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TV Interview

Simon Bird ('The Inbetweeners')

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Simon Bird ('The Inbetweeners')
The last time we watched The Inbetweeners, Will, Simon, Jay and Neil were each trying to lose their virginity while collectively avoiding the school bully and navigating their way around sixth form life. Series two has arrived, so we caught up with actor/comedian Simon Bird - aka Will - to ask what lies in store and see if the teens have managed to raise their profiles from fool to cool.

How is the new series different from the last?
"Well, in many ways I think it's not different. Hopefully, people really enjoyed the first series so I don't think people will be disappointed. I think this series is more of the same. Personally, I think it's better in quality that the first. We were laughing from the first time we read the scripts right through to the end of the shoot, which is always a good sign. I think the show knows what it is now in a way that it might not when it was just an idea at the back of the writers' minds. I think it's much more confident – it's really come into its own, I'd say."

Why do you think the show is successful?
"I think it's because it's based on something real and people can identify with that. The first series was almost an autobiography of the writers' adolescence so people saw a lot in it that they understood and recognised and sympathised with. Weirdly, a lot of people describe it to me as being quite sweet and warm, which plays against how filthy some of the language in it is! I think that's why it works - that tension between feeling quite raw, and maybe even edgy at times with the language, but actually there's a real heart behind it."

Do you guys get any input into your characters?
"Yeah – we didn't in the first series, again just because it was all written before we turned up for it. It was very nice that we did have a bit of input in the second series. It's great because I got into comedy through writing my own stuff and that's something I'm really interested in. But they got us in before they started writing it – they got us in to talk about storyline ideas and plot strands and we got to contribute our own ideas, which was great. Once it gets onto the actual writing of the scripts they take over, which is completely understandable because it's their baby."

So in the first episode Jay's on the hunt for a MILF...
"The legendary Swanage MILF! The first episode is the geography and sociology field trip to Swanage. Jay's excited because he's heard this ridiculous urban myth that there's a MILF who has her way with one school boy every year so he's doing everything he can to ensure he's that school boy. There's a nice dynamic in that episode between Simon and Will because there's a new girl at school (Lauren) who Will has his eye on but the girl herself actually has her eye on Simon, so there's a bit of tension in the ranks and – I don't want to give away where that leads to but it ends with a massive fight scene on a boat."

What's the situation going to be with Simon and Carli this series?
"There's a bit of a development there in that it almost looks like it's going to work for a while. I don't want to say what happens at the end but they definitely get a lot closer - but you'll have to wait and see exactly how it turns out."

What about the other characters - do they change throughout the series?
"Yeah – you see a very different side of Jay. He actually gets a girlfriend later on in the series and you maybe see a slightly more sensitive side. But no progress for Neil, obviously. He's got no dreams, no aspirations - I think that comes across. Will gets slightly obsessed with the onset of his AS levels and becomes slightly manic and goes through this sort of mini nervous breakdown at one stage. As far as love life goes he has a couple of love interests but nothing serious and Charlotte is always hanging around in the background..."

Have you heard anything about a third series?
"I think it depends on how this second series goes down, to be honest. Until we see whether it gets good viewing figures and stuff I wouldn't like to say but we're all very hopeful – I think we'd all be up for doing another one just because there's so much potential there and I think the second series is so much better than the first - it would be really exciting to see how good we could make a third series."

Series two of The Inbetweeners begins Thursday at 10pm on E4. Click here to watch preview clips of the new series in Tube Talk.

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