I TALK TO Anna Morris

"I was a bit worried in series one that everyone thought she was a bitch..."


Comedian Anna Morris isn't returning to Edinburgh this year, but she is giving last year's show Bombastic, one final outing at London's Soho Theatre. A show which when I spoke to Anna last year she described as "a mishmash of my favourite bits and favourite characters from all my previous shows."


Anna will be back on our screens from Thursday 11th April as Mrs Bryce-D'Souza in the second series of Channel 4's hit comedy Lee and Dean. Following the rather explosive stag and hen weekends at the end of series one, series two follows the boys, their friends and exes, as they try to re-build their lives.


Last time we spoke you were days away from heading to Edinburgh. How did it go?


All the shows went really well but it was just a struggle because I was really ill. I had a fluey thing in the middle of the bloody run! But I only had to cancel one which is better but I did about five shows feeling absolutely awful. I think adrenaline gets you through.


The audiences are always lovely and it was full every day so I had a blast. But it was exhausting, I'd do the show, get a taxi home which I don't normally do, and get straight into bed. So i'm having a year off this year because I feel like I need a break from it all.


You mentioned last year that this might be your final show. Are you thinking you might go back one year then?


I don't know. I expect I probably will because I do love it and I think I'll miss it this year. If I do go back, I think I'll do something a bit different. I've done all my multi-character shows and I've loved them, but it hasn't become as challenging anymore.


What might you do instead?


I'd love to do a theatre show, something more serious. Or be in a play. I might suddenly come up with a whole new show idea and do it. But at the moment I have no big ideas and I don't think it's good to go to Edinburgh when you don't have a full idea.


I'm thinking of having a break and coming back next year either on my own or as part of someone else's show.


Are you excited about performing Bombastic at the Soho Theatre?


I am! 7:30pm on a Thursday felt perfect. I knew Lee and Dean was coming out about that time and selling tickets isn't easy. My profile's not huge but it's almost sold out which is amazing. I think it might be the last time I perform this show. I haven't lined anything else up.


Do you think Lee and Dean has bought new people to your shows?


When it came out last year, I did some shows in Brighton and there were a couple of people in each show who had seen Lee and Dean but I thought there might be more. When I did Edinburgh, definitely. There were people coming out saying they really liked Lee and Dean which was lovely. I wouldn't say loads though.


A lot of people who came didn't know I was on TV. Quite a few people came up to me afterwards and a little bit patronisingly went "You really should try to be on TV one day..." - It was really sweet because some people just don't know because the two don't always link up.



Series 2 of Lee and Dean starts soon. What is it about?


It's about a group of builders who are led by Lee and Dean who are two mates from school and run a building firm called DeanLee Construction Services. The series is about them, their world and a lot of drama. It's a comedy drama really. It's quite dark and risqué in places.


There's a bit of a bromance there and it's really interesting because they're these alpha male builders with this really interesting subtext where one of them is kind of in love with the other one. But he doesn't know how to express it because he's in this world of banter and alpha males.


Where does your character fit in?


I'm not really part of their world, I'm their middle class client who is having a bit of a marriage shake-up and is in the process of separating. And in the first series she's having a fling with Lee and gets involved in their world and there's a bit of a tangled love story going on.


Remind us of how series one ended?


Well the end of the series was very dramatic, everyone fell out after the revelation that my character was pregnant and you're not quite clear who the father is. And it split up Lee and his fiancé.


Where is Mrs Bryce D'Souza at the start of this series?

We move forward a few months at the start of this series and my character's still pregnant, she's moved house and she's now working as a property developer. She's moved on really. Everyone's moved on and no one is really speaking that much.


But there are a lot of things that happen in the second series that bring them together. In the first episode there's a funeral which brings them all together. They can't avoid all seeing each other. As it progresses, unlikely friendships happen.


My character is quite on her own. She's not with her ex anymore, she doesn't want anything to do with Lee and actually starts being friends with Dean. It's a very unlikely friendship. They're from very different worlds which causes a lot of comedy.


Lee starts getting more involved with the pregnancy and I'd say that the second series is more dramatic than the first. At least for me it is. She's more miserable... if that's even possible.



Did you have much say in the direction your character took this series?


The series is mostly improvised but I left them ( Miles Chapman and Mark O'Sullivan) to write the story scripts and we didn't get the scripts until the day before we had the first rehearsal. We're allowed to suggest tweaks here and there or things that we don't think ring true to the character.


We adjust as we go along. Nothing major, but it's best to go with your gut or your instinct on what you think she will do. Sometimes you'll read a scene and notice things that will make her feel a bit cruel.


With my character, she likes to put on a front that she's fine and independent and doesn't need anyone, but actually underneath the surface she's actually really vulnerable. She does need people and she is really lonely. Trying to capture that is really hard because a lot of what she says isn't necessarily true.


Were you concerned with how she'd come across?


I was a bit worried in series one that everyone thought she was a bitch, which I think people did at first but as the series went through I think they realised she's not. What's really nice is that Miles and Mark really did take on board what me and Camille said after the pilot. We said "Just be careful as writers not to make the women too stereotypical and two-dimensional."