'It's the end of something so important' | Charlotte Ritchie on the end of Fresh Meat © Mark Johnson / Channel4

'It's the end of something so important'

Charlotte Ritchie on the end of Fresh Meat

This is going to be the last series of Fresh Meat. How does that feel?

It feels sad. It’s weird, because it hasn’t been on yet, so I can’t really gauge how it’s going to feel to see it. It’s just the end of something so important. I think the fact that we’ve already finished filming it means that’s it now – in my head, it’s done. And resurrecting it again for when it’s on telly is going to be another painful experience. And when that ends, it will be painful. So they’re just dragging us through the mud, really!

It sounds like you’ll really miss filming the show...

It’s been such a huge part of my life, and it will be until I’m an old, old lady. It was the first proper TV show I did, the acting gig that taught me everything I know, and got me all the jobs I’ve had since. So it’s huge, it’s quite momentous that it’s coming to an end.

You were at university when you were first cast, weren’t you?

Yeah, I had a couple of weeks left. I had my dissertation to write. I remember at my second-to-last audition, the executive producer saying 'So, do you reckon you can do your dissertation at the weekend. You know, just finish it this weekend?' And I was like, 'Um… I don’t know. Do I have the job? Because if I do, then yes I can! Because ultimately, what I get won’t matter.'

And since I have become an actor, not one person has asked me what degree I got. Actually I didn’t finish it in a weekend, but my university incredibly kindly gave me a two-week extension. For the first three weeks of filming I was incredibly boring, and just went home every night to finish my dissertation.

Your character Oregon’s is now the university President of the Union. How’s she dealing with that?

She loves it. She’s a megalomaniac perfectionist, so she loves a position of power, she sees herself as the English version of Obama. She sees being President of the Union as the first rung on the ladder to government. She takes it a bit too far, and a lot of the series is about how her crazy attitude towards this power trip pans out.

How do you feel about her after all this time?

If I met her, I would not be able to stand her, she’s so annoying. But I do love her, there’s something about her desperate insecurities. She’s annoying because she’s desperate to be successful, and prove everybody wrong and be this person that she isn’t.

The majority of the characters are now in their third year, heading towards their finals. Is it just going to be episode after episode of everyone hitting the books and just studying really hard?

Yeah, we thought we’d take the audience through real time of what it’s like to revise for exams, so there are actually no jokes. Each character gets an episode about their own subject. It’s just essentially a learning course now. Channel 4’s driving an education thing, they wanted everyone to learn geology!

What do you think Oregon’s high and low points have been at university?>
Low points? Soon many! I think, possibly, having a big affair with her tutor and then sleeping with his son is probably the low point. High point? Her friendship with Vod. They’re not perfect, either of them, but that romance between them is the best!

How was it when you finally wrapped on your last day on set?

It was really odd. I finished two weeks earlier than everyone else, because I had to go and film Call the Midwife. So I felt like I’d left too soon. It was really surreal, everyone else was still there. It was only when we all had dinner that night, and we all spoke about how much it had meant to all of us, that it really hit me.

But I think it won’t be until the last episode is on the telly, and I watch that final scene, and whatever epic piece of music they decide to use, and it will reduce me to Alex Mack on the floor, a shiny bit of water that slides out of the door.

Who will you watch with?

I hope we get together. We were either going to get together for the first episode or the last. We need to get organised. But whatever happens I hope to watch it with at least one of the guys. We’re all kind of in different places, but if I’m around I definitely want to watch it with them.

What will you miss most about being in Fresh Meat?

Hanging out with those five, and various crew, and people who have been there all the way through. I would always think how twee it would seem when actors went on about how much they all loved each other, but there’s something about being with all of them that is just ridiculously comforting. It feels homely. I’ll miss that. It’s so cool, and it’s not really something you can recreate.

• Read more interviews with Greg McHugh and Jack Whitehall. The fourth and final episode of Fresh Meat starts on Channel 4 soon.

Published: 15 Feb 2016

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