The Cleaner. Paul 'Wicky' Wickstead (Greg Davies)
The Cleaner

The Cleaner

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC One
  • 2021
  • 6 episodes (1 series)

Greg Davies stars as a crime scene cleaner in this UK adaptation of a hit German show. Also features Zita Sattar.

  • Due to return for Series 2

Episode menu

Series 1, Episode 3 - The Neighbour

The Cleaner. Image shows from L to R: Helena (Ruth Madeley), Paul 'Wicky' Wickstead (Greg Davies)
Crime scene cleaner Wicky has the wrong key for his next job and finds himself stuck outside the deceased's house, waiting around for a replacement. When he encounters a radical vegan living next door, the confident carnivore in Wicky might just have met his match.

Preview clips

Ruth Madeley interview

The Cleaner. Helena (Ruth Madeley)

Tell us a bit about your character in The Cleaner and what attracted you to the role?

Helena (my character) is a very proud vegan, that is her through and through. She is proud of her vegan life, and she is a very ballsy character. She has so much about her, and I personally absolutely love her dry wit. She doesn't suffer fools and is very aware of who she is and how she wants to live her life, and is very proud of it and I love that about her.

He is going to get such a big head after I say this, but the pull for me mainly was Greg. We've followed each other's work for quite a while, and he was definitely on my bucket list of people who I would I love to work with.

Also, the fact it was a comedy as well. I do so much drama, and doing an out and out comedy role was an absolute dream, and I really can't think of anyone who I would want to do that with more than Greg, so it was just a dream job.

I was very honoured and very flattered to be asked, and as soon as it came through I said "Yes, without a doubt!". Just to read how the character develops in the scripts was the icing on cake and how funny it was. It was funny on the paper but then when you work with Greg it is even funnier when you are interacting.

I loved the fact it was just us two and loved that set up of the whole series, how it was just Greg and one other character. I thought it was such a nice way to watch Wicky with different characters and how he navigates through the world as well.

What was the most enjoyable part of filming for you?

That is such a hard question, there wasn't one day where I didn't enjoy it. I loved the big comedic scenes when Wicky jumps over Helena, I genuinely cannot wait to watch it on screen. Or the bit where they are really bonding when they are having a cheeky spliff - it's just those moments and the little nuances that are really funny.

Our last day on set was when Greg was in the wheelchair and he had to do a race, and I've never seen anybody so exhausted in my entire life, it was so funny to watch! He said "how do you do this every day, it's such hard work!" I can't think of one thing that was not enjoyable and that's including the wonderful team behind the camera as well. What a brilliant group of people to work on such a fun project, there wasn't one day that I didn't want to be there, and I was very sad when it ended.

The Cleaner. Image shows from L to R: Paul 'Wicky' Wickstead (Greg Davies), Helena (Ruth Madeley)

How was it working with Greg Davies?

His writing is so clever, the way he puts a story together, and the way he constructs characters, he was an absolute dream, he really was. And there was so much comedy, but he was very sensitive to making sure it was told in the right way. There was also no crassness. There was no "let's just throw a disability joke in here for the sake of it". It was really clear he wanted to make sure it was funny, but also not offensive and he was a bit of a genius like that.

So many people often think they can't make certain jokes about disability, and Greg kept saying "I want to get this right, I don't want to upset or offend anybody". If people are asking those questions it's a good sign, they want to get it right.

The way Greg had written the script and the way he had created the character was such a beautiful way to tell the story of every single disabled person who has a non-disabled person constantly thinking about saying the right things and saying the wrong things and that was what was so funny about it.

It genuinely was such a wonderful experience to be able to hear Greg's thought process around that, and as well as the BBC and Studio Hamburg UK, they really wanted to make sure they got it right and they absolutely did.

Every day on set was hysterical, and it was a lovely way to do it, because you could tell that production really cared about representing disability properly but in a really funny way, and we need that and the world needs that especially when we are living in such chaotic times - we just need some out and out comedy! I think his writing is incredible and let's face it, his acting's not bad either! He is a wonderful person to work with.

Are there any funny anecdotes from filming you can share?

The days always started on such a wonderful note in the make-up truck, every day I would say "are you alright?" he'd go "I'm knackered, I'm so tired" he'd be writing until God knows what time and he would say 'I don't know any of my lines!", but every day he had me in stitches.

There was a woman who came up to him when we were filming in the park, and asked what we were filming for, Greg replied it was for a BBC One TV production, and she asked him if there was anyone famous coming, and Greg replied "Nah"'. It was the most satisfying moment for me on set, honestly it was so funny, and it was just hysterical, he had a crowd of children watching him and laughing at him trying to race a wheelchair.

The Cleaner. Image shows from L to R: Paul 'Wicky' Wickstead (Greg Davies), Helena (Ruth Madeley)

If you ever met a real crime scene cleaner what would you ask them?

Everybody who knows me, knows I am a little obsessed with crime, I will watch every crime documentary going, I would probably have a file full of questions for them. I think I'd ask "what's the most random body part you've had to bag up at the end of the day". I've watched so many things online about crime scene cleaners and one of them said they had to put a human ear in a bag and I thought goodness me what a strange way to earn a living!

Broadcast details

Date
Friday 24th September 2021
Time
9:30pm
Channel
BBC One
Length
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Cast
Greg Davies Paul 'Wicky' Wickstead
Guest cast
Ruth Madeley Helena
Yvonne Edgell Good Samaritan
Darren Gordon Sausage Van Man
Liz Izen Helena's Mum
Sam Ward Gareth (Voice)
Writing team
Greg Davies Writer
Stephen Morrison Writer (Additional Material)
Production team
Tom Marshall Director
Sam Ward Producer
Vivien Muller-Rommel Executive Producer
Ben Caudell Executive Producer
Rhun Francis Line Producer
Carleen Beadle (as Carleen Beadle-Larcombe) Line Producer
Gavin Buckley Editor
Jonathan Paul Green Production Designer
Tracey Gillham Casting Director
Leonie Hartard Costume Designer
Ross Marshall Director of Photography
Alyn Waterman Make-up Designer
Samuel Karl Bohn (as Samuel Bohn) Composer
Leonie Tucker Graphics
Laurie Mahon 1st Assistant Director

Video

How NOT to make a first impression

Wicky needs to work on his small talk...

Featuring: Greg Davies (Paul 'Wicky' Wickstead) & Ruth Madeley (Helena).

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