Entertainment & Arts

Talking Shop: Miranda Hart

Miranda Hart
Image caption Hart won a Royal Television Society award earlier this year

Miranda Hart is among nominees for Sunday's TV Baftas, garnering nods for best female comedy performance as well as best sitcom for BBC Two show Miranda.

Hart, 37, is currently writing the second series of her eponymous sitcom which she describes as "semi-autobiographical-ish".

The first series of the show - which features an exaggerated version of herself struggling with social interaction - has already earned her a Royal Television Society (RTS) award.

Hart, who earned her comedy spurs with shows at the Edinburgh Festival, talks about falling over, talking to her dog and the "manly" smell of David Walliams.

How did you feel when you won the RTS best actress award in March?

I found it incredibly surreal and also slightly nerve-wracking and slightly, in my middle-class way, embarrassing.

For me, the plus side of not winning anything - which I'm genuinely not bothered about - is not having to make a speech because it's terrifying.

I don't really remember it but I got up and I said I haven't won a prize since junior high jump in 1980 and I ran off. And everyone kind of went, 'oh'.

How did you find out about the Bafta nominations?

I'm going to a television festival next week in Monte Carlo and, on the day I found out, I was thinking: 'I wonder when the Baftas are. I'm sure I'm not nominated but I'll just check because I think it's coming out today and, if not, I'll go on the Sunday.'

So I googled the Baftas and found the awards. So it was weird. I sat in my sitting room going, 'oh, right, well done me'.

How does it feel to be nominated against the likes of Jo Brand and Peep Show?

It's just amazing to be in the company of people I admire.

For the best female comedy performance, I think it would be rather marvellous if all four nominees could get up together and make some screamy, girlie-based speech.

You never know. The joint winners are…

How does the co-writing process work on Miranda work?

Image caption Hart took part in Comic Relief Does Fame Academy in 2007

It's basically me that writes it and I have help on the storylining, so I come up with all the ideas.

I present my ideas and the two guys that I work with help me to get it into some kind of coherent story and then I go away and write it.

So it's basically me, on my own, talking to my dog at home for months going slightly insane.

At the moment, it's all about writing, writing, writing, so I'm going to have a very grumpy and very angry summer.

How much of the real Miranda is in the character of Miranda?

I do feel like I'm playing a character. It's not really me.

I do write about things that I love or hate or a couple of things that might have happened to me in real life - getting called sir in a shop and getting locked in a park were real.

But because I've been working since the first series came out, I haven't really had a life so I've got very few ideas because nothing has happened to me.

What can we expect from the second series? Does Miranda get it on with [love interest] Gary?

Gary's going to probably come back from Hong Kong - maybe he will unless the actor Tom Ellis gets some film in Hollywood. But I'm sure he'll choose my sitcom over that.

Miranda's mother, Penny [played by veteran actress Patricia Hodge] will continue embarrassing her daughter in different ways and I might fall over again - you just never know.

There are points in the show when Miranda turns to the camera. mid-scene, to give some narration. How did that come about?

When I was a lot younger - probably about seven or eight - I saw Eric Morecambe do it to camera and I just thought, 'I want to do that one day'.

It was one of the things that made me think about getting into comedy, watching Eric Morecambe do that.

And the Hi-De-Hi style "you've been watching" ending?

Image caption Hart is currently writing the second series of the show

Well I thought, I'm doing a studio audience sitcom and they often get slammed for being too old-fashioned or people think it's a laughter track put on.

They're so out of vogue, those shows, or there's a slightly snobby attitude to them, so I thought, 'well I'm just going to embrace the genre for what it is'.

So I thought I'm going to blooming well do the 70's ending.

How did you find your celebrity relay bike race from John O'Groats to Land's End for Sport Relief?

I was so unfit, the biking was hideous, my back went, my legs went - it was just awful.

The bus stank and I get travel sick and I couldn't stand upright in it. Me and David Walliams couldn't stand up.

What did it smell of?

Mainly David Walliams. He's very manly. The only way that he was manly was by odour.

The Bafta TV awards, hosted by Graham Norton, will be broadcast at 2000 BST on Sunday 6 June on BBC One.

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