Marion And Geoff was first broadcast three years
ago on BBC2 and was part of the new wave of reality comedy.
Brydon's dark monologue - co-written with Hugo
Blick - earned him a British Comedy Award for Best Newcomer.
A second series is now being screened, but this
time Brydon plays a chauffeur instead of a taxi driver. However,
that's where the changes end between this series and the first.
The character of Keith still talks into the camera
mounted on his dashboard about his relationship with his adulterous
ex-wife, Marion, and their two sons.
Peter Cook spoke to Rob Brydon ahead of his Norwich
date about being a vertically-challenged actor, Keith's bigger car
and rubbing shoulders with Kylie.
Most people will know you from Marion And Geoff
but you've been in plenty of other programmes and even on the big
screen haven't you?
Yes, I've paid my dues. I was in a film called
First Knight with Sean Connery and Richard Gere. I played the part
of 'first villager'. When I went to audition for that it was very
I have a theory that the collective noun for actors
should be a "humiliation of actors".
When I auditioned for the part I met the casting
director called Mary Sellway, who is a grande dame of English cinema.
She looked at me and said to her assistant, "Now what could Rob
do in this?" Her assistant said, "Erm, maybe a marauder." She looked
at me and said, "Hmmm. Five foot seven, no, I think maybe first
I was clearly too short to be a marauder, you can't
be a marauder at five foot seven - you'd be laughed out of town.
So she gave me this script and I had to say, "No,
please, no I beg of you..." That was it, I had to be a man who got
shot...and I got the part.
But three days afterwards I got a call from my
agent who said, "Bad news with the film, I'm afraid you haven't
got your lines anymore." So I still did it and my lines ended up
with an actor who went on to be in EastEnders.
But I have also been a presenter on BBC Radio Wales
and I'm the voice of the Andrex Puppy, which I'm very proud of because
it's a lovely advert and a super puppy.
How do you and Hugo Blick write Marion And Geoff?
We get together in an office and spend a few months
talking about what could have happened to Keith since the last series.
We'll hit on an idea and we'll get a tape recorder
out. Hugo would get a tape recorder out and ask me questions, like
what if Keith said this or did that. He takes that away and structures
it and adds stuff to it and then brings it back. We'll go through
it again and add to it again.
We then go to the car with a finished script. Sometimes
it may say Keith talks about, say, garden furniture and I'll just
make that up on the spot. Within all that sometimes I'll just improvise
because that's what I like.
Then Hugo comes back and edits it and it's his
skill in the edit to break that down into usable chunks.
I think one of the great skills is the edit. To
keep our attention it needs great editing. So I could look through
a show with you and say that bit was made up on the day and that
bit was entirely scripted.
Is it true that you got a larger car this time
just so Hugo could come along?
[Laughs] No, he's always come along but in the
last series we had a small car and he got a bit sick.
But this time we've got a big Chrysler and Hugo
comes along in the back and my mate Dave Lambert is there too. He
works for the production company and so all credit to him that he
managed to fit into that very intense relationship that Hugo and
Who is Keith talking to?
I don't know that we've ever said who it is. I'm
wary because Hugo may have a different idea on this than me. He's
obviously aware because he leans forward and switches the camera
on and off. Some say he's sending tapes to his kids.
In this series he shows you audio cassettes of
his days out, he goes to places where you might take kids and records
himself there then sends it to his children. We didn't feel it was
necessary to explain, it's just, this is how it is.
I suppose it's on the same lines of the way he
never talked in the first series about being a taxi driver. He never
said look at the state of these roads or guess who I had in the
back of my cab. We just said this is his life. For whatever reason
he is recording stuff because as far as I'm aware we have never
There's plenty of music in the series, who chooses
Again it's Hugo and myself. Some of it's from my
collection, some of it's from his. I think that's one of his great
strengths, seeing how the music can help the drama, inform the drama.
There's a lovely bit in episode six, a piece of
music by Ash right at the end which I'd never heard of but Hugo
brought that in one day.
My stuff was Johnny Cash, Tom Petty and Slade.
It's a mishmash. It's like when you talk about where the ideas come
from. In this series Keith's son breaks his arm and that came directly
from my son breaking his arm in a soft play area, but then it was
also informed by Hugo's experiences of taking his kids to hospital.
So it's an amalgam of things and we build it up
that way. Things that may have happened to us and things that we
may have observed in other people.
And you've met Kylie haven't you on Jonathan
Ross's show. Were you tempted to do a bit of Justin Timberlake?
[Laughs] It's funny when you meet these people
because people say "Oh, you've met Kylie Minogue" but we sort of
met each other when we sat on the couch before the show and she
signed some photos for my kids.
I heard that her Mum had come from Wales so we
had a little chat but really at these things you're there to do
a job. She was whisked away at the end and you get a glimpse of
that type of fame and it's not terribly appealing.
It always helps, and this sounds awfully shallow,
if people like that have seen your show because that makes a big
difference. You're on a level footing with them and you'd be surprised
at the people who have seen it who are big fans.
I went to an awards ceremony a few years ago and
Elvis Costello was there and I'm a big fan of his so I went over
to say hello and he said, "I know who you are." Then he reeled off
all my credits, quoting stuff I'd done, I never expected that.
Then I've met other people and I've thought they'll
know and they don't know you from Adam.
Tell us about the stage show.
The idea behind it is what would Keith do if he
were asked to come and give a talk about divorce. What he does is
give a talk with a slide show called Making Divorce Work. He says,
"I am a divorced man myself and I can honestly say I have never
He says, "I will slip in a few jokes through the
evening because it's a very heavy subject."
For example, if you are going to get divorced you
have to be like the man at the tollbooth, you have to be prepared
to accept change.
And there is lots of change, one of the first things
to change is the locks, you may find that your key no longer fits
your wife's locks.
He says Paul Simon once said there are 50 ways
to leave your lover, slip out the back Jack, make a new plan Stan
and 48 others.
At the end of the evening my favourite part is
a counselling session where the audience can ask questions and you
get some lovely moments. They know it's a
very special moment and that can be lovely.