Tamsin Greig’s friends wanted to know only one thing after watching the first series of Episodes – what it was like kissing Matt LeBlanc! She admits she was amazed by how many women were interested in the nitty gritty of her character’s passionate encounter with the former Friends star.
Tamsin Greig plays Beverly Lincoln
“What's so interesting is the number of women - really brilliant, professional, educated, dynamic women - who have said to me 'what was it like?’”, she laughs.
“I’m sure no one said to Matt 'what was it like kissing Tamsin Greig, that must have been a real highlight of your career?' He is just a bloke and actually kissing is so technical, it's about being at the right angle and having the mouth in a certain position, it's really not about what you are doing. You can't say 'what was it like?' because it wasn't a real kiss.”
But the kiss, and what went with it, has shaped the whole of series two, as Beverly, Sean and Matt are forced to work together, whilst coping with the aftermath of the drunken encounter.
Tamsin says: “Beverly and Sean’s positions are diametrically opposed to the first series where she didn't want to be there and he did. Now Sean is there because his contract says he has to be, while Beverly is there because she wants to save her marriage and she knows if they go home their marriage is over.”
It also means that she and Matt are now on the same side, trying to make amends for what happened.
“They are now interestingly allied because they both lost Sean. They want to keep Sean there and they both want to win his heart back.”
Tamsin says a lot of actors and directors have told her the series struck a chord as they watched Sean and Beverly struggle to keep their comedy’s integrity, despite the pressure from the LA TV industry.
“A number of actors have said they went into a cold sweat when they watched the scene with Richard Griffiths because that happened to them, it is so brutally real. Although it is so excruciatingly funny it is shockingly painful when that happens. That people have that amount of power to reduce people in that way.”
But she believes it is Matt’s willingness to take the mickey out of his image and the cult of celebrity that has made the show such a success.
“Matt is a game bird because it blows out of the water this idea of celebrity and that you can possibly know them from glossy magazines and paparazzi photographs. So for him to play an invention of Matt LeBlanc is such a brilliant way for him to say you don't really know. That might happen, that might not happen - you just don't know.”
Despite her success with hit shows including Green Wing, Black Books and Friday Night Dinner, Tamsin has never been tempted to try her luck in the US and says she has no ambitious masterplan for a career in Hollywood.
She says: “I am not stupid - I'm not young and I'm not beautiful. The beauty of this show is that it’s made over here, but you get to experience a bit of America as well, so you get to dip your toe in that world. If a job fell from heaven that was in America I'd have a go, but I don't feel compelled to go and hunt it down. I am interested in shows that are not out-and-out gag fests: you see the truth of a broken heart behind them. That is what life is like, it's really funny, you see funny things as soon as you step out of the room, but underneath that is a whole bag of broken hearts. It's that real pain and that real hilarity that makes life so intriguing.”