Last week I was lucky enough to attend a special BAFTA screening of the final ever series of Channel 4 comedy Peep Show and was treated to the first two episodes.
Back in 2003, Peep Show, a sitcom told from the point of view of two flatmates living together in Croydon first burst onto our screens, and made household names of little-known comedy duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb.
In twelve years the series has gone on to become Channel 4’s longest running sitcom, and after 54 episodes this ninth series, three years on from the last, marks the end of an era.
After the screening, BAFTA held a Q&A with David Mitchell, Robert Webb and writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, in which they refused to rule out the possibility of the series returning, with Jesse saying: “I don’t think we’d do it any time soon, but I think we’ve all said that we love working together, and we love writing the jokes, so now feels like the time to stop it. But I would like to find out what they do later in their lives."
To which Robert Webb added: “For Peep Show as we know it, it’s good that it’s stopping now, because it was a show about two youngish men sharing a flat. But now that we’re in our forties I think it just becomes a different show. A slightly sadder show! I’m relieved that it’s acknowledged that we’re older."
Hinting at what they could do next, Robert revealed that he's “Holding out for a Comic Relief special where we spend ten minutes playing each other’s parts. That would be great. I would love to play Mark Corrigan."
There aren’t any current plans for that Comic Relief special, but there is a script for Series 10. When I say script, Sam revealed it has one line on it at the moment, and that's about a lawnmower. So if there is a tenth series, which I doubt anytime soon, them remember where you heard about the lawnmower scene first!
So what's the new series like then? Well in a word, it's excellent. It's a real treat for the fans and doesn't forget where it began all those years ago.
The series kicks off 6 months after the end of the last series, and marks the first time that Mark and Jeremy have spoken to each other since that picnic at the end of series 8.
Whilst Mark was all set to propose to Dobby, Jeremy thought it would be the perfect opportunity to declare his undying love for Dobby, and without so much as an apology, Mark has found it in incredibly difficult to forgive Jeremy.
Jeremy is now living with Super Hans in his bedroom/bathroom/kitchen, basically the bathroom with a sleeping bag in the bath for a bed.
Super Hans is a completely changed man at the start of the new series. He’s about to get married to Molly and we first meet him in this series on his stag do. But it's not what you expect!
The stag do takes place in a juice bar of all places, with no drugs or alcohol allowed, just antioxidants. Whether that lasts all night or not is another question, and I of course wouldn't want to spoil it for you.
What I will tell you though is that in episode two, when Hans gets married (Or does he?) (He does), we get to find out his real name. That said, speaking at the Q&A writer Jesse Armstrong admitted that “there are still doubt in our minds as to what should be on his Wikipedia page”.
And Sam Bain added, "We always knew that he’d made up his own nickname, but what his real name is, I don’t think we’re ready to commit to."
As for Mark, he's still living in the flat, but he has a new flatmate Jerry, played brilliantly by Tim Key. The two of them met at the bank, where they both work under the ever watchful eye of Alan Johnson (Paterson Joseph).
Initially the two of them bond over their love for William Morris documentaries, but when Jeremy starts sniffing around again has Mark had enough of Jerry and his William Morris loving ways?
Although she wasn’t in series eight, or indeed in the first two episodes I’ve seen of series nine, I’m told that the wonderful Olivia Colman will indeed be back playing Sophie Chapman for the final series and Isy Suttie returns to play Dobby, who is now living in New York.
Despite running for nine series, Peep Show has never (in my opinion) outstayed its welcome, and whilst Robert Webb thinks they’re too old to continue playing Mark and Jeremy, I disagree. The latest series is just as strong, if not stronger than those that have come before and with such a loyal fanbase and tremendous on and off-screen talent, I can’t ever picture a bad series, or indeed episode, of Peep Show.
If this indeed is the last we’ve seen of Peep Show, it won’t be the last we’ve seen of Mitchell and Webb who are currently working together on a sitcom for Channel 4. But don’t expect to see it anytime soon as Robert Webb assures us it’s still “very early days” and “very very secret”.
The final series of Peep Show really is the cherry on the top for Channel 4 in a year that has seen the broadcaster shine when it comes to comedy.