were kind of misfits. We didn't tick any of the right boxes, we weren't cool, we weren't sexy, we weren't confident, and we were both bumbling along. But we had a really good laugh. We have an amazing friendship and we have a great time. And that's all that matters.

Miranda. Image shows from L to R: Penny (Patricia Hodge), Gary (Tom Ellis), Miranda (Miranda Hart), Stevie (Sarah Hadland), Clive (James Holmes). Copyright: BBC.

The celebration show was filmed at the home of British entertainment, The London Palladium. How did it feel being on stage at such an iconic venue?

Miranda: I remember when I was first walked on that stage; it was with Sir Bruce Forsyth for the show I did with him to celebrate his 50 years in showbusiness. I had a total out of body moment when I was standing next to him as he tap danced on that iconic stage. So I am glad I had been on that stage before, otherwise it might have been overwhelming. But there really is something special about that place. I can't tell you how beautiful it looks as you stand centre stage and look out, both with and without an audience, and you can almost sense the greats of the past in the wings wishing you well.

Sarah: Funnily enough, I've been on that stage twice before, both times through the sitcom. We did the Royal Variety Show a couple of years ago, which was amazing. I also did a charity event with Miranda there, a few years before; it's the most unbelievable theatre. There's something really special about the Palladium and to do an actual show in the nature that we did was really incredible and I think we all felt really lucky. Patricia pointed out that's where Judy Garland sat on the edge of the stage and you're like, wow, this is a really special amazing theatre and to do something really special there, was really fantastic.

Fans of the show have been tweeting their own #MirandaMoments. Tell us about some of the tweets you've received.

Miranda: We have a section in the show when I read them out, and they were pant wettingly funny some of them! It's something I want to keep going on social media as it's really connected everyone and people feel less alone in their moments of awkwardness. Mainly there seems to be a lot of lost clothing in awkward situations, a lot of people getting in to the wrong cars - how does that happen so much?! - and a lot of mix ups with mobile phones. There was one dear woman who inadvertently sent a picture of her sunburnt bottom she was meant to send to a nurse friend to her carpet fitters when she was sending them pictures of her hallway and stairs!!! I said to her I would have styled that out and said: "And yes, I would also like carpet on my bum please, so I am permanently comfortable and can sit down anywhere."

Miranda. Image shows from L to R: Stevie (Sarah Hadland), Miranda (Miranda Hart). Copyright: BBC.

What's your favourite Miranda moment from the series?

Miranda: My favourite episode was probably the therapist office one in Series 2 - to write and perform that was unique. And I also loved the episodes that were farcical, as farce is something I have always loved and to be able to put it on TV felt like something to be proud of as it's so technical and intricate to get right. As for a favourite moment - I don't think I could pick one. The romance of Miranda and Gary generally, the falling in the grave stunt, the surprise of Gary Barlow appearing, and I loved us all being around the dinner table during the dinner party episode when I was trying to impress my future father in law - in particular trying to say grace, having it forced upon me by him - and just getting stuck in ABBA lyrics.

Sally: I always loved the singing and dancing, as it felt that the spirit of fun was the heart of the show even more than the jokes. There was some absolutely classic slapstick too, though which, as a lover of silent movies I really admired. The sushi bar; Miranda in the skip; all the different variants of pushing Stevie off the stool; the dress caught in the taxi door... I could go on.

Sarah: I love the episode in Series 1 with the dogs. I had the Great Dane and Miranda had the Chihuahua and the first time I saw that, I thought they'd done some CGI to it to make me look small. And so the first time I saw that episode I said to Miranda: "Oh, wow, I didn't know that kind of thing happened in sitcoms, you CGI'd me!" She said: "No, that's what you look like next to the Great Dane" and that really, really, really made me laugh because later in that episode, or later in the series, she says: "You look like a Borrower". And that was exactly what I looked like - a Borrower! So that really, really made me laugh. Because obviously there's a big height difference between me and Miranda but you forget about that because she doesn't go around thinking: "Well, I'm so tall" and I don't go around thinking: "Well, I'm so small", so you just get on with things. And then when you see something like that on TV you're like: "Whoa, yeah, okay it does look quite ridiculous". Probably my favourite episode would be when we were competing over a new friend Tamara. There was a sequence where we tried lots of different things to stay awake late so we would do things like eat coffee and put alarm clocks on our ears and things like that - I absolutely loved filming that episode that was really really brilliant.

Could we see more Miranda in the future?

Miranda: This Such Fun Celebration felt like it could go both ways. It could be the goodbye forever (so for that reason I really hope people watch it and enjoy it), or it could be a springboard in to some specials. I am very torn - part of me wants to see Gary and Miranda's married life, part of me wonders whether the story was told and as Miranda gets older it's a very different kind of show. So the answer remains - I don't know! But I do know that I am incredibly grateful for every supporter of the show and the legacy that it has created.

Published: Monday 23rd December 2019