Comedian and general tall-man Greg Davies has gone from The Inbetweeners‘ notoriously harsh Sixth Form teacher Mr Gilbert to starring as a hapless and indulging teacher in his own sitcom, Man Down.
Written by and starring the man himself, Davies’ plays Dan, a well-meaning but generally moronic teacher who spends the first couple of episodes trying to win back his exasperated girlfriend. He is dumped by Naomi after she gets fed up of his lack of trousers, still living with parents, refusing to buy new light bulb ways. Relying on his two best friends, the ditzy but delightful Jo and straight man moustached Brian, Dan must learn to navigate his way around a fed up ex-girlfriend, a strict and forever watchful headteacher, and his overly affectionate parents, one of whom enjoys attacking him to show his fatherly affection and leading to one of the first real laugh-out-loud lines of the show: ‘Take me fishing! Don’t attack me as a bear!,’ an experience that apparently was drawn straight from Greg’s experience with his own father.
‘That is word for word my dad’, said Greg, when asked about the father character. ‘The lengths he would go to wind his son up…’
The show certainly does venture into the ridiculous on a regular basis, to great effect, using Dan’s failings as a teacher and general human being as catalysts for things to go spectacularly wrong, including a cringe-making salsa dance session at a hospital, an incident involving pulling on the wrong underwear in a tailor shop, and having your classroom charges pretend to fire lasers up your nose to save you from an alien when your headteacher walks in. This is the crazy and hilarious world Greg Davies has created, and with the intention of creating the absurd.
‘We wanted to be as ludicrous as we could in the first episode and still tell everybody everything they needed to know’ said Greg. ‘It was always our intention for it to be fast paced and the arc of ludicrousness to be extreme.’
The show is well placed to be a hit, which strong gags and a genuinely funny cast, and has even already filmed its Christmas Special, a sure sign of the shows predicted success, something that was picked up by Greg himself.
‘We were chuffed’ said Greg when asked about the Christmas Special. ‘The only downside to that was the blistering heat of the summer and we were wearing Christmas jumpers.’
The show also stars ROISIN CONATY (Impractical Jokers), RIK MAYALL (The Young Ones), DEIRDRE MULLINS (Whitechapel), MIKE WOZNIAK (Live At The Electric), GWYNETH POWELL (Grange Hill) and JEANY SPARK (Wallander) and premieres on Channel 4 this Autumn.