Pete Versus Life. Pete (Rafe Spall). Copyright: Objective Productions.

Pete Versus Life

Channel 4 sitcom. 11 episodes (2 series), 2010 - 2011. Stars Rafe Spall, Simon Greenall, Ian Kirkby, Joseph Kloska, Pippa Duffy, David Fynn, Philip Jackson and others.

The Commentators interview

Pete Versus Life. Image shows from L to R: Terry McIlroy (Ian Kirkby), Colin King (Simon Greenall). Copyright: Objective Productions.Here's an interview with Simon Greenall and Ian Kirkby, who play the sports broadcasters in Pete Versus Life who have the job of commentating on our hero's adventures. Ian plays pundit Terry McIlroy (picture, left) and Simon plays pro commentator Colin King...

Did you prepare for your role by watching a lot of TV sports commentary?

Simon: Yes, I trawled though endless channels of all kinds of sports.

Ian: By watching a lot of sport, as I do on TV, I was fairly well versed in commentary and commentators.

What have you noticed about how commentators speak?

Simon: The most interesting ones are the ones who are professional commentators, as opposed to ex-sportsmen. The Pros are a bit more pompous and like to feel that they are in control.

Are you a sports fan anyway?

Simon: Yes I love to watch boxing and football. Tennis leaves me stone cold, as does Formula One.

Ian: Yes - mainly football, but not motor racing. That's just a waste of petrol as far as I'm concerned!

Pete Versus Life. Image shows from L to R: Terry McIlroy (Ian Kirkby), Colin King (Simon Greenall), Pete (Rafe Spall). Copyright: Objective Productions.Who is the doyenne of sports commentary?

Simon: I love Jim Rosenthal.

Ian: Barry Davis (retired!) and for punditry Alan Hanson.

Is your portrayal based on any particular commentator?

Simon: Look at who I love. But being a voice artist, you kind of have to have a sports commentator in you toolbox; mine is based more on their combined style rather than anyone in particular.

Ian: Mine is based on bits and pieces of various ex-footballers.

Did you improvise any of the commentary, or is it all verbatim from the script?

Simon: There's very little room for improv as we have to do our bit quite tightly to time, although there are a couple of bits that are mine.

Ian: As Simon says, mainly it comes from the script but there are a few odd comments improvised here and there.

Pete Versus Life. Image shows from L to R: Terry McIlroy (Ian Kirkby), Colin King (Simon Greenall). Copyright: Objective Productions.Was it odd, filming a role where you just sit on a stool in a studio for the whole series?

Ian: Yes, very and surprisingly tiring at times.

Simon: Not odd, brilliant! It's hard enough learning the lines but having to move around as well! Also, sitting on a stool you can have your script handy.

Are you still able to watch televised sport, or do you find you just concentrate on the mannerisms and verbal ticks of the commentary team now?

Ian: I can still watch the sport but always have an ear cocked for commentary now.

Simon: It is distracting now, I'm always looking out for bits of odd emphasis or bits where they are clearly just filling time.

Do you have a favourite bit of sports commentary?

Simon: Harry Carpenter covering the great fights. Also, it's a bit obscure, but Kent Walton doing the wrestling in the 60's and 70's.

Ian: Kevin Keegan: "If Romania don't score soon, then they won't Romania in this tournament for much longer!" - [pause] - Clive Tyldsley: "I'm glad you said that Kevin."

If you had to commentate of one sport, what would it be?

Simon: Wrestling, but not the silly WWF stuff.

What would you be like as a commentator or pundit?

Simon: Rude, sarcastic, inaccurate, partisan and hopeless.

Ian: Stuttery probably - with the use of far too much profanity!

More Pete Versus Life interviews

Published: Friday 30th July 2010