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TV Interview

'Peep Show' David Mitchell and Robert Webb interview

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Mark and Jeremy are back. Johnson is back. Dobbie is back. Super Hans is back. Peep Show - the best British sitcom of the last decade in this writer's opinion - is back!

Returning to Channel 4 for a long-awaited eighth series this weekend, the flatshare comedy has lost none of its spark or cringe-tastic genius. Digital Spy caught up with the show's stars Mitchell and Webb to get the lowdown on the new episodes.

Peep Show (Series 8)

© Channel 4



At the end of the last series, Mark wanted Jeremy to leave the flat. Has he finally been kicked out?
Robert Webb: "It wouldn't really be Peep Show if he ever got fully around to leaving the flat. But across the series he does make some pathetic attempts to do it."
David Mitchell: "It's not that he doesn't move out. It's that he doesn't move in anywhere else. He just generally doesn't have any clue how shelter could otherwise be obtained."
Robert Webb: "There is also the looming prospect of Super Hans's bag throughout the series for Jeremy. He does spend a night in the bag this series I think. I think we get to see 'the bag'."
Robert Webb: "Mark has the legal right to remove Jeremy. But the question is, does he have the gumption? And the general feeling is that he doesn't. In this series he is desperate for Dobbie to move in with him.

"He's in love with Dobbie, as much as he knows what love is, and the important thing for Mark is that she should move in. Dobbie moving in is for Mark a sign that she is sufficiently destroyed in soul and spirit. And he needs her utterly destroyed because she is far too good for him. I think Dobbie fears moving in with him as well. He's not much fun now and he's not going to get much funner."

Is it difficult to get back into playing the characters after a long break?
Robert Webb: "Not really. It's like a comfy pair of shoes."
David Mitchell: "It's so well written by Sam and Jesse that you know how it should sound before you've even said it out loud."
Robert Webb: "They've always written it for us and that's only got better as all four of us have got to know the characters more."
David Mitchell: "I'm sure there is some way we can take credit for all of it. They've learned how f**king limited we are and now don't do the s**t that we can't do!"

Mark has got a new job in this series. How does it go for him?
Robert Webb: "Brilliantly."
David Mitchell: "He's humiliated because he gets the job through Super Hans. That's a real low point. But then he gets promoted to sales rep, despite being rubbish and not being able to drive. So he tries to be a sales rep on public transport, which unsurprisingly doesn't go too well. He desperately wants to go back somewhere like JLB, even though he hated it. But there's no real sign in this series of that job he craves - the boredom of an office job that he'd get some self-esteem from."

Peep Show (Series 8)

© Channel 4



Are they any more romances for Jeremy?
Robert Webb: "There is a two-episode fling for Jeremy. He decides that he's going to be a life coach and she's in charge of the course and they get together - with disastrous consequences."

Does it go badly for Jeremy as a life coach?
Robert Webb: "So badly."
David Mitchell: "Jeremy from the start is an irresponsible life coach."
Robert Webb: "He's mainly there for the gossip."

Do you have a favourite Peep Show episode?
Robert Webb: "The one that always springs to mind is the dog eating episode on the canal boat. That whole episode was a lot of fun."
David Mitchell: "The two that always spring to my mind are the wedding and the dog eating."

Peep Show (Series 8)

© Channel 4



How long do you want to keep doing the show?
Robert Webb: "Sam and Jesse have always said we'll do it for as long as it's fresh and we're welcome. The scripts are as fantastic and fresh as ever, so as long as they'll have us basically."
David Mitchell: "It's a lot harder to get a sitcom that works than keep one going. The power of the medium is in repetition. That's what the Americans seem to get more than us with sitcoms."
Robert Webb: "Once you've eaten a dog and not jumped the shark, you feel pretty confident about what you can do."
David Mitchell: "We'll do it for as long as Sam and Jesse want us."
Robert Webb: "Until they recast."

Do you have any idea what you'd ultimately like to happen to Mark and Jeremy?
Robert Webb: "The more unpleasant the better. It would be a disaster if anything went right for them. They can't win the lottery. Yeah, I don't know what show I'm thinking of."
David Mitchell: "I don't like Mark particularly. He does some horrendous things."
Robert Webb: "Jeremy is a real s**t. He's an unsavoury character who behaves badly a lot of the time."
David Mitchell: "Not only do Mark and Jeremy have bad thoughts about people - they always act on them. You have to be able to identify with them, but fundamentally they are not that good and they should always stay that way."
Robert Webb: "Someone who is living a different life this series is Super Hans. Super Hans is going straight, which is brilliant."

Peep Show (Series 8)

© Channel 4



What do you think have been Mark and Jeremy's lowest points in the show's history?
David Mitchell: "I do think, and I think Mark would say this as well, pissing in his boss's desk was not proportional as a response. For Jeremy it has to be pretending to have a terminal illness."
Robert Webb: "That was quite bad. Jeremy pretending to have a terminal illness for a hand job. That was the last line of the first series. 'I'm going to feel so low when this is over'. Good night."
David Mitchell: "That could have been the end of Peep Show - a dishonestly procured handjob."

Where do you think they wanted their lives to end up?
David Mitchell: "I think Mark would like to be living in the Home Counties with wife and children. The complete conventional life. Going to the office on the train. The Reggie Perrin lifestyle. With a Reggie Perrin breakdown coming."
Robert Webb: "Jeremy was looking for something in DJ-ing or music, but it doesn't really matter what. He wanted the blue pool tables and the large house. His imagination didn't go any further than that."
David Mitchell: "Jeremy just missed the boat really. He was just too late for the reality TV generation. If he'd been ten years younger, he'd be all over that. He'd be all over Big Brother and X Factor."
Robert Webb: "He did do a Big Brother audition as an extra in the series one DVD, but yeah, he would be ideal in this world of becoming famous without a talent. It's a tragedy for him really."



Has there ever been an attempt at a US remake?
Robert Webb: "There have been two attempts. A pilot five years ago, which wasn't very good. And there was a second one with Sam and Jesse more involved, but I don't know where that went."
David Mitchell: "Nobody has really got it yet. British comedy is well thought of in America, so I think it's an easy thing to sell as a format. But wanting to sell a British show is very different from actually wanting to remake it. I don't think anyone has ever really had a proper go, who genuinely loves the original."
Robert Webb: "The first pilot had the original first two episodes combined, so it had a strong plot and script. But they didn't have any of the point-of-view stuff or interior monologues... but apart from that, it was wonderful. When you take away those elements, it's not really Peep Show anymore. I don't think they even kept the same names."
David Mitchell: "There's no onus on any American writers doing a sitcom about two men in a flat to pay money to Peep Show. Two men in a flat, we don't own the copyright."

Why do you think nobody has copied the POV camera technique?
David Mitchell: "I'll tell you why it hasn't been copied - it's a f**king nightmare."
Robert Webb: "It's a barrier. The first five minutes or so, it's very irritating. But it does put people off the first time you use it. I remember when Graham Linehan wrote about it saying it was a stupid Channel 4 gimmick and that he hated it, right up to the point he saw it and then he loved it. But David's right, it is very fiddly to make. It's weird when we do something else. I just did a Marple and I kept having to shout at myself, 'Don't look at the camera'. You lose that fear of the camera and just start looking down the lens like a madman."

Peep Show returns on Sunday (November 25) at 10pm on Channel 4.

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