Trying Again. Image shows from L to R: Meg (Jo Joyner), Matt (Chris Addison). Copyright: Avalon Television
Trying Again

Trying Again

  • TV comedy drama
  • Sky Living
  • 2014
  • 8 episodes (1 series)

Sky Living comedy drama about a man whose fiancée has had an affair with her boss. Stars Chris Addison and Jo Joyner. Stars Chris Addison, Jo Joyner, Charles Edwards, Alun Cochrane, Elizabeth Berrington and more.

Jo Joyner interview

Trying Again. Image shows from L to R: Meg (Jo Joyner), Matt (Chris Addison). Copyright: Avalon Television
Trying Again. Meg (Jo Joyner). Copyright: Avalon Television

Jo Joyner has taken on the role of Meg in Trying Again...

Tell us about Meg...

There's a bit of Meg in everybody. She's a good, salt-of-the-earth girl. She's not particularly girly and that's what I love about her - she gets on with it and mucks in. She's the one that's more likely to drive than be driven. She won't wait to for a shelf to be put up, she'll just do it herself. She's ballsy and has a cheeky, fun sense of humour.

Would you say there's a role reversal in Matt and Meg's relationship?

It depends on your view. For me, Meg is a lot like several of my friends. I don't know if there is a gender reversal because women these days do more for themselves and expect a bit less from the boys. You could say there is a little bit of role reversal in Matt and Meg's relationship in terms of the 'traditional' tasks and traits, but fundamentally Meg is an equal part of the partnership. There's a yin and yang quality to their relationship but not in the way you might expect.

Does Meg wear the trousers?

Not when we meet her. In any long-term relationship, the status changes depending what phase or circumstances you're in. She might have worn the trousers at some point but she doesn't anymore because she's in the doghouse.

They're in counselling, Meg's unemployed and they're losing their house. Is anything going right for Matt and Meg?

Their shared sense of humour is the glue in their relationship and they still very much have that. They've grown up together and know each other like no one else does. They genuinely love each other. In that sense, things are going well, but on other fronts things aren't perfect: money is tight, there aren't many job opportunities in a small town and Meg's mistake has broken Matt's trust.

What I like is how the problems Meg and Matt have are representative of many people's situations. Lots of couples get along great on holiday when it's just them away from it all on an island, but with bills to pay, redundancies, friends and neighbours, everyday life doesn't go so smoothly.

Your characters approach life's big questions with humour. Do you think that's the best way to tackle a problem?

Anyone will tell you that if you've got a sense of humour, you can get through anything. People in a crisis often say, "I don't know whether to laugh or cry", but if you can take the laugh option, then you'll rise to the surface eventually.

Trying Again. Image shows from L to R: Meg (Jo Joyner), Matt (Chris Addison). Copyright: Avalon Television

How did you and Chris get along on set? Did you click instantly?

We did. We did a lot of eating, drinking and talking. Chris is such a fantastic guy that I feel really lucky to have met him and worked with him. I genuinely feel like he's someone I'll know forever. He's a huge talent with a relentless energy for his work. He was working on Veep while doing Trying Again and he'd never complain because he loves what he does. I admire him a lot. We clicked quite quickly. I don't know many men like him. He's one of a kind.

Do you think you've found a friend for life?

I do. He might not think so, but I don't care, he has no choice. He's stuck with me.

What was the atmosphere on set like?

The whole crew and cast got along brilliantly. We were all away from home in Kendal and stayed in the same hotel, so we had the opportunity to get to know each other - and to drink a lot of alcohol. That always helps a team gel together. We all became friends really quickly.

How does it feel to return to comedy after the drama of EastEnders?

It's been a breath of fresh air. I was doing a sketch show before EastEnders, so I knew that when I left I wanted to do comedy. When you're filming comedy, it's like it seeps through the crew, the cast, and the atmosphere of the whole piece. There's always a lighter feel on a comedy shoot.

The Trying Again crew had a great sense of humour and did fancy dress every Friday. There's a great crew at EastEnders but it's a big machine. It's relentless. No matter how much fun you try to have on a drama shoot, it's such a long day that everyone is quick to get home to their families. It's a very different atmosphere. You can get a bit ground down on set and wonder why you do the job, but within a day of being on the Trying Again set I loved it. It was the perfect thing to do after EastEnders.

What do you think Sky Living viewers will enjoy about Trying Again?

