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PREVIEW: The Ranganation, BBC Two

Romesh Ranganathan’s Bafta-nominated topical comedy show returns to BBC Two and BBC iPlayer to bring a dose of optimistic entertainment to the nation.

Romesh has traded his garage in for a studio but will once again be joined virtually by his focus group, the Ranganation - 20 loveable, outspoken characters who represent a cross section of modern Britain. Two celebrity guests will also be beamed into the studio to chew over the lighter end of the news spectrum alongside Romesh and the Ranganation.

Past discussions with members of the Ranganation such as Technophobe, Gen Z, Never Voted, Lord Dave and Romesh’s Mum, have covered such disparate areas as paranormal activity, homeschooling during lockdown, dating apps, whether or not you should wash your legs in the shower, and of course Trousers or No Trousers?

BBC interview with Romesh:

What set up can we expect for the show’s third series?

Well the truth is, series two went down so well, and at that time we didn't expect the situation we're in now with regards to still being in lockdown. So regardless of the pandemic we were talking about keeping elements of that second series going forward.

The nature of being a bit more intimate changed the dynamic in the show, and I think that people liked that. Essentially, it's going to be very much like series two, except for that we're not relying on my internet for the show to work! It’s going to be me in a studio, the Ranganation and the guests will be at home so it's the same as in my garage, except without the pressure of everything coming from my home. A BBC show relying only on my internet connection - it was so mad!

Is there anything you’ll miss about filming from the garage?

Obviously the commute was amazing! During the first series I was in studio all day and very much in work mode the whole time I was doing the record. Whereas when I was doing the show at home, we would do rehearsal on the day and then I could walk inside and have a sandwich with the kids. It was such a surreal thing to take a break from work and be straight into my home setting immediately. So I will miss that a bit I think. You can't get too nervous about the record when your family are just next door! But at the same time it’s difficult to get into the work zone. The kids are so noisy and I found it so embarrassing. The crew would be outside and then they would see my kids sort of going crazy in the house and I thought they were definitely judging my parenting!

Series two seemed to bring audiences a lot of comfort during that first lockdown last year. Are you hoping to recreate that this time around?

To be honest we are kind of led by what public feeling, is which is the advantage of doing it week by week. When we did the last series, obviously people were very much adjusting to what the hell this all meant.

That’s how I felt, how the Ranganation felt and how production felt, so you sort of end up reacting to that and talking about what it's like to be doing shopping, homeschooling and all of that kind of stuff. But then equally when big news stuff happened we spoke about that, for example with Dominic Cummings and the Barnard Castle incident. So I think it'll be very similar in series three, and we will be very reactive.

The Ranganation returns Sunday 7th February at 9pm on BBC Two.

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