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Robert Webb…

Robert Webb comes clean on the long awaited new season of Peep Show. It’s nearly two years since the last series and you’d be quite forgiven for thinking Peep Show had long got the chop. Fortunately, a new season is only weeks away with a ninth already commissioned for next year, so fans can breathe easy. But the question is – why have we had to wait for so long?

“That’s the thing,” explains Robert Webb, famous as his PS slacker alter ego, Jeremy, “we’ve all been working on additional projects for the past few years, so it makes it much more difficult to come together to make the show”.
“And you wouldn’t think it, but it’s seriously time consuming. The writers Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain – it takes them something like nine months of the year, so it eats up so much of their time. I’m not surprised they want to take a break!”

With the cast and crew reassembling for a new series, what can we expect from our lovable twosome? “We’re not going to find them winning the lottery or finding inner fulfilment,” he laughs. “Jeremy intends on being a life coach with predictably dreadful results while Mark gets a job for a bathroom company and becomes a travelling salesman. Although seeing as he doesn’t drive and doesn’t have a car, has to rely on public transport and instructions from his TomTom”.

“And the whole Mark and Dobby relationship is causing friction. At the end of the last series Jeremy had vowed to move out, and expectedly, he’s now not in too much of a rush to do so. And I don’t really think I’m spoiling anything by saying that he doesn’t move out because, if he did, it would really be Peep Show then, would it?” Partner in comedy David Mitchell recently claimed the ridiculously successful Channel 4 show could theoretically go on forever, claiming there’s a lifetime of scrapes Mark and Jez can find themselves in, offering a never-ending wealth of material.

“We’ve always said we’ll stay around for as long as people want us. And right now, that doesn’t seem to be changing so we’ll just carry on.”

After the mediocre success of stand-up series The Mitchell and Webb Show, the pair are trying another venture away from Peep Show – this time, an attempt to prove their straight drama credentials in Our Men, a new BBC Two political satire. In the same vein as Yes, Prime Minister, they’ll portray British government attachés for the fictional country of Kazbeckiztan. It’s the first time the duo won’t solely be looking for laughs.

“Well it’s not like a serious, serious drama,” Webb says. “It’s like a drama with a dollop of comedy. There’s plenty of room for laughter but it’s not the priority of this series; we’re leaning heavier on the drama”. “David plays the new British ambassador to this country, while I’m the established deputy ambassador who’s been there a while. Stories revolve around us promoting trade and negotiating deals, while meandering around human rights issues. It’s not a ‘drama’ drama, it’s a drama that’s allowed to be funny. It’s not laugh out loud”.

“I’m already pre- empting those who’ll say it’s not as funny asPeepShow–Ican feel the frustration already! But it’s not meant to be.”

Meanwhile, Webb, a father of two, has been working on a slew of solo projects including Brit romcom The Wedding Video and an upcoming guest appearance on the new series of Dr Who. But he’s most proud of lending his tones to the characters of Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the new animated series, Tales of Friendship with Winnie the Pooh.

“I grew up enjoying Winnie the Pooh books and TV shows, and always had a soft spot for Eeyore. Now my children absolutely love them, so I’m thrilled to be part of this show. What’s great about this unique programme is that it offers kids today the chance to discover Winnie the Pooh and his friends through an engaging array of pictures and words that make storytelling both enjoyable and memorable”.

“And it’s kind of handy now to be able to read my kids a story for bedtime and not actually be in the room. Not that I don’t enjoy being in the room… It’s fun to do all the different characters, I loved it.”