It's honest. It's not twee or fluffy. There's nothing worse than watching something about relationships and not finding any common ground with it. If anything, it can make you feel worse about your actual relationships. You don't want to sit there thinking, "we never skip through a field holding hands".

Trying Again is realistic and that's what makes it loveable. We wanted to convey that familiar feeling everyone has at some time or another that life can be rubbish but whether you can get through a crisis is what's important. There's a lot of humour in things going wrong and viewers will be able to share in that because it relates to their own experiences.

Meg and Matt try to sabotage the sale of their house. Would you do the same if necessary?

I totally would. I've never had to do it but all's fair in love and war.

Trying Again. Meg (Jo Joyner). Copyright: Avalon Television

You find a baby in Episode 2. What's the strangest thing you've ever stumbled upon?

Meg doesn't know what to do with the baby, but if I found it I'd be in danger of keeping it. I did find a toddler just yesterday in the shopping centre near my house. I saw a little girl speeding past me so I went after her with my own little girl in tow and helped her look for her mum. I've found kids a few times, actually. When I was little, we found a dog. She was abandoned after the fair had been in town and she just ended up on our doorstep. We kept her for 12 years. I found £8 in the ticket machine at the station the other day. I felt bad about it so I decided to pass it on to the next busker I saw, but he was rubbish, so I kept it and felt even worse.

In the first episode, Matt texts into a radio show and dedicates a song to Meg. Meg isn't so keen on the gesture, but would you find it romantic?

I'd find it ridiculous, but I think deep, deep down I'd be a bit touched. I always wonder how your other half would know you'd be listening. You'd have to warn them and that'd ruin the surprise.

What is your favourite quality about your on-screen other half?

Matt is a real support to Meg. She's a bit chaotic and disorganised, so when she's in a whirlwind and struggling to get out the front door, he keeps her in order. That's a good, reliable trait. Essentially he's caring and while that's not a whisk-you-off-your-feet trait, that's what a girl needs. The really good guys might not be terribly exciting, but being kind is a priceless quality.

Do you have a favourite scene or episode?

I love the dinner party scene because it's great to see all the relationships in one setting. The show isn't just about Meg and Matt; there's Gail and Matt, Meg and her workmates, and so on. The combination of relationships is fantastic. It's very diverse and there's so much going on. The food at the dinner isn't very good, but everyone's nervous and anxious so there's plenty of opportunity for laughs.

Another great relationship is between Meg and her colleague Martin. Could you work with him in real life?

No, not at all. I'd be calling him names all the time. Meg's more patient than me. There is no better way to give the measure of him than his first scene when he's helping someone park their car even though they were doing just fine by themselves. Alex Macqueen is amazing at bringing Martin to life.

Trying Again. Image shows from L to R: Meg (Jo Joyner), Gail (Elizabeth Berrington). Copyright: Avalon Television

How do Meg and Gail get along?

She's a protective sister and doesn't mince her words. I think they have quite a bit in common and genuinely like each other. The three of them have grown up around each other. There were times when I said, "if a friend did that to my brother, I wouldn't talk to her", but you don't give up good friends lightly. It's unspoken that if Matt's forgiven Meg, then Gail has too. Gail is aware that Matt isn't perfect either and you can imagine her saying "why do you put up with that?" to Meg. Gail is the character that everyone wants to play because she says what she things without any niceties. It's a liberating way to be.

Do you think this show appeals to men and women?

There's an equal amount of men and women in the show and the range of relationships have something to offer to everyone. My husband watched some the other day and loved it. I definitely think couples will enjoy watching it together. I've done girlie shows, like No Angels, and I had so many men say "I had to watch your show with my girlfriend and I loved it". They had preconceptions but ended up enjoying it.

Trying Again isn't girlie or just for women. It's a show about relationships and it's for everyone. There is nothing worse than publicising something you don't think you'd actually watch, but I knew from the first page of the script that Trying Again is something I'd be glued to, and so would my husband and my mates. There's so much to identify with and it's really funny.

How have you found working with Sky?

So many TV companies are understandably worried about their reputation and standing that the atmosphere is often too corporate to be creative. Money is tight so people are making less pilots and it's difficult to get anything commissioned. Too many cooks spoil the broth but Trying Again has been given the space it needs to develop. Sky has respected Chris and Simon's collaboration so much. I've been amazed by how supportive it has been. Most companies run scared of being as brave and trustworthy.

Can you sum up the series in three words?

Warm, honest and fun.

Published: Tuesday 22nd April 2014

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