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Ideal Series 7

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Jaine Sykes Jaine Sykes | 15:17 UK time, Thursday, 26 May 2011

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Ideal returns to BBC Three tonight for a seventh series at 10.30pm. Writer Graham Duff explains the art of finding a special guest...

In tonight's opening episode of the new series of IDEAL, Moz (Johnny Vegas) will not only be rubbing shoulders with his usual circle of reprobates - Psycho Paul, Cartoon Head and so on - but also Strictly Come Dancing winner Kara Tointon and, perhaps even more surprisingly, the Modfather himself: Paul Weller. Both of whom bring their own unique brand of magic to the show.

And I'm proud to say they are in very good company. Over the years IDEAL has amassed a pretty impressive role call of special guests, including Sean Lock, Janeane Garofalo, Julia Davis, Jason Manford, Alan Yentob, Graham Fellows, Mark Radcliffe and my personal favorite: Mark E. Smith of The Fall playing Jesus H. Christ.

People frequently ask me how we manage to get such amazing guest stars on the show. The short answer is, if you don't ask, you don't get. Admittedly there's been a handful of occasions when we've approached a guest and they've turned us down. But often it's been due to availability rather than a lack of interest. Of course it helps if the person in question is already a fan of the show. Or better yet, if you have incriminating photos of them.

But even when they say "yes" there's still an element of risk involved. Whereas with seasoned comedians or actors like Sean Lock or Kara Tointon you know you're assured of a solid performance, with non-actors you can never be certain of what you're going to get. When I told people Mr. Weller was going to be filming a scene for the show, the general assumption was that he would probably turn up, behave like a sulky diva and deliver a performance as wooden as his guitar. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. He was friendly, down to earth and turned in a cameo which I hope you'll agree is subtle, naturalistic and very funny. In fact, I've almost begun to wonder if he might be interested in his own potential spin off series...

More from Ideal:

Ideal is on every Thursday at 10.30pm on BBC Three.

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