Interview with Joe Thomas of Fresh Meat
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Joe Thomas got to enact a childhood dream while filming the second series of Fresh Meat.
"I couldn't quite believe it but basically I got to be filmed busking in the style of Blur," says Joe. "It was like being able to vent my childhood dream of being in a band when my favourite band was Blur."
Returning to university for the second term, Joe's character Kingsley has a new look...
"In the last series Kingsley was relatively innocent but this term he is trying to contrive an image for himself - he has become quite pretentious, probably because he was quite badly hurt in the first term. This includes growing a little beard called a soul patch, which doesn't really suit him, and developing an interest in music.
"On the downside I have to sing but on the upside it is a song written by Graham Coxon from Blur who are pretty much my favourite band of all time. I got to meet him and it was really nice to meet someone so famous who has done an awful lot with their life yet seemed very much a normal bloke. He is a fan of Fresh Meat which is why he wanted to be involved.
"It is interesting because the song isn't supposed to be very good so Graham must have had to pull against all his natural instincts to write this tortuous and pretentious thing. The lyrics are very funny and it felt like we really got what we wanted from it; an adolescent, overly complicated epic.
"I do play guitar but only to a level many people can, which is a few chords to a few Blur songs. The only other person in the cast who sings in the series is Charlotte Ritchie, who is actually a professional singer, so it is an unfortunate point of comparison for me."
The other major change in Kingsley's life is the arrival of Heather...
"Kingsley has a new girlfriend, Heather, who is slightly cooler than Josie and maybe, in the long run, not as well-suited. However in the short term she is definitely more together and more able to organise a relationship and as Kingsley needs to be told what to do they fall into one. And immediately he is in way over his head.
"This series Kinglsey is getting on with the outward appearance of being grown up but fundamentally he is still sorting himself out. He doesn't resolve any of his issues.
"Take the soul patch; it tends to be the first bit of hair that grows so it is a bit like a boy pretending to be a man. Also in Kingsley's case trying to look a bit tougher.
On a personal note it wasn't great for me to have to go round in my normal life with a soul patch either - it is not something I'd have chosen.
"It was an interesting experiment and I suppose made me appreciate not having it after I shaved it off. I might grow a full rugged beard one day; I can understand that back to nature, wild look but the soul patch isn't really in the same category..."
So how does Kingsley feel about Josie this term?
"Kingsley is increasingly worried about Josie and he is really good to her as is not unaware that she is having a bad time. But when somebody is your friend but you do still really like each other it confuses things. So he has this mix of sympathy and desire which is frankly a bit weird. They have this relationship that neither of them are in control of.
"They both behave like they don't care about each other, Kingsley is uber chilled and relaxed about her and Josie acts like she lives to party but neither of them mean that. They like stability and feeling at peace with the world but by carrying on as if they don't care and are just free spirits they are damaging each other in the process. And as a consequence they mess up the opportunity to be together."
So what were Joe's stand out moments of the series?
"I got to do some minor stunts when we filming in the Peak District and I do like a tussle. There aren't many times you get to wrestle in the great outdoors and let off a bit of steam; normally it is all about being very controlled. I didn't do anything particularly adventurous but I got to fight with Greg or even better with Howard who is definitely not a fighter and probably hadn't had any physical contact with a human for some time.
"And filming on location in the big country house was great - it was the only time it didn't rain, apart from when we were in the Peak District, and it was so nice to sit in a garden rather than a car park outside the studios. A change of environment can really change your frame of mind plus there is always a bit of fun when cast and crew are staying in the same place - it's a bit like a school trip!"
Joe is currently co-writing Chickens, a comedy series for Sky, with Simon Bird and Johnny Sweet in which they will also star.
Fresh Meat returns to Channel 4 on Tuesday 9th October at 10pm.
Don't forget to check out Fresh Meat House which will launch 9th October directly after transmission of the first episode on Channel 4. Go to www.channel4.com/freshmeathouse for a tour of the student digs and to watch exclusive content released at the end of each episode.
Fresh Meat House is a new commission from Channel 4's Education team who have a focus on life skills for young people