The Job Lot returns to our screens this time on ITV2 and I caught up with Sarah Hadland, Laura Aikman & Angela Curran for a chat about the new series.
When The Job Lot landed on ITV last year it was clear that the series had great potential, and thankfully having now moved to a post-watershed slot on ITV2 it's full potential has been realised. I recently went along to a screening for the second series where we watched episodes one and three of the new series.
Right from the opening credits, through to the performances on screen and the way the show had been edited, it was clear the show was bigger and better than before! Although the elements were all there before; the setting of the job centre, the characters and the relationship between those characters.
But now that The Job Lot has moved from ITV it's much funnier and much better suited to an ITV2 audience.
After the screening I spoke to Sarah Hadland (Miranda) who plays the manager of Brownall Job Centre, Angela Curran (Jane Eyre) who plays security guard Janette and Laura Aikman (Lemon La Vida Loca) who joins the cast for series two playing deputy manager Natalie.
How has the series changed now that it's moved to ITV2?
Sarah: I think it's more raunchy, we're able to go a bit further. Because it was so popular with the young audience I think we can go further with the jokes and make it a bit ruder and that's quite nice, to have a bit more freedom.
It feels quite good because it's been a while since we filmed it so you forget but then you watch it and I love the intro music, it's all really punchy. It feels like there are a lot more jokes in it.
Do you think it's fair to say that this series is more about the characters than the job centre itself?
Sarah: Yeah. I think the writers are brilliant, it's such a great ensemble cast and I think that's their real strength in writing - that they write for the characters. I think it helps that they're writing for us now which is great and I think that's part of the reason why, from the feedback we get from people, why they like it so much. Everyone goes - "Oh I know that character." You're absolutely right it has become more character based.
How does it feel for you Laura, being the new girl on set?
Laura: Everyone was very nice. Sophie McShera bullied me religiously, but everyone else was lovely! (Laughs).
I was really nervous because I watched the first series and I was fan of the first series so hopefully people won't be like - "Oh it's rubbish now. What's the difference? Oh she's in it!" (Laughs)
What's it like working with Russell Tovey?
Sarah: I don't know where to start... we haven't got long enough! The great thing about Russell is that he's like, no he is a big kid. I can boss him about which is brilliant, but he's also really good fun.
Angela: You're a bit of a double act you two...
Laura: Yeah, you are. They're very entertaining. They have a lot of great energy between the two of them.
Angela: They keep us all going...
Sarah: She said, slightly weary! (Laughs) 6:30pm when we're all very tired in Bethnal Green... LA: One day Russell was supposed to be drawing a banana on the whiteboard but it obviously look a lot like a penis and we just couldn't get anything done for like half an hour.
They were shooting from behind all of us watching the board and everyone's shoulders were shaking and Russell was trying to hold it together! It was very funny.
Speaking about laughing on set, is it very difficult not to laugh during filming?
Angela: (Looking at Laura) You're a bit of a giggler!
Laura: (Laughs) I'm the least professional.
Sarah: But it's nice though. I think when you're filming a comedy it's nice when people find things funny. It's good and it's encouraging because you kind of think if one person finds it funny...
Laura: It doesn't put her off. She's like - "Yes! I feel better about it."
Having watched the first series go out and receive such a positive reaction, did you come back with more confidence this time around?
Sarah: Yeah, definitely. I think the writing is so good, and it's a two-way street. Obviously they're such brilliant writers anyway, but I think when they're writing now because they kind of know how we're going to play it, it really helps. When you read the scripts it's like - "Oh great. They know how I'm going to say this, and they've written it for me."
Knowing the series was going to go a bit bigger I had to make sure it was still believable. I'd still have to make it truthful. So that's the thing that worried me the most doing this series... I still wanted to keep it believable what she was doing.
Things like the smoking behind the bins was very real because I don't smoke so I genuinely can't smoke. No rehearsal required! (Laughs)
Angela: It's been even better this time because we all know each other so much better. You feel totally relaxed with these actors. We know how we all tick. It's such an enjoyable job. I particularly enjoyed getting back into my costume. I feel very comfortable in Janette's uniform, especially that gillet! It's lovely and cosy.
Sarah, did you base your performance of Trish on anyone?
Sarah: It's a combination of people. probably one of my primary school teachers - I won't name her - she was an amazing teacher, but she was a bit like Trish. It's a combination of women... the women who work in Marks & Spencer's who are so precise, there was an air hostess on a flight that I went to that was Trish.
She was having a nervous breakdown on the flight! She was sort of like - "We haven't got any ready salted. Can I get you sour cream?" and at one point she came charging down the isle and went - "I've only got four heated baguettes left!" - and I was thinking, we're not in a war zone! It's a heated cheese and ham baguette, it's a two and a half hour flight.
Then at the end she went - "Bye. It's been an absolute nightmare!" - and I thought God, I don't want you there when we're crashing.
What else can we expect from the new series?
Laura: We go to great lengths to get Sophie's character (Bryony) a job. She comes in and I think I'm in a competition with Angela to get more people in jobs than she can get off benefits. So Bryony comes in and says she really wants to get a job in a Strip Club as a dancer. I just really need to get someone a job at this point so I try to help her practice for her audition and Trish takes over...
Sarah: Yes, she takes over which is a bit ugly as you can imagine. obviously Trish sees Natalie as her protégé and is really excited when Natalie comes in because it's like she's got this fabulous Deputy Manager. Trish genuinely thinks - "Oh we can be best friends!" - two young girls on the work scene so she sees it all like that.
Laura: So the Liberty X comes on...
Sarah: And Trish busts out the moves... HOT. Smoking!
Laura: It's more like modern dance!
Finally, what's the worst job each of you have had?
Angela: So many! Washing up in a cafe. I've done bad waitressing jobs and I wasn't able to reach the optics. SH: Oh I've had that! I used to have to stand on a crate, which I still do in filming now.
Laura: I did a promo job once where I was giving out like chocolate cookies or coins for Capital Radio, and I'd been on a kids TV series before that and kids were like - "You used to be on telly! What you doing handing out shit in the street for?" - and then they chased me! So I ran and hid. (Laughs)
Sarah: I can top that. I was dressed as a hen and the girl who'd done it before was much bigger and I was standing in for her so I couldn't see through the eyehole, and tell stories in Hammersmith shopping centre. It was like torture! It was all horrendous.