British Comedy Guide

Lee Mack to film live episode of Not Going Out

Friday 9th March 2018, 11:13am

Not Going Out. Image shows from L to R: Molly (Francesca Newman), Charlie (Finley Southby), Lucy (Sally Bretton), Benji (Max Pattison), Lee (Lee Mack). Copyright: Avalon Television.

The next series of BBC sitcom Not Going Out, which will air in 2019, will feature an episode broadcast live.

Creator and star Lee Mack revealed the news in an interview with Steve Wright on Radio 2.

Appearing on the show to promote the new Series 9, which is now on BBC One on Thursday nights, he said: "This is Series 9 and already we are working on Series 10." He continued: "Exclusive news to The Steve Wright Show, we're doing a live one!", jokingly adding: "Talk about 'jumping the shark'... that will be it then, won't it!"

Referring to the fact that Mrs. Brown's Boys has broadcast an episode live, and a number of American sitcoms have recently had live episodes, Mack explained: "When I heard other people were doing live shows, I thought, 'Why would you bother doing that, it's for your own satisfaction, it doesn't aid the quality of the performance does it?' And then I thought, 'Ah go on then, why not'... they showed me the money!"

Talking about the danger of things going wrong, the comedian said: "If it goes wrong in a sitcom I can't turn around to someone in the front row and go 'Where are you from then mate, what do you do for a living?'. On a live tour you can incorporate the mistakes into the act. You can only improvise [in sitcom] if the cameraman is improvising too and remembering to film you... because he's now filming the other character who is supposed to be speaking, and I'm in the background with my mic turned off."

The comedy star also revealed he may have trouble remembering his lines. "Giving away a bit of a secret, I tend to occasionally put my lines on set somewhere, so if you see me drinking a mug of tea in Not Going Out there's probably a line under the mug", adding "I'm tested for funniness, not my memory!"

A live episode of the sitcom will face an additional challenge in that the three child cast members are not allowed to work in the studio with a late-night, live audience, so all scenes featuring them currently have to be pre-recorded.

Speaking about the sitcom's gag-heavy style, Mack commented: "The traditional thing is a joke a page... that's not enough! Especially with how small my font is; You've got to have more than a joke a page... we try and do a joke every line or every other line."

Series 9 of Not Going Out continues next Thursday at 9pm. Mack joked to the Radio 2 audience: "It's the new Thursday night slot. It's usually Friday, but now they've moved us back to Thursday. I've been told if we keep going this way we'll get that prize midday Tuesday afternoon slot."

Mack will next be performing alongside his Would I Lie To You? co-stars Rob Brydon and David Mitchell at a series of sold-out dates in Cheltenham.

Series 10 of Not Going Out will be broadcast in 2019.

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