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I TALK Man Down

Greg Davies, best known for playing Head-teacher Mr Gilbert in The Inbetweeners, has written his very own Channel 4 sitcom called Man Down in which he plays Dan, a childish idiot trapped in an adult's life.

Channel 4 must be confident in the series as even before it airs, Man Down has been handed a Christmas Special. At a recent launch for the series, Phil Clarke who's the new Head of Comedy at Channel 4, introduced Man Down as a "Big mad comedy" and having now seen the first two episodes in the series I'd have to agree. It's big (and I'm not just talking about Greg's height), it's mad (I'll be very surprised if any of your friends and family are remotely similar to the characters we see) and it provides the laughs which in turn makes it a comedy.

The series doesn't start well for Dan. His wife has more or less given up on on him after he proves unable to complete the simplest of life's tasks such as wearing trousers - and ends up having to go to school (where he works) in jogging bottoms!To be fair, I don't blame her! And this is something that Greg himself agrees with, speaking at the launch, Greg said "With a lot of sitcoms you feel sorry for the character because they're victims of fortune, and fate - and other things influencing their demise. But I always wanted it to be his fault. Because I look back at the time when I was a teacher and everything was my fault. Everything that went wrong."

Perhaps an even bigger character than Dan (in personality, not height) is Jo, one of Dan's best friends, played by Roisin Conaty, who for me was one of the reasons Impractical Jokers on BBC Three was so good.

Let's see, how would you best describe Jo? She's loud, brash, and basically, doesn't give a shit. Oh and when it comes to being in the real world, she basically isn't. Some would say she's just the friend someone who can't even find a pair of clean trousers to put on in the morning, needs.

Another one of Dan's closest friends is Brian, played by Mike Wozniak, a straight-laced financial adviser who is regularly dumbfounded by the complete idiocy of Dan and Jo.

I was/still am a massive fan of Bottom and although he doesn't appear very often, it's great to see Rik Mayall in Man Down. To be honest, the only actor who could play Greg's dad in a sitcom is Rik Mayall and in Man Down, he does! For years, many people have referred to Greg Davies as 'a fat Rik Mayall', but Greg has had the last laugh now when Rik actually agreed to play his father on screen.

When asked at the launch how the casting came about, Greg said, "It was the dream casting really, because for my whole career people have said I look like a fat, tall, whatever, Rik Mayall. I just thought it was the obvious thing to do really.

It was a fantasy that Rik would play him. It was only a joke - "Obviously we'll get Rik Mayall to play him. And then when we rang him up on a whim and he said yes, it was unbelievable really! It's no coincidence that he's one of my comedy heroes. To have him play my dad, as the person who's made me laugh the most in my life is a dream."

Could this be the big comedy to step in the shoes of The IT Crowd, Peep Show, and The Inbetweeners. Not quite. It's got great potential, but it didn't make me laugh out loud (lol to some people) as much as London Irish did, which I can see running and running. However with Drifters (the female Inbetweeners) yet to air, Channel 4 comedy is looking strong at the moment.

Man Down airs Fridays at 9pm on Channel 4


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