'People like our sense of pent-up misery and fear' | Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont on the return of Meet The Richardsons © UKTV

'People like our sense of pent-up misery and fear'

Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont on the return of Meet The Richardsons

As Meet The Richardsons returns for a third series on Dave, Lucy Beaumont and Jon Richardson talk about moving to Leeds, misogyny in comedy and Lucy’s mum getting a bit too into the storylines…

How chuffed were you to get a third series?

Jon: We still can't believe we got away with the second series. We filmed it through lockdown but it looked just like a normal series, even though we took precautions. So the third series was a breeze; we could go anywhere and do anything. The gloves were off. We've got the new house, new location, new people and it’s re-energised it

Why do you think it's so popular?

Lucy: We really try to just go for laughs. We never wanted to go serious or start talking about our marriage. We’ve kept it silly. When we first did publicity for it, we said it's a documentary. We can be honest now, it's a sitcom. It's written but so much is real in it.

Jon: There’s a movement towards overt discussions of problems, and then there's the very traditional British view that that's all just beneath the surface. You can see what all our issues are, but we carry on as if nothing's happening. I think people like that sense of pent-up misery and fear that we have.

It's edited so the couch scenes go on for days. It's staggering how long we can sit on a couch and argue. But there are no lengthy scenes or playing the awkward silence - it's just a setup and a gag, and then we move on.

How much of it is scripted?

Lucy: I usually write notes of real things that have happened whether in the house or at work Then Tim [Reid] and I look at how we can make them into storylines. So half is real and half engineered.

Jon: For the start of the new series, we see Lucy on Pointless - you couldn’t script that. But then we take the story from there.

Lucy: Our producer was worried there wasn't enough mileage in us but now he thinks we're all right. It could run and run. Luckily Jon’s personality is so fitted to a sitcom because he's deeply flawed and has no awareness that he is.

What are the main changes since the last series?

Lucy: We’ve moved , which I was really worried about because people really liked Hebden Bridge and the Dog and Bastard [the pub Jon made in his shed[. Plus we’ve moved to a big shiny vulgar modern – like a footballer’s WAG – house, so it’s not as endearing. But luckily it's lifted it.

Jon: It’s put us on the back foot. We've gone from being the powerful ones in the valley to somewhere where the neighbours are taller and richer than us, and don't know who we are.

You moved to Leeds. Why there?

Lucy:We were very cut off where we were and we were getting excited about going to garden centres. It’d take us eight hours round trip to get to London and although it was idyllic, we were thinking where we want to be potentially for the next 15 to 20 years. Leeds has everything; I don't think you can outgrow it. I was starting to wear Crocs and we had no sex life.

Jon: Now we have no sex life but she’s wearing different shoes.  It has footballers too. We’re next to Kalvin Phillips [of Leeds FC[ who I try to do a podcast with but never succeed.

Your old neighbours are obviously sad about you moving…

Jon: Emma and Damion were our real neighbours, not actors, and one of my favourite scenes is when they meet the new neighbours and see the new house. You know exactly how they feel about it.

Damion's like an amazing Hollywood actor because he's just being himself. He thought the house was a bit big, posh and pompous, and it comes across in the way he reaches across for a salt and vinegar crisp.

Lucy: My mum Gill's got better and better at being herself, too. We've been lucky we haven't had to use many actors.

Have you used many in this series? Like your new ‘sex badger’ neighbours?

Lucy: They're actors. But they quickly thought they were real. When my mum met them she nearly punched them. We forgot to tell her they were actors and she was really struggling with how mean they were. We had to calm her down and start again.

She really thought Sally Phillips had taken Jon's documentary idea too, and was so angry with her.

Jon: All of this series is building towards Gill and Johnny Vegas’s wedding. And the culmination of it all is one of our most engineered scenes. I was really tense that day of filming because of all we had to do. But it's a perfect scene.

Gill and Johnny's wedding in Meet The Richardsons

Is there actually a bit of chemistry between your mum and Johnny?

Jon: There really is. They’re both very tactile people. With needs.

Lucy: He winds her up and then mum offers to have sex with him and he doesn't get back to her.

You go to Hollywood in this series, Lucy. Has this show changed your career?

Lucy: Definitely. It's really opened the door. Stand-up I love and I'll go back to, but I always wanted to write sitcoms, at a time when they weren't commissioning female sitcom writers. I couldn't even get a meeting. It's taken this to be able to get a foot in the door at other channels.

Jon: I don't think people realise how well-written and acted it is because it looks so natural. Lucy doesn't get the credit she deserves for her craft because people think they're watching two stand-ups messing about.

How do you handle Lucy's aspirations, Jon?

Jon: I'm going downhill the other side so it won't be long before I'm recording 3,000 episodes of a quiz a week in an airport hangar somewhere. I'm quite happy for Lucy to take on the world. And it will happen. We’ll move to America at some point because that's what Lucy wants to do. She's done everything else she's set her eyes on.

Lucy: I do want to work there and see how they do things. There's so much misogyny in comedy in the UK and they don't treat women like that in America.

Lucy and Jon in Bullseye t-shirt

Are you really having a change of heart about your career, Jon?

Jon: I'm 39, so there’s a big thing coming. I feel like a football match where we're approaching half-time. I've worked hard and been careful, so I'm three-nil up. In the second half, I can afford to take a few risks. What I mean is, I'm going to get a motorbike and a tattoo of Rik Mayall. And if that’s a midlife crisis, then so be it.

Can you really see yourself as an actor?

Jon: I can. But can Britain or Hollywood? Jed Mercurio [the Line Of Duty writer, who appears in the new series] gets it. My performance as a balding slightly podgy middle-aged failing comic is so believable that people forget I’m actually an athlete in his prime.

Jon on stage in Meet The Richardsons

Lucy: Jed Mercurio tweeted he liked the show so we instantly messaged him. Then Georgia Tennant, who is a darling, liked a couple of my tweets and said she was a fan. If anyone shows any interest, we write something for them.

Jon: People wanted to see what it is first because they didn't know if the joke is going to be on them. But they know now it ’s always on us. So the guest stars we're asking to be on are saying yes quite quickly.

Who are you most excited to have on this series?

Jon: The Tennants was huge for us. We've never had a Pussycat Doll before. But also it wouldn't be Meet The Richardsons if we didn't have Bernie Clifton, or Emma and Damion back. Mark Williams, the snooker player, tweeted that he enjoyed the series so I'm lobbying for a world snooker championship storyline for the next series.

David and Georgina Tennant getting an ice-cream with the Richardsons

How does your daughter Elsie feel about it?

Lucy: She's been born into it; it's normal for her. She's really proud and a bit cocky about it. It's normal for us to go for a walk and someone stops Jon, and me a bit more now, for a picture. She just loves it when we're filming. It ’s why we could go on and on because the crew have become such good friends.

• Meet The Richardsons returns to Dave at 10pm on Thursday March 3

Published: 24 Feb 2022

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