Grandma's House 'won't return'

Says Simon Amstell's co-writer

Simon Amstell’s sitcom Grandma’s House is unlikely to return for a third series, his co-writer has said.

The second series started on BBC Two last night but Dan Swimer claims Amstell would not want to return to it.

“It’s one for Simon but I suspect right now, he’d give it a firm “no”’,’ he said.

‘The first time, we threw loads into it and we thought that was it, that was the story we wanted to tell. But we got very lucky and were asked to do another [series].

‘This time we didn’t hold anything back, we threw it all in and managed to carve ourselves out a different scenario. Everything’s in there and it’s highly unlikely we could do any more.’

The current series of the show, in which Amstell plays a version of himself, includes a storyline about the tabloid storm that followed the comic’s flippant remark about singer Russell Watson’s diagnosis with cancer on BBC Breakfast. There’s also an allusion to his spoof ‘psychiatric’ interview with The Kooks’ Luke Pritchard - the musician was subsequently diagnosed with mental health problems and claimed he thought Amstell was a real doctor.

In a further postmodern twist, the show references a sitcom Amstell is writing about his family and repeatedly highlights his shortcomings as an actor.

Ratings for Grandma’s House’s first series slid from 1.8million to 770,000 by the end of its run. It returned last night with 980,000

Critics also warmed to it after an initially frosty reception. Swimer attributes this – and the show’s greater risk-taking – to them developing a better understanding of the characters.

‘The first episode was a pilot script, the weakest last time and that was a big mistake. Not that we had any choice. But we confused a lot of people because I think they were expecting Simon to be Simon from Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

‘Simon is almost the antithesis of Simon off the Buzzcocks and we based the character on actual Simon. The series seemed to pick up interest as it went along. Probably not the ideal way to do it.

‘The first series feels like a prequel now and we had a long conversation about what we thought the character of Simon would naturally go on to do. I guess the nature of our writing, we veer towards the mischievous and I thought we’d enjoy it much more if it got worse.

‘When Simon and I work together, he’d like to think everything works out nicely for his character and he becomes a talented writer-actor, critically acclaimed. Because that’s what he wants to happen in real life. It’s up to me to tell him to enjoy the fact that it gets much worse.

Amstell is currently performing his stand-up show Numb in Australia, and starts the UK leg of his tour next month.

-by Jay Richardson

Published: 20 Apr 2012

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