Neil Morrissey is Barry
Although Carrie & Barry marks Neil Morrissey's reunion with the team
who made him a household name in Men Behaving Badly, the part offers
different challenges, as Neil explains:
"Barry is completely different from Tony because he is much more of
a family man. He goes out to work and basically earns a living. Very
different from Tony!
"He's got responsibilities, he's got a daughter, he drives a taxi
and has done The Knowledge and I doubt that Tony could ever remember
three street names put together!"
He continues: "One of the big pulls of the job was that with Simon
you know that you are in safe hands and I really wanted to work with
Hartswood Films again.
"They are absolutely brilliant, Beryl and Sue and director Martin
Dennis, top, total professionals. It was like coming back from school
holidays. You just feel absolutely secure."
He has thoroughly enjoyed playing Barry: "He and Carrie are very happily
married, absolutely in love and co-dependent in a really cool way.
"They adore each other, are completely confident with each other,
and if an episode was ever written where there was any infidelity, it
would destroy them both.
"They are so into each other and the problems that arise are to
do with what's going on around them rather than to do with their relationship."
The series is indeed a candid look at the life of a happily married
"I would call it naughty rather than rude. The series deals with sex
between a husband and wife, but no-one is trying to be Julie Christie
and Donald Sutherland in Don't Look Now! We're not trying to do Nine
and a Half Weeks here!
"Everyone is aware of their sexuality in a very grown-up, family
"These two aren't rampant teenagers trying to show off their technique
to each other. They are a stable couple with a stable sex life. The
series has got a lot of warmth."
Nonetheless, Barry has to deal with the fraught relationship between
his wife and his daughter Sinead from his first marriage:
"Carrie just hates children. Maybe she's the youngest in a family
of nine, I don't know! Also Sinead is just 18 which, as we all know,
is a notoriously difficult time.
"There is always going to be a bit of resentment, that feeling
that Carrie has taken her dad away.
"It's demonstrated very well in the series without being anywhere
near nasty. It's just the typical problems of a hormonal teenager!"
Although they had not worked together before, Neil had met Claire Rushbrook
socially a few months ago, as he explains:
"Claire was at primary school with my business partner Matt, and I
first met her last autumn down at my hotel one mad weekend. She is so
easy going and easy to work with and it was a bit of a dream job really."
However Neil has known Mark Williams - who plays his best mate Kirk
- for some 15 years:
"We appeared together in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer and did a
Slade sketch together. I think he was Derek, the drummer from Slade
and I played Ozzy Osbourne, their next-door neighbour.
"Mark and I were down in Wales and I said to him, 'You should
have a look at this script, at the part of Kirk'. He said, 'Yes, by
all means' and of course he was bang up to the mark really. He is just
so clever and fantastic. He is a lot of fun and his technique is just
He continues: "Kirk might be Barry's best mate, but he still exasperates
him with his overtly sexual vernacular.
"But then again the poor guy hasn't had a shag for so long that
he is going to explode!"
Barry also has a slightly fraught relationship with his wife's best
"She gets on his nerves. She's a bit anti-man, anti-everything and
lives in her own little world, but deep down she is probably a bit of
a lost soul.
"She has her vulnerabilities, but she doesn't wear her heart on
her sleeve - she keeps it locked well away!"
The series does call for a fair bit of intimacy between Carrie and
Neil laughs: "The series starts with Barry trying to persuade Carrie
to have all her pubic hair shaved off.
"There is some sex which is always difficult to do - we have to
slot around in a few different positions, which is always awkward to
act without revealing too much.
"It's them having normal sex though, which a lot of people do,
in a comedic way.
"The idea is that we are trying to spice things up a little bit
and then we add the spontaneity."
Although long identified with sitcom work, Carrie & Barry is only the
second sitcom Neil has done.
In a career spanning some 25 years he has mixed drama, comedy, theatre
and documentary with his businesses.
He owns some hotels and also runs his own production company:
"Since Men Behaving Badly I have had a lot of fun and it's been pretty
varied! I'm still doing on-going work on Bob the Builder, there have
been two series of Paradise Heights and I have been putting together
a feature film for my production company Cactus Media Group.
"We've got a script written by Dick Clements and Ian Le Frenais
and a full-time producer on the case.
"I've also been building up my hotel business Hurst House. We now have
three establishments up and running in Wales as well as one private
members' bar and a fine dining restaurant, Hurst House London, opening
in Covent Garden in November.
"I go to Wales whenever I can. It's stunning, colourful, great
pubs, lovely people!"
Neil concludes: "I really think people are going to enjoy Carrie &
Barry and identify with the characters and the situations. It's warm
and a lot of fun with a cheeky, naughty side."