Michael Sheen and David Tennant, or should that be David Tennant and Michael Sheen are back.
The new series sees the pair attempt to navigate their ‘new normal’ at home with their increasingly exasperated families whilst simultaneously trying to tackle the world of ‘virtual Hollywood’ and their ever more fragile egos.
In episode one, David’s plans to go to work and Michael’s plans to visit a friend abroad are both scuppered by last minute travel rule changes, and some news regarding a work opportunity for the pair turns sour.
Alongside Michael and David also returning for the new series are Simon Evans, Georgia Tennant, Anna Lundberg, Lucy Eaton and Nina Sosanya. The new series will also see Primetime Emmy winner Ben Schwartz join the cast, playing the assistant to Michael and David’s American agent.
What can you tell us about the new series of Staged?
Michael: David and I are still being ridiculous with and about each other - that’s still very much the tone of it. We have a lot of amazing surprise appearances which I hope people will enjoy as much as David and I enjoyed doing the scenes with them.
David: It’s the same set up as before. Michael Sheen and I talking rubbish to each other over the internet from our respective homes, with Georgia and Anna, our other halves, keeping us from becoming too self-indulgent, not always successfully. But there is a bit of a twist to it all, which I’m not going to reveal here...
In the show you play exaggerated versions of yourselves, are you anything like these characters in real life?
David: I imagine not at all, but probably... quite a lot.
Michael: I think David would say that he's not at all like his character in the first series. Whereas I would say, I probably am quite like that. But I think between the two series, there's a slightly more representative version of ourselves emerging, or at least that's what I would say anyway.
Why do you think the first series was so popular?
Michael: We didn't take ourselves too seriously and made fun of ourselves - I think people enjoyed that. I'm using the sort of format and medium that everyone is using. Having to do calls on Zoom and all that kind of stuff - so we've been able to tap into what's funny and absurd about that as well. Also, having lovely surprises like Judi Dench and Samuel L. Jackson, we have lots more of those surprises in this new series.
David: People seemed to recognise what the characters were going through. Not the specifics of being an actor in lockdown as such, but the sense of helplessness, the frustrations and occasional joys of being stuck at home while the world trundled on. That and the fact that Simon wrote a really funny script - I mean without that we’d have been stuffed.
Did you think you’d be back for another series?
David: If you had told me a year ago that I’d end up making a series for BBC One from inside our house, without a crew, wearing my own clothes and being entirely responsible for turning the camera on and off I would have found it wholly implausible, so the idea that we would do it twice is just one of the many unpredictable eventualities that this weird, weird year has presented.
Michael: I certainly thought that if it went down quite well then there was no reason why we couldn't do more, because it was such an innovative way to make a series - filming in my kitchen with just the laptop and a smartphone. It was very nice to come back and do more of it.
Staged airs every Monday and Tuesday on BBC One from Monday 4th January 2021.