'I’ve just made it look like there’s a beef between me and Louis Theroux...' | Romesh Ranganathan on series four of the Ranganation © Off The Kerb

'I’ve just made it look like there’s a beef between me and Louis Theroux...'

Romesh Ranganathan on series four of the Ranganation

Romesh Ranganathan’s topical comedy show, The Ranganation returns to BBC Two for its fourth series on October 3, with his his focus group, the Ranganation, and celebrity guests discussing the lighter end of the news spectrum. 

Are most of The Ranganation returning? Including your mum?

All of the main Ranganation will be coming back, we tend to introduce a few new people each series, but you’re not going to ever see a complete replacement of all  20 of them. My mum is coming back, she’s very excited. 

She loves getting recognised for being on The Ranganation more than anyone I know – more than any of the other members of the Ranganation, more than me. Every week of last series, she bought a new bouquet of flowers to put in the background of her shot. She really thinks about that frame, the little backdrop of her in the grid, how the shot looks, how she looks, it’s all she talks about all week.

How do you feel about being back in the studio with the guests?

Last series it was a bit weird, we had the guests on Zoom, we had the Ranganation on Zoom, so I was the only one actually in the studio. 

Obviously we had the camera operators and the production team, but they were all terrified of coming anywhere near me – I hope it’s because of Covid. 

 I’m going to be in the studio again for this series, with the guests, and the Ranganation are going to be on Zoom. 

Are you pleased to hopefully see the end of lockdown and home-schooling?

I just feel so sorry for the kids being prisoner to their parents, it’s been really tough for them. At the beginning, everyone was talking about quality time with the family, but the gloss came off that pretty quickly. 

It sort of feels quite exciting, there’s a lot of going to things, walking into a pub saying ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this’ or a restaurant, ‘I can’t believe we’re sitting down and eating’. It’s like people are discovering gigs and restaurants for the first time ever which is quite nice, but what will happen is, everyone will get used to that and we’ll settle into our default setting of being slightly moany about everything.

Do you think your mum has grasped the technological side of things now?

She is not incapable of working technology. She could do it, if she put herself through it. She just wants to be guided through it. Every now and again, we’ll FaceTime her and you just see her chin or she’ll be in the bottom left corner and it’ll be mostly wall. 

We did a thing during one of the lockdowns where I wanted to try record our FaceTimes and put them up on YouTube. The 45 minutes it took for us to get to the point where she was on the screen and ready to go was some of the most stressful moments of my pandemic. It was insane.

Are you able to tease any of the celeb guests?

We’re in the process of getting them in, but I can tell you that Nadiya Hussain is coming on, which is exciting and Roisin Conaty who is one of my favourite comics. There’s loads more in the mix.

Who would your dream celeb guests be?

My dream guest would probably be Louis Theroux. I would love to see how he would interact with the Ranganation. I’ve asked him every series and he’d said he’d loved to and then he doesn’t come on... because he’s so booked up – I’ve just made it look like there’s some sort of beef between me and Theroux, but there isn’t.

Do you have any idea of the topics that will be covered in this series?

We tend to be led by what’s happening, but I think we’ll be talking a lot about people trying to return to a sense of normality and what that means. At the moment, people are coming out of lockdown and returning to normal life, but there are some things that are staying. I think it’s going to be a new version, do we do things in a slightly different way?

I follow some of the Ranganation on social media and I’ve been seeing them being released back into the wild – one of them has just released a single, I want to ask him about that. I feel like ‘cautiously optimistic’ is going to be the theme of this series.

I really love doing this show and I love chatting to the Ranganation. The truth is, most of the work happens in the prep, the hard work is sitting down and figuring out what we’re going to talk about and writing the scripts. 

The actual recording itself is just a laugh, it’s a really fun evening so I love doing it. I’m really excited about getting back to it.

If I’m being absolutely honest, every series I slightly worry that I’m going to struggle to do it. It’s a bit of a juggling act with all of the Ranganation and the guests and me getting us through. I just worry that I won’t be able to follow it all, it’s a big paranoia in the back of my mind. 

This is either going to be the series that’s better than the last or it’s going to be fun watching me break down – either way I think it’ll be great telly.

Published: 28 Sep 2021

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