Interview: Mike Bubbins And Sian Gibson On New Time Travel Sitcom Mammoth

Interview: Mike Bubbins And Sian Gibson On New Time Travel Sitcom Mammoth

Hey there, it’s Tony Mammoth here; ice-man, legend and all around top bloke. I see you’re reading about my new series, so congratulations on having excellent taste!

There’s lots to keep you entertained in this series - like me in proper shorts, me in a nice leather jacket and me driving my Ford Capri. There’s also a pretty epic scene with a horse in it. A horse being expertly ridden. It’s been a challenge getting my old life back, but rising to challenges is what I've always done. I think you know what I mean.

Quite a bit seems to have changed in the last 45 years. And by quite a bit, I mean nearly everything. But I think as long as you smell great, drive a nice car and get your round in, everything will work out for the best. Some of the time. More or less. And yes, the world was my oyster, when I first came back. People were obsessed with me. But I am much happier now that I am out of the spotlight, and everyone has moved on. And anyone who says that I miss the attention and adulation is a liar. And anyone who says they heard me say words to that effect , especially after a few pints, are a tell-tale. And also a liar.

Anyway, it’s coming to BBC Two and something called BBC iPlayer on 17th April. I hope you enjoy it. Send me a letter if you do. If you'd like a reply, include a stamped addressed envelope. And a tenner to cover admin costs. If you don’t like it, well that's your problem. In fact, take 10p, and go and phone someone who cares.…

Tony Mammoth is presumed killed in an Alpine avalanche in 1979 but discovered and brought back to life in the present day. Comedy starring Mike Bubbins, Sian Gibson, Joseph Marcell and Joel Davison, created by Mike Bubbins and co-written with Paul Doolan and directed by Simon Hynd. From BBC Studios Comedy Productions, the Producer is Luke Mason and the Executive Producers are Josh Cole and Steven Canny.

Interview with Mike Bubbins

Mammoth (Mike Bubbins) looks to camera as he stands in the open doorway of a classic 1970s car.

Tony Mammoth seems like quite the character – tell us about him

He is a man’s man and a woman’s man, all rolled into one, or at least he thinks he is. He is a 45 year old man who never grew up, and a 90 year old man that never got old. He rarely thinks things through, he acts first. He has a wonderfully egalitarian approach to people; everyone, regardless of background or station, is either alright, or a dick. He loves his friends and family, almost as much as he loves Tony Mammoth. He is loving getting a second chance at life, even though he’s pretty sure he absolutely nailed it the first time around.

Where did the inspiration for your character come from? Did you know men like this growing up?

I grew up in the late 70s and 1980s. I knew quite a few people not troubled by self-doubt, very much including my dad. Also, TV seemed to be full of larger than life characters.

How long has this character been someone you’ve been working on?

I probably first had the idea of Mammoth around ten or twelve years ago, but I’ve always found the frozen in time thing fascinating.

What were you doing in 1979, the year Mammoth goes missing?

I was living with my mum, dad and sister in in Barry, attending Mr Moore’s primary school class. Mr Moore drove a convertible MG, had big sideburns, and coached the school football team. Very much a proto Mammoth.

Is it true you used to be a PE teacher yourself? Did you draw on any experiences there?

Yes, I taught PE for six years. I drew quite a bit in that experience. The school we filmed the Mammoth pilot in was the school I was teaching in before moving into comedy.

If you got frozen and had to wake up in a different time period when would you choose?

Ideally in about a day’s time, because I wouldn’t want to miss out on my kids growing up.

You seem to love the 70s! what’s your favourite thing about the era that you think should be brought back?

I’d bring back proper cars, that all look and sound different. I’d bring back analogue; landlines, vinyl, books, TV. And proper collars.

What are your favourite tv characters from the 70s?

I loved, and still love, Kojak, Starsky and Hutch, Columbo, The Professionals, Tom Baker’s Doctor, and Jim Rockford and Colonel Wilma Deering.

Tony Mammoth has a very distinctive 70s style…did you enjoy wearing his outfits? Has any of it seeped into your wardrobe?

Most of Mammoth’s wardrobe was from my wardrobe, and the stuff that wasn’t is now being ‘stored’ there. Mammoth also drives my car.

Did you have any casting in mind?

Everyone I wanted, I was lucky enough to get. The cast are all amazing.

What was it like working with the rest of the cast?

Genuinely the most fun I’ve ever had at work. Long days, and lots to get through, but it was a joy. Same with all of the crew.

What were the funniest moments on set?

Too many to list, but having a heart to heart with a horse took a lot of takes, and I will never forget a fluke rabbit related incident.

What is your favourite thing about filming in Wales?

The best thing was working with some very talented Welsh cast and crew. And sleeping in my own bed.

How did the theme tune for the series come around?

I interviewed the king of theme tunes, Mike Post, for a BBC Wales radio show I did, and we just hit it off. He told me to get in touch if the TV show I was writing (Mammoth) ever got commissioned. So I did, and now the Mammoth theme is the latest in a long list of Mike Post themes that includes; the A-Team, The Rockford Files, Quantum Leap, Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, LA Law, and Magnum PI.


Click here for an interview with Sian Gibson


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