Interview with Lisa Clark, Producer of Tittybangbang, a seriously funny new comedy from BBC Three
The series is on BBC Three on Tuesdays at 9.30pm and you can watch episodes a week earlier online by going to www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree. Lisa Clark has worked on comedy gems such as Spaced, with Simon Pegg, and 'Shooting Stars' alongside Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves.We asked her a few questions about what it was like working on Tittybangbang, the female-flavoured new sketch show from BBC Three.How would you describe Tittybangbang?
It’s definitely more Viz than Marie-Claire!
We've created an outrageous collection of larger-than-life characters whose catchphrases stick long in the memory. Although it's a female-dominated cast, we didn't want to do something purely from a woman's perspective and deliberately tried to make the series appealing to both sexes – but not in an anti-male way. In fact, some of the funniest characters are blokes, well, women dressed up as blokes.Most of the characters are very in-your-face. Was there a conscious decision to go for the shock factor?
Some characters are more shocking than others, especially the pathologist (who takes a rather personal interest in her subjects!)
She is loosely based on a Helen Mirren's character in Prime Suspect, but with a much sillier side! Throughout the whole series we tried to take authority figures and subvert them - getting them to do something you just wouldn't expect.
At first glance, The Harrogate Ladies are a pretty conventional bunch who get together to do needlepointing while listening to The Carpenters. The fact they all do it naked from the waist down adds a different dimension!Where did the name 'Tittybangbang' come from?
Actually my business partner, Bob Mortimer, came up with it.
We wanted a really memorable title like 'Desperate Housewives' and this seemed to fit the bill. It's rude, but in a comedy way - quite cheeky.The show’s key characters are all female – why? And how did you go about assembling the cast?
We held open auditions for anyone and everyone. We contacted agents and friends and must have seen about 200 people in all. Lucy Montgomery, who plays the Italian Maid and many other characters, was actually the second person we saw. Debbie Chazen (Smoking Room) was the last person on the first day. Both actors are hugely versatile, convincingly playing anything from chav-like teenagers to 60 year old men!Were there any particular challenges working with an all-female cast?
Not really. We had a strong female crew too for the filming and everyone had great fun on set. Even the men working on the show learnt a lot about the female mind - if they found it funny then we knew we were appealing to both sexes. There was a strong sense of bonding behind the scenes because we also had a female Director, Angie De Chastelai Smith, who was fantastic.
Are any of the characters based on anyone in real life?
Elements of all the characters are based in reality. Jill (Parker), loosely based the darters on a distant member of her own family and I think that’s what makes them believable, although of course they are exaggerated to produce the laughs.
At the time of writing the series, Celebrity Big Brother was on and it got us thinking about people who overdo it with plastic surgery (have you seen Jackie Stallone lately!), which lead to Maxine Bendix (aka 'the plastic slapper'). She represents those people who take it a bit too far and are not bothered by the fact that it’s not good for them.
Which comedians do you like and find funny?
Reeves and Mortimer are among my favourites - and I’m not just saying that because I work with them! I also think that Eddie Izzard is very funny and really admire Julia Davis and Mark Wootton for their work in Nighty Night. Matt (Lucas) and David (Walliams) are of course both very funny and also Jessica Stevenson who did some great work with Spaced.
I'm working on some other shows for the BBC at the moment and, hopefully, if Tittybangbang continues to be so well-received then look out for some even more outrageous characters for the next series!
Tittybangbang is on at 930pm on Tuesdays on BBC Three