Being a comedy writer is quite a sedentary job, and the advent of email made it worse as we don't even get to nip to the Post Office to send off scripts any more. Eventually they will find a way to make coffee via USB and then we will never leave our chairs again.

But you have to be active - everyone says so - and so, in between working on shows like Black Books, Hyperdrive or Armstrong and Miller, I've always tried to exercise. I do a bit of running, a bit less swimming, but most of all I like to walk.

My writing partner, Andy Riley, now he does proper hiking and likes nothing more than to go wild camping taking just a pack of sausages and a loo roll. I do the junior version, but between us we've walked the Peak District, Yorkshire, the west of Ireland and, time and time again, the Chilterns.

We'd come back from these trips, swapping horror stories while trying to come up with new ideas for TV shows. After a mere 15 years or so it occurred to us to write a show about all this rambling.

Andy had a book of walks which spent its introduction railing against unnecessary fancy equipment and more or less said that you don't need to buy a coat when bin bags can do the job just as well. That attitude was the basis of the character of Bob played by Mark Heap.

Ruth Jones' character Christine, who insists on buying any new piece of technology whether or not it's any use and packs enough equipment to survive a nuclear winter for a 10 mile hike, well I've no idea where that came from (writer shuffles in his seat and looks awkward).

We wanted it to feel as real as possible so we interviewed anyone we could find in a pair of stout boots. One incident that happened in real life and made the jump into the series takes place in episode three when our group are told in a pub garden that they can only eat food purchased on the premises. Fine they say and sell each other their sandwiches. This, we were assured proudly, is an old rambling trick.

We got an enthusiastic producer in Alex Walsh-Taylor and a clever and weatherproof director in Catherine Morshead. They assembled a cast which I can't quite believe we managed to get even now after we've finished filming.

As well as Mark and Ruth we secured Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd), Steve Edge (Phoenix Nights), Steve Wight, Joe Tracini and Gwyneth Keyworth. They all play walkers with different attitudes to the hobby and I have to say I think they do it amazingly.

There is one characteristic that all walkers share. One pleasant-seeming bystander I got talking to during filming asked me whether we were on the side of the ramblers or not. Well, we made jokes at their expense, I explained, but we were definitely on their team.

"I think they should be shot," he replied cheerfully, "coming through our village. Like rats in anoraks."

Rambling will never be cool. The people who take it seriously will always be outsiders and that's probably one of the reasons why I identify with them.

But when you are standing on top of Dorset's Golden Cap at 8am and you can see so far it feels as if you should be able to see all the other edges of Britain, well, you couldn't give a protein ball about whether you're fashionable then.

After three weeks, Ruth Jones, who had declared herself hobbyless, admitted she had 'got the bug' and would be a regular walker from now on. Well that's one more of us. I wonder if we can persuade you to join in.

Kevin Cecil is the co-writer of The Great Outdoors. Kevin has also written about his experiences on pitching and making the programme on the BBC Comedy blog.

The Great Outdoors starts at 9pm on Wednesday, 28 July on BBC Four and BBC HD, and is part of The Call Of The Wild, a season of shows.

To find out all future transmission times for this programme, please visit the upcoming episodes page.

Tagged with:

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments.

  • Comment number 23. Posted by southwinds58

    on 28 Jan 2011 16:17

    So glad to see it moved up to BBC2 but really we want more.. please .
    its excellent viewing..

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 23: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 23: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 22. Posted by rambonasmith

    on 7 Sept 2010 22:15

    This is a great fresh fun comedy and needs to be aired on a more mainstream channel. The plot lines are excellent and the actors gel well together. Please Please give us more it is such a change from the stale old US stuff we get pumped at us.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 22: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 22: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 21. Posted by xNoGodx

    on 7 Sept 2010 20:10

    Please give us more episodes! I'm from the USA (Don't ask me how I got the shows) and love these! As always BBC is #1. for comedy, documentaries and every thing else in between. You make us Yanks shows look like Sesame Street in comparison. I swear I was born on the wrong continent, anyways thanks for the great episodes. We hike all the time here and run into quite a few people like the characters in the show.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 21: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 21: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 20. Posted by natz

    on 19 Aug 2010 15:55

    I would love more episodes and maybe a few more series and the fresh comedy going I'm sick and tired of having to watch reruns of past comedies that nobody finds funny anymore and we need to fond nee talent aswell like the little boy on the bike at the beginning of episode 3 he looks like he will have a good future and I'd love tosee him on tv again, has he been in any other BBC programmes !!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 20: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 20: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 19. Posted by Kallisti3

    on 19 Aug 2010 13:34

    I absolutely loved this show from the first episode and couldn't wait for the following week. I had no idea, though, that there were only 3 episodes, and conducted a frantic and fruitless search for Episode 4 yesterday evening! I was so disappointed that I had to have two pieces of cake. Please make some more episodes or I'll end up as fat as a house.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 19: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 19: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 18. Posted by Bob Hughes

    on 16 Aug 2010 22:32

    Really great comedy. I thoroughly enjoyed all three episodes. The funniest and most original show for years. All the characters were very good. Please, please, please can we have some more?

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 18: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 18: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 17. Posted by Dainis

    on 16 Aug 2010 21:59

    Absolutely fantastic! I watched all the episodes and I WANT MORE! Please BBC!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 17: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 17: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 16. Posted by _florence_

    on 16 Aug 2010 14:56

    I'd become a rambler any day if Katherine Parkinson were in the club :)

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 16: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 16: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 15. Posted by cyrillicsam

    on 14 Aug 2010 13:09

    As good as Rev.
    Commission more please.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 15: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 15: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 14. Posted by Angela

    on 13 Aug 2010 19:26

    Have to admit that I only recently discovered this programme so thank goodness for the iplayer thingy! I've always loved walking and used to be in a rambling club years ago and have recently joined another club as I missed being in one.I think this is one of the funniest programmes I've seen for quite some time. I hope it is going to be a regular feature.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 14: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 14: 0
    Loading…
More comments

More Posts

Previous