Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont on their brand new sitcom - about their own marriage
Meet The Richardsons was never meant to be an embellished idea of what marriage is - but proper warts and all, Jon Richardson says, of his and wife Lucy Beaumont's new sitcom. Gemma Dunn finds out more.
Ever wondered what really goes on behind closed doors when it comes to celebrity couples? Well, now's your chance to find out. Kind of.
Starring Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont, Meet The Richardsons - written by Lucy, 36, and Car Share's Tim Reid - offers a fictional window into the funny and frustrated marriage of the comic couple.
Airing on Gold, the six-part sitcom sees the duo play exaggerated versions of themselves as viewers get a glimpse into their home and work lives, surrounded by their famous friends (Bernie Clifton, Alan Carr and Jonathan Ross star, to name a few) and their Hebden Bridge neighbours.
"Fundamentally, it's about being under the same roof as someone you love, but who irritates you on a daily basis," explains Jon, 37. "That's universal. It's just two people winding each other up."
Featuring a third birthday party for their daughter Elsie, caravan holidays and Jon's constant refusal to do or go to anything, we're set for a giggle. But what else can the pair tell us?
HOW DID 'MEET THE RICHARDSONS' COME ABOUT?
L: We did Married To A Celebrity on Channel 4, which we really enjoyed, as we were basically arguing on TV and found it quite cathartic. Then Lee Hupfield [the producer] thought it could work as a sitcom and he was so enthusiastic, we trusted him that we could make it work.
J: I think he could see the backstory; the same as in Seinfeld, you see their lives and how it informs their stage act. This is that, but our couch scenes are a nugget of an argument and all the rest of it is how real life plays out from that.
HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT CAMERAS INVADING YOUR HOME?
L: I loved it. I definitely played up to being a bit more of an aggressor. Normally I take a lot and have to back down for a lot of things. I really enjoyed going hammer and tongs and putting Jon in to awkward situations. Like setting him on fire - I really enjoyed that.
J: It helps you win an argument when it's in a script and it can't be changed. If you arrive on set and there's a pyrotechnics team there, you sort of know you're going to get set on fire.
HOW DID THE WRITING PROCESS PAN OUT?
L: I co-wrote it with Tim Reid, who co-wrote the first series of Car Share with Peter Kay. A lot of it was taking story lines from things that have happened, almost verbatim from an argument. It sometimes got really meta, because the lines between the fictional Jon and the real Jon blurred. [For example], I agreed for us to do a Dock Pudding competition and I said that Jon was going to be a judge, but I forgot to tell the real Jon!
HOW TRUE IS IT TO YOUR OWN LIVES?
L: All of it. Some of the story lines have been heightened for entertainment, but it's always real. It's a bit like The Only Way Is Essex. Jon's saying Seinfeld and I'm thinking, 'It's not, it's The Only Way Is Essex'.
J: It's not The Only Way Is Essex!
L: It's exactly the same thing that they do, and there's nothing wrong with saying that. People love it. And they all own beauty salons now, so we're going to be all right. You're going to be selling false eyelashes.
IS THERE REALLY A LOT OF ARGUING AT HOME, OR IS THERE A LOT MORE LAUGHING?
L: It's very rare that I make Jon laugh. He laughs at me more than with me. It's more like, 'That was the most bizarre thing I've ever seen'.
J: I think we're quite relaxed around each other when we're on our own, but when we have guests, we both click into gig mode and work as a double act. I become a heightened version of me and you become a heightened version of you, and we could both do with being heightened, let's be honest.
HOW DID ELSIE FIND THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE?
Both: She absolutely loved it.
J: She's just at an age where she can't really remember what went before, so she doesn't understand why people have stopped filming every minute of our lives. She keeps asking when the crew are coming back. She kept asking to be in scenes.
L: We didn't want her in it a lot though. She was too good! We don't want her to be the next Shirley Temple. We do need to be careful about how much we expose her.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO MORE SERIES?
L: We hope so, because it's so enjoyable.
J: I think, if anything, it phased the marriage out by increasing the workload, and that's the way we should do it. A few more series of this and then separate houses with an adjoining door. It's basically where we are now. I'm mostly in the pub, in the garage, and you're in our house, and then we meet up for a shoot.
CAN YOU SEE YOURSELVES BECOMING THE KING AND QUEEN OF DAYTIME TV?
J: I think with daytime, there's only a matter of time before you're trending on Twitter for saying something that's been taken out of context, whereas you have more control with this. It is our lives, but ultimately, you know you can record something six times then pick the best one and edit it.
L: It wouldn't do us any harm to stay away from being like a married Ant and Dec.
J: I don't think there are many married couples who can do what we've done. But we probably aren't the people who could interview Peter Andre about his upcoming tour. So we'll leave others to that.
- Meet The Richardsons launches on Dave on Thursday, February 27.