"We wanted to make it as funny as we could because he was so funny."
On Monday, This Country, the BAFTA award-winning mockumentary which explores modern life in a Cotswold village returns for its third and sadly final series. Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper return as Kerry and Kurtan Mucklowe whilst Paul Chahidi returns to play the local vicar, Reverend Seaton.
As the documentary crew return to the village, they discover some very sad news about a popular local resident.
On the 9th July 2019, Michael Sleggs who played Slugs sadly passed away at the age of 33 having been in and out of hospital, receiving palliative care for heart failure. Now creators, writers and stars of This Country, Charlie and Daisy May Cooper have revealed why they chose to mark his sad passing in the new series.
Much more than a co-star, Michael was a friend of writers Charlie Cooper and Daisy May Cooper who at the time of his passing jointly tweeted that they were "heartbroken" and described their friend as "kind, caring and loving" before signing off with "Michael you will be so so missed."
Speaking at a recent launch for the new series, Daisy revealed how paying tribute to Michael in the opening episode of the new series "was really difficult, because [he] was a close friend of ours and he was ill right up before we started filming. We thought he might get better - we thought he might get another wind - so it was really hard, because that (episode one) was written very last minute."
Before Daisy understandably broke down in tears, she talked about how "It was such a difficult episode to write because how Kerry and Kurtan feel about Sluggs is so different to how Daisy and Charlie feel about him. It was really tough, but we wanted to make it as funny as we could because he was so funny."
To which brother Charlie added "He always wanted to be included whether he was here or not. Michael being Michael had the best sense of humour so he wanted to be involved whatever really."
It was also revealed hat Michael had made some unusual requests before he passed, with Daisy commenting on how "...he had some death bed requests for the third series which were absolutely fucking mental. One of which was that he wanted his body in his coffin to be in the first episode."
Speaking about the decision to include Sleggs' passing in the new series, producer Simon Mayhew-Archer said "Crucially in a show like This Country where everything is rooted in truth and we've always tried to keep it as real as possible, it felt very wrong and false to say Sluggs has gone on holiday or Sluggs has moved away."
"It's one thing you learn in writing and making something - usually the thing that feels the hardest and is going to be the hardest work and the most difficult is usually the right thing to do. So you try and explore other ways and easier routes but eventually you come back to it and go no, you have to take the hard road. It's a testament to these guys' writing."
"We knew that had to be tackled. But you never dream in a million years that you get something as beautiful and yet funny and in keeping with the person that he was. It's perfect."
This Country returns Monday 17th February at 7pm on BBC Three and 10.35pm on BBC One