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28 October 2014

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Page Four

Ambivalent Bowie

Sometimes, in scenes like those set in the music rehearsal room, it's not entirely clear whether the characters you're playing are still you as the hangmen, or other people in the world. Is this intentional?

Berry: The point of it is that 'our' main job is being hangmen, but you don't hang people every day. We probably work once a month. So in between doing that, we write songs. And the one that we're most pleased with is a problem, because it's only about seven seconds long.

Fulcher: Pretty much, if we're wearing those suits, we're Matt and Rich. That [music sketch] was kind of an exception that we had those vests on. And also when we're playing darts and snooker we change, but for the most part you can stick by that calculus.

Berry: Hanging's very well paid, that's the truth - but, you're not busy all the time, which is why we spend most of the time sat in the club.


What was the inspiration behind the Gentlemen/Hangman's Club premise? Did you need something to bind it all together, or was it what you started with?

Berry: With a lot of comedy recently, I think there are a lot of random characters who have come from nowhere, then they're gone, there's no base for anyone. I think it's important, not just in comedy but any kind of story, to have a recognisable thing to come back to - like Del Boy's shitty flat, you want them to come back and start off there.

Or like Royston Vasey, would you say?

Berry: Hmm, in a way... yeah. But we wanted to keep it simple, just one location which could be really still. And you couldn't get much stiller and more quiet than two blokes sat in a club.

Fulcher: Also, it's a great place to do comedy in because it's a serious environment.

With rules.

Fulcher: Yeah with rules, so if you fart in a gentlemen's club it's a lot funnier than if you farted in a... farting area.

Berry: Or using bad language. Especially him using bad language, that's really bad.

And then if you go back in time and use it around people who are even less used to it...

Fulcher: Exactly. Plus I'm an uncouth American, fish out of water.

Berry: All the hanging, which I think could be of interest to your readers, was actually done in a real prison. And so all of that was the real gear that was actually used. It was actually cheaper to go and film in a real prison. And this prison, I don't think we'd be allowed to say where it is, still has its room with all its bits, the trapdoor and stuff. So it didn't even have to be dressed and everything. So that was quite eerie because it was filmed in a real execution chamber.

That would have freaked me out a bit.

Berry: Well it was weird, the first two or three hangings that we did, but after that it was fine.

Fulcher: Yeah, you surprisingly got used to it...

Has anyone seen part of the show, just the bits with the hanging, and asked what you're doing? "This isn't funny, this is death!"

Fulcher: I went back to the states in the holidays and I showed my friends, and they had that reaction initially, but then I made sure they kept watching the episode, and they got it.

Can you tell me a little more about the other locations in the show?

Berry: Most of it, bar the gentlemen's club, was shot in the East End. All the shop fights, exteriors-

Fulcher: A lot of the 'boyfriend' sketches, and running around when Matt's chasing me.

Berry: They're all off Brick Lane.

Fulcher: And the Jack The Ripper sketch was... historically accurate, would you say?

Berry: No. But it's a street not far from where those things happened.

The Real Matt Berry

Find out about the real Matt.

Matt's acting history

The Real Rich Fulcher

Find out about the real Rich.

Rich's acting history

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