Siblings is a new BBC Three sitcom created and written by Keith Akushie (Fresh Meat), starring Charlotte Ritchie (Fresh Meat) and Tom Stourton (Live At The Electric) as Hannah and Dan - the worst brother and sister in the world.
Each week, through their own selfishness and idiocy, we see them spectacularly wreck the lives of those around them – old friends, love interests, family members, and the unlucky individuals who just happen to cross their paths.
Starring Charlotte Ritchie & Tom Stourton
Written by Keith Akushie
Directed by Dan Zeff
Produced by Phil Gilbert
Executive produced by Simon Wilson and Damon Beesley
Siblings is a TV show about a dysfunctional brother and sister who live together and who endlessly find themselves in situations where they act inappropriately.
What attracted you to Siblings?
I think what attracted me to it was probably that it’s quite different to the parts I’ve played before in the sense that, Hannah was completely not self-aware, blunt, inappropriate and driven by one thought only, not having hundreds of thoughts in her head necessarily. I really like that, it’s kind of an interesting part and I thought the script was funny.
What was working with Tom like?
Terrible! No, really nice. It does become a sort of brother and sister relationship. Well, not as close as a brother and sister because we’ve only known each other for as long as we worked on Siblings. We kind of knew each other before we met, over the years through friends, but we’ve never worked together. At first I was nervous because you have to spend a long period of time with someone and in the end it was brilliant. Luckily, I find him very funny so that helps.
Would he make a good brother?
I think so, in real life, yes. And, in fact, in the show. His character is much nicer than mine I think. He’s much more well-meaning. His mistakes come from him being desperate for friends whereas mine come from, also being desperate for friends, but usually driven by quite selfish impulses. But he’s very nice, Tom is a very lovely man.
You’ve got some brilliant guests in the series, what was it like working with them?
It was so good. Our mum is played by Stella Gonet and she’s just brilliant. She’s so funny and so dry. She’s really great, she’s so glamorous. She was in a play about Margaret Thatcher just before she started and she did her impression of Margaret Thatcher, it was really scary! I love the rest of the cast, the casting is brilliant. Some of them I knew before, I’d seen their comedy and stuff. It’s very comforting to have good people come in.
Do you see any similarities between you and Hannah?
I don’t think so. I like to think I’m not similar, maybe deep down I might be but she’s quite selfish and driven by her own needs and I at least attempt to not be that. And if I am that I try to suppress it as much as possible or try to disguise it as being charitable. But I do admire her in a way for just being blunt and it’s very fun to do.
You’re in a band with your brother. Tell us about that.
A few months before I started Siblings I actually started working with my brother which we thought would be really weird but, actually, it’s really great! We’ve both done music independently for a long time and we’d always kind of been interested in each other’s music and it just seemed like an interesting thing to do. I moved home and I was really close, around the corner, and I did harmonies for one of his gigs and then we thought this might be a viable thing.
It’s nice and liberating because we can’t get rid of each other because we’re related and we do get on really well, and we have the rest of our family, my sister and my mum and dad to temper us. It’s good because a lot of Luke’s songs are sung from the third person so we never sing at each other, it’s not the kind of weird brother sister thing. I think we complement each other’s voices quite well and we get on.
What style of music is it?
I guess the best way to describe it is close harmony acoustic music. It’s driven a lot by acoustic guitar although we’ve got an electric track. The close harmony is a big element, and we’ve tried to make it as equal as possible and on a lot of the songs both of us are singing most of the way through so there’s no one main leader.
This is your second comedy. What’s your favourite comedy on TV at the moment? Are you a big fan of old comedy or do you prefer new comedy?
I really like old comedy. I’m a bit of a nerd in the sense that I really like Monty Python. My favourite is Green Wing. I like quite surreal stuff but I really also like the guys behind League Of Gentlemen and they just did Inside No. 9, which I just love. It’s really dark, some of it is really funny. I think they’re just amazing. So that really kind of surreal dark stuff I really like, even though that’s not necessarily what I’ve done. I’ve got a lot of friends who are beginning to do comedy like my friend Ellie White, Tash Demetriou and her brother Jamie Demetriou and they are people that I started in comedy with. Liam Williams is really good, so people that are up and coming.
Interview with Tom Stourton
What is Siblings?
Siblings is about a brother and a sister both in their twenties (Dan and Hannah), who live together in the sister’s flat. They are both hopeless and extremely self-destructive (but in a funny way hopefully). While the show does focus on stuff like not being able to get a job or have any kind of meaningful relationship the spirit of the show is very big and silly. Despite being terrible for each other’s well-being they are sort of dependent on each other as well, as there is no one else as useless as them in the universe.
What attracted you to Siblings?
I’d love to say that I have the luxury of cherry picking scripts. The truth is I’ll essentially do anything (within reason). With Siblings I was just incredibly lucky that the thing happened to be such an amazing and funny script. Some comedy sometimes feels quite light on the jokes when you watch it, more heavy on the drama. With Siblings, I really admired how the writer Keith Akushie just packed in as many jokes as possible and always went for the funniest option. Even if this meant me getting electrocuted by a dildo.
Do you see any similarities between you and Dan?
Well, a major flaw with Dan is that he lacks any kind of self-awareness so perhaps there are loads of similarities but I’m just not aware of them. He likes gaming which I’m ashamed to say I do. Although he seems not to see that there's anything weird about inviting three 14-year-olds boys over to game with him in their lunch break. Which I do. Promise.
What was working with Charlotte like?
She was brilliant. She's a fantastic actress and it was really fun watching her work when we weren't in scenes together. It was also really helpful that we got on because we could always encourage each other if a joke wasn't working or something. We were actually both at Bristol University together but never crossed paths. Perhaps deep down we knew that one day we would be friends and there was no rush. That or she just avoided me cos she actually hates me.
Would she make a good sister?
I've already got a sister. Don't want to be disloyal.
Siblings has some brilliant guests in the series, what was it like working with them?
It was great, particularly as lots of them were guys and girls I'd met doing live comedy over the past couple of years, including Tom Palmer who I'm in a double act with.
You’re in a comedy duo called ‘Totally Tom’ too?
We're a sketch act although we haven't done live stuff for a while. We've done some TV stuff, and appeared as two characters on Live At The Electric on BBC Three. We try to write as much as possible for whatever format though. At the moment most of the things we do are for a YouTube channel called Mr Box.
How would you describe your style of comedy?
Our live stuff has tended to be pretty broad - I wouldn't say we had a particular style. Sketch comedy as you probably know is different to stand-up, as you're sort of doing mini-plays. I wouldn't say it's the coolest type of comedy, more like the comedy equivalent of the nerdy older brother who hangs about with his younger brother's mates and still lives at home with his parents. That last bit is becoming particularly relevant to me.
What’s your favourite comedy on TV at the moment?
I like all kinds of comedy. I was brought up on stuff like Red Dwarf and Blackadder, but my favourite two things of all time remain Dumb And Dumber and Alan Partridge. As for new stuff, the best thing I've seen is Eastbound and Down. And Siblings obviously.