Heading Out

New six-part comedy for BBC Two penned by Sue Perkins

Dominic Coleman plays Jamie

I thought the scripts were fantastic and I knew Nicola Walker was involved who I think is a brilliant actress. It was a dream cast actually..."Dominic Coleman

You play Jamie in Heading Out.  How does he fit in?

Jamie’s a very neurotic, uptight and fastidious chap, who’s a long-standing friend of both Sara and Justine. He has a love-hate relationship with Sara as he finds her very exasperating. He has unresolved issues, he’s quite sexless and has this terrible, burning crush on Justine that he’s harbored for many years. It’s quite a hard part to play as he’s not always very likeable and like Sara, is holding something in because he’s frightened of being hurt. However, as the series progresses he comes out of his shell a lot more, and ultimately wants the best for his friends.

Do you see any of yourself in Jamie?

Yes, I do! It’s quite funny because when I auditioned for the character, I felt he would be really tough because I thought it was nothing like me at all. But while I was filming Trollied – which is a totally different character – it dawned on me that actually, although I always found Jamie fairly hard to nail down, I was practically playing myself! I can be very fastidious and difficult at times, to be honest.

Did you enjoy the experience?

I thought the scripts were fantastic and I knew Nicola Walker was involved who I think is a brilliant actress. It was a dream cast actually – a great balance of really big names and people like Steve Oram who isn’t so well known but is equally brilliant. It ticked all the boxes and it was a great challenge.

You’ve known Steve Oram for years, what was it like working with him?

There’s one scene in the series where I have to punch him, and when I first read the script, I thought my character gave him a half-hearted punch on the arm but he doesn’t, he smacks him in the face! When I realised, I thought, ‘I can’t do that!’ It was off the back of him being slapped repeatedly by Raquel Cassidy’s character, so I think it was quite an ordeal for him. We have a couple of very nice head-to-head scenes though, and he makes me laugh so much, so we did have a few chuckle moments. I find it difficult not to corpse on set because once you go, it’s so hard to carry on. You have to tread the line – you want to be on the edge of it, as it’s meant to be funny, but you have to keep control.

Obviously Sara and Daniel have a lot of calamitous incidents with animals. Have you had any unfortunate experiences with animals on or off set?

There are a lot of dog owners within the show’s cast and crew – I’ve got two dogs myself, and Sue’s got a gaggle of dogs – so there were lots of canine lovers around on set. It was quite odd working with a lot of disobedient dogs, which they all turned out to be!

Having a smelly-breathed terrier in close proximity during a driving scene was not a great experience. My dogs are a constant nightmare – the amount of times I’ve stood on a beach, looking out to sea and just heard someone screaming, “Whose dog is this?!”. I tend to find him tearing around with a chicken in his mouth, or a sausage swiped from someone’s picnic, so I’m used to my fair share of dog incidents! I was threatened only a couple of months ago when my dog stole a smoked salmon sandwich in Greenwich Park. The owner wasn’t happy at all!

Do you think Jamie and Justine may get together if there’s a second series?

It’s a lovely idea that Jamie and Justine could get together, but I also think it would be better if they didn’t and it becomes an unresolved thing between them. It would be nice to see them in ill-matched relationships, thinking they’re doing the right thing, but knowing deep down that they should be with each other.

What else have you got coming up at the moment?

I’m working on series three of Trollied to go on Sky 1, as well as a Christmas special – which is always a bit strange, being filmed in March! After that, I don’t know. I’ve been very lucky, working very hard over the last five months, so I haven’t really been looking, but hopefully there’ll be a second series of Heading Out that we can start working on soon.