How did you get involved with this series?
I had been working with Spencer on The Mind Of Herbert Clunderdunk short for the BBC in March and had a fantastic time doing it - and I knew we worked well together. I then did an audition for Mister Winner when I got back from the Edinburgh Fringe that year. I didn't think I'd get it! My feet haven't really touched the ground.
Who is Jemma Smith?
Jemma is Leslie Winner's fiancée. She's a support to Leslie, but she's not got it completely together herself. I think they have fun together despite all his japes!
What was it like to film some of the sillier scenes?
It's nearly impossible to keep a straight face watching Spencer Jones. I was just trying to imagine the situation being as realistic as possible.
On the first day of filming, me, Spencer and Oliver Maltman, who plays Steve, completely lost the plot and got very bad giggles. I don't think I've been scared and hysterical like that since school. It was very very bad. I was terrified - I thought we were going to get in so much trouble. It was because Ollie and Harriet Thorpe were improvising and saying loads of filth. I just remember thinking - we're going to get the sack on the first day. It was very funny but extremely stressful!
Do you think Leslie and Jemma are good together?
I think they are good together yes. They muddle through stuff. I think they really love each other. They just get by. Whatever's thrown at them, they try to tackle as a team.
How did you get into comedy?
I did a lot of comedy improv at youth theatre and pantomimes when I was little. But when I went to drama school they encouraged me not to play the clown... I had a feeling I might come back to it though. I think they were trying to help me to not be afraid of what I didn't know. If you find you're good at something, it's tempting to stick to it, but sometimes it's helpful to explore the things you're scared of too. I was determined to go to drama school but it took me five years of rejection before I was offered a place.
After that I went to Edinburgh as part of a double-act called LetLuce. Then I did my debut solo show in 2017 and was nominated for Best Newcomer in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards. It was the first time I'd ever been nominated for anything! I'm not sporty or academic... but I think I've found my thing!
What's the difference in live comedy versus TV content?
TV is different because there are so many people there, holding wires and cameras and bits of tape, and if they laugh they have to do it silently - but the essence of trying to make people laugh is the same. I still get nervous, but doing live comedy has made me braver. Once you've done a preview to two people and the barmaid, who hate the whole thing, everything else is a bit less scary. At least with telly you get another chance - you can do it again. You can't just stop a live show and say let's do that again! Well, you can but they get annoyed if you do that.
How was working with the other cast members?
It's a bit mad to think Shaun Williamson plays my dad isn't it?! He was very nice. He was so supportive and professional.
Shaun has some great stories too! Rose Johnson from The Birthday Girls sketch group did a guest part in it too. She was in The Interview episode. I've worked with her before because we've done live gigs together. I'd never met Harriet Thorpe before but she was really fun on set. Oliver Maltman too, he's brilliant. He made me laugh A LOT.
What should we expect from the show?
We all get in muddles... it's about trying to get on with it. But it's true that Leslie Winner's muddles are a bit more calamitous than your average person's. He's in a constant calamity. He's fun to be around, he cares and he's got a good heart - he's just trying to do the right thing, but he's a bit of a nightmare.
I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this show and it was such a pleasure to work on. I had a wonderful time.