I recently caught up with Laura Aikman to find out what's in store for Natalie in the third series of The Job Lot.
When The Job Lot moved from ITV to ITV2 last year, it could have gone one of two ways. Luckily it went the right way!
The comedy, set in a Job Centre, did very well on ITV2 and in my opinion was much better suited to ITV2, as it allowed the series to be a lot bolder and a bit ruder.
Last year, I remember speaking to Laura Aikman just before she was about to make her debut in the series as Natalie, and it's fair to say that she, and the rest of the cast, were all nervous as to how the second series would be received.
You're back for another series, were you pleased with the reaction you got?
Yeah, I was really pleased. The show was quite different as well from the first series, and I'd been a real fan of the first series, so I think everyone was a little bit nervous, wondering how it was going to be received. And also I didn't know if people were going to like my character, or go - "Who the hell is this new girl? Get rid of her!"
But it seemed that people were fine with it. We got a really good response.
Absolutely, I said it last year, but the show really lends itself to ITV2...
Yes absolutely, and this series is really packed full of gags, and I mean that in a good way. Being on ITV2 allows it to be a little bit broader, it's a bit sexier and ruder and all those kind of things. Which suits the cast very well because everyone's filthy!
It's not so much about the Job Centre itself anymore is it?
Yeah I felt that, especially this series. There's a lot less pinned on anyone finding a job, and more about the people who work in the Job Centre.
And we lost Tony Maudsley this series as well, because he had a clash with Benidorm, so one of our main jobseekers is then kind of out of it, and his character represented that a lot I think.
Having already had one series under your belt, did you feel more confident this time around?
I think so. It's always easier to turn up when you know more people, and we had a lot of the same crew. But I mean I'm always nervous! (Laughs)
I'm always nervous on set and think I'm going to get fired any minute! (Laughs)
At the end of the last series we saw Natalie and Karl finally get together. Does that continue this series?
Yes very much! We do read-through's with the writers before we start filming, to tweak the scripts and change things, and there was A LOT of sex! (Laughs)
Everyone was like... "Really?!" and the writer themselves admitted that they didn't know how much they had put in! So that's now been toned down, but they're very much in a relationship
What sort of couple are they at work? Is there a lot of PDA?
Not very, they're still sort of figuring things out. There's not a lot of nice nice lovey dove stuff, there's more problems. Comic problems, that they come across.
Natalie is Karl's boss, because she is the Deputy Manager of the Job Centre, so that's awkward. Karl's never tried very hard at work, I think it's fair to say, so she has to give him a staff appraisal at one point, which doesn't go very well.
He takes everything the wrong way, as Karl would, and in that episode in particular, it doesn't end well for them.
Are you enjoying working with Russell Tovey? I'd always imagine him to be a bit cheeky on set...
He's INCREDIBLY cheeky, and that's a very nice way of saying it! (Laughs) He's hilarious, he's a really good mate now as well, he's just so funny, he's FILTHY, he's absolute filth.
And him and Sarah (Hadland) are a really funny double act as well, they're good friends in real life, they have a sort of love/hate relationship at work. They're horrible to each other but they both find it hysterical, which is very nice to be around! (Laughs)
How's Natalie getting on with Trish this series?
Trish has definitely warmed to her. There's a bit of a crush going on I think, where Trish feels like Natalie and her are the same, and they're sort of best friends now.
But Natalie wants to keep the relationship professional... I think that's fair to say! (Laughs)
Did you get a chance to work with any of the cameos this series? Maureen Lipman, John Thomson and Will Mellor...
Yep, all of them actually. They were all brilliant. I only had a tiny bit to do with Will, but Sarah and I had done a pilot with John Thomson earlier in the year, so that was really nice to all get back together.
He is incredibly funny, he talks constantly and he's really fun to be around so it was nice to have him on board. His episode is high-action, which is weird for The Job Lot, but yeah, there's a SWAT team involved, and it's all very exciting!
I just stand in the car park throughout! (Laughs) I'm not involved. But there is quite a lot of action involved in that episode and Karl gets involved which is very funny, because he's not very brave.
What else is in store for Natalie this series?
I'm not sure what I'm allowed to say... But there are a lot of mix-ups, and there's an unfortunate situation that happens in one episode which ends up in me and Sophie McShera, who plays Bryony, kissing. Last year she gave me a lap dance, this year she's giving me a snog... In a completely non-sexual way and it's horrific to watch.
Do you find it difficult not to laugh on set?
I do! I just laugh all the time and get told off constantly. I'm dreadful, I can't stop myself and once I get the giggles I'm awful.
Nick Mohammed is awful as well who joined us this series, and he's so funny and such a brilliant actor, but he's like me, once he gets the giggles he can't stop himself.
So the two of us were a nightmare for everyone! (Laughs)
Do you enjoy playing Natalie?
Yeah, I have a lot of fun playing her. She's very confident and she's funny as well, which a lot of the time when you're in a comedy, your character is not necessarily witty, maybe they'll be stupid, so they don't understand the jokes they're making.
But Natalie understands the jokes that she's making, which is quite nice to be able to play.
Are you hopeful for another series?
Oh I'm very hopeful for another series of The Job Lot! I'd go back in a heartbeat, and I think everyone who's in it really loves it, so hopefully we'd have a full turnout if it does go again, so we'll see!