Interview: Diane Morgan Talks About New Series Of Mandy

TV Review: Mandy, BBC Two

You have again got some fabulous guest stars for the series, did you have these people in mind when writing the episodes? How was it working with this series guest stars?

I write the storyline first and then think of who would be the best people for the part.

We are on series 3 of Mandy now, what did you learn from series 1 and 2 that you brought into your writing for this new series?

I don’t know if I’ve learned anything!

Do you have a favourite episode from series 3, and why?

There’s three I like equally – the first episode “Destination: Dundee” is great because it feels quite filmic and it was lovely to work with Paul Ready from Motherland again, and he’s really great in it. Episode five “Nandy” because I liked playing Mandy’s nan, which was fun, and there’s some puppets in it, so that was a bit different. And the final episode because it’s got a lot of visual moments in it that I always enjoy. It’s very dramatic, and it’s got a musical finale, and who doesn’t like that. One of my favourite bits in it is where I have a party hat on – that’s probably my favourite bit of the whole series but it won’t be anyone else’s. 

Characters Mandy and Kenny dressed as air stewards. Mandy has a phone to her ear and Kenny is holding a magazine. they're on a plane

Mandy (Diane Morgan), Kenny (Nathan Foad) (Image: BBC/Richard Harrison)

Can you share any funny moments or anecdotes from your time filming with your guest stars this series that didn’t make the edit?

There was a lot of swearing, a tremendous amount. There was a lot of laughter about small, silly things but nothing major - everyone always thinks there’s going to a hilarious moment where someone brings an elephant in or something.

Were there any jobs from series 3 you think you’d be good at yourself?

Air stewardess, I wouldn’t be good at that, I’m just no good with people, I’ve got no social skills. A hitman I might be quite good at, especially because it’s sort of part-time, and cash-in-hand: getting money in a little brown envelope is always a thrill. I might like being a Steeplejack: I’m alright working on my own with no one breathing down my neck. You could just take some sandwiches to eat at the top. But I don’t think there’s any steeples now to jack. I couldn’t work in an abattoir because I’m vegetarian, and it’s awful.

Diane Morgan as character Mandy with blonde hair in a high bun looking to camera

Mandy (Diane Morgan) (Image: BBC Studios/Richard Harrison)

Where do the ideas for Mandy come from?

Sometimes it’s things you see or do. The other day I was in a woman’s changing room with my jeans round my ankles and I slightly lost my balance, and I thought – wouldn’t it be dreadful if I held on to the curtain and pulled it down and exposed myself to the shop. It’s sort of catastrophising. I saw that clip of the woman being pulled up by shop shutters and I was jealous because nothing will be as funny as that.

What is your favourite part of making Mandy?

I like the edit really. Because it’s like putting a puzzle together – you’ve got all the bits and you can tweak the comedy. And you get to do that sat down in a nice warm room while someone brings you coffees.

Another good part is I get to take Bobby (my poodle) to the filming. He’s a very calming influence on set, and he gets to know everyone and they miss him when it’s not there.

I like being the writer and star and director of Mandy because there’s no one else sticking their oar in, mucking it all up.

Mandy in a hospital gown laying on a bed looking up surprised

(Image: BBC/Richard Harrison)

Are you pleased with people’s reaction to Mandy?

Sometime people come up to be in the street to say hello and I think I can always guess what they like me from. If it’s a man in his 40s it’ll be Charlie Brooker stuff – Philomena Cunk. If it’s a woman with a pram it’ll be Motherland, and if it’s a gay man or a hen party from Manchester it’ll be Mandy.

Mandy seems to have the broadest appeal of all the shows I’ve done. Mums and daughters watch it together. Lots of people say it helps them get over a bad day by watching someone have an even worse one. There’s a sort of comedy that takes you out of yourself, like Laurel and Hardy, or The Young Ones; totally absurd comedy where anything could happen, and it’s not based in reality; it’s medication really. It’s an alternative universe. Motherland is maybe too close to home for some people.

People like Mandy because, no matter how bad things get Mandy doesn’t let things affect her, she doesn’t care what people think of her, she’s her own person.

Mandy will air on BBC Two, with two episodes a week from Wednesday 27 of March and will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

Picture: Mandy (Diane Morgan) (Image: BBC Studios/Richard Harrison)

Interview supplied by BBC



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