"You can either laugh or soil yourself" - Miles Jupp on being in The Thick of It
Yet Miles Jupp has made his mark on both - as inventor Archie in Balamory (right) and incompetent press officer John Duggan in this Saturday's episode of The Thick of It (above). Quite an achievement.
The actor, comedian and presenter, this year could also be found in Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle, and presented Newsjack on Radio 7. But what happened when he was given the chance to come face-to-face Malcolm?
Miles Jupp writes...
I got called in for my audition on the day that I'd arranged to see In The Loop. That made it hard to relax whilst watching the film because all I could think was "If what I did this morning was what they want, then I'll get to work with these people". I ended up eating a lot of Revels. My second audition was two days after my son had been born and, as we'd had a home birth, the first occasion I'd left the house since. I was running on adrenaline, a first for me, and just gabbled at Armando. We did one improvised chat, at the end of which he said "sorry this is a bit weird" and I said "I've just had a baby". I don't remember the journey home. When I found out I'd got the part I was drunk, and at Lord's. That's how it should be.
Rehearsals were frantic and yet relaxed. You read the script together once, have a walk through the scene, and then you're told to put the script away and have another go. It's extraordinary. If Peter Capaldi is shaking you by the lapels whilst shouting improvised personal abuse so loudly that your vision is blurring, you can either laugh or soil yourself. Never both. Acting is all about making choices.
The episode I'm in was filmed at a Holiday Inn on a roundabout by Elstree. Although the hotel hadn't been closed for us we seemed to have the place all to ourselves. Sometimes just doing a few days on a project that everybody else is doing a long stint on can be very lonely. Not with this lot - they were great fun, and very welcoming. James Smith, who plays Glenn Cullen, made sure that I was introduced to every crew member before my first shot which was very decent behaviour indeed. Then we were off: acting, changing outfits, improvising, line learning, nodding, gossiping and eating lunch. We shot 60 pages of script, plus piles of additional made-up stuff: three days spent on the verge of, and sometimes over the brink of, hysteria. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
You won't have to wait long to see Miles in The Thick of It as you can watch him in action this Saturday at 10.15pm on BBC Two.