Q&As with the cast of PhoneShop


Martin Trenaman (Lance)

Do you have a lot to say in how your character develops?

We do. Phil is the writer of the show and he produces, writes and directs it. We trust him implicitly. We do have an input but, ultimately, it is his decision as to what happens with the characters and where it goes. He is very happy for us to improvise but overall he is the Governor… in a very nice way

Are you anything like your character?

Christ, I hope not! I don’t think my wife would be very happy with that. He is fairly under constructed; he is an idiot. Hopefully there are not many characteristics that we share apart from my voice and appearance. I’m hoping there’s nothing that connects me hugely to Lance.

Any hints as to what’s in store for your character this series?

There are elements of change; there is a slight hint about Lances’ sexual persuasions and a slight hint of what he might be doing outside the shop and away from Shelley. Shelley may have driven him to something let’s say…There is a little bit of confusion running round him on this series and it crops up that he may have delved into something else that you might not have imagined him to do.

Is it as much fun to film as it looks?

It’s more fun than it looks. It is a delight to work with these people. It sounds w***y but everyone is at the top of their game. When we do a bit of improvisation everyone knows what they are doing.

Who’s the worst for laughing on camera?

Javone. When I’m doing scenes with him, he is hilarious because you’ll be filming a scene and he will try and keep it together until the very end and will then piss himself laughing. His face will slowly crack in front of you and then he goes and then he is gone. He is the worst but hilariously so. He has a really funny laugh as well.

What kind of reaction do you get when you go in to a shop to upgrade your ‘phone?

I’ve gone into a shop and upgraded and they assume, hilariously, that you know everything about ‘phones. They sort of get all this stuff out and say yeah this has Bluetooth etc etc. and you have to stop them and say, “Woah, woah, what is happening? What does that mean?”. I’m sure the other boys and Emma get it as well. Suddenly you’ve got three people serving you instead of one. I’m still trying to work out Facetime on mine. I don’t know what’s going on.

Does your ‘phone form an integral part of your life?

Yeah, it does. I think because we are actors you need to have that contact, I don’t know what we did before mobile ‘phones. Imagine that, queuing up for a ‘phone box.

Have you ever had a job in sales? What would you be like as a salesman?

My first job was at the Ghost Train on Brighton Pier so I suppose for six years or so I was selling myself, but I have never really worked in a shop.

Who would make the best salesman in the cast?



Tom Bennett (Christopher)

Are you anything like your character?

In order to serve the comedy I have to let Christopher go wherever Phil puts him. I share DNA with him because Chris stemmed from an improv. So I’m somewhere in the middle - I am not as naive or gullible. I am quite enthusiastic. I’ve been really happy because Chris is so easily led and the boys will take him down this and that path. Janine will push him in another way so it is quite varied. I love the scenes where Christopher becomes a different human. He is sometimes childlike and enthusiastic and things affect him in a different way.

Any hints as to what’s in store for your character in the series?

It’s that happy balancing act by giving our fans what they want and expect - you have to carry on giving them what they expect but also you want to give them that 25% extra that they’ve never seen. I think they definitely get that in this series, they have never seen Christopher like he is in ep one or six. Christopher goes a little crazy towards the end of the series.

Is it as much fun to film as it looks?

I’m afraid it is. I love it. We have been working with Phil for over five years and we are like a dysfunctional family both in the show and off set. What we bring in terms of actors is similar to what we bring to our group.

Who’s the worst for laughing on camera?

Javone will corpse with a drop of a hat. I think most people would have said it would have been me, but I am like a machine. No one has ever got me.

What kind of reaction do you get when you go into a shop to upgrade your ‘phone?

I don’t ever get recognised. I’m actually pretty good looking in real life… It’s very rare for me to get recognised. Only when I film. We shoot stuff, so we are in Soho and after work sometimes me and the other two will go for a drink and I can walk down Wardour Street with Andrew and Javone beside me and we’ll get people who will spot the other two and be like, “You are the bruv off PhoneShop. I love that show. I love you”, and then I can see their eyes pan across to me and they don’t even flinch. However, that’s brilliant for me!

Does your ‘phone form an integral part of your life?

Yeah, it’s weird. I’d say out of three series’ of PhoneShop you would have seen three or four scenes where we are actually selling mobile phones. PhoneShop isn’t about ‘phones; it’s about this dysfunctional family who do very little work. You don’t actually see us selling ‘phones.


Andrew Brooke (Ashley)

Are any of you really like your character in real life?

Not at all, I think it is fair to say Ashley doesn’t give much support to people. He is quite selfish and thinks of himself. I try not to do that.

Is filming on set as fun as it looks?

I have worked for Phil, who produces the show, for years and we used to do bits of writing together. Nothing I have ever done with him over the last nine years feels like work. It’s totally unlike any other job you would ever do. We have to bang it out pretty quickly and we’re up against it but at the same time it all feels like there is a relaxation to it.

Do you improvise once you are in the flow?

Improvisation is key to this. I write stuff at home and bring it in so effectively you are working as writers, actors and script editors as you are being asked to come up with stuff. I would say it’s fun all the time.

Who is worse for laughing on set?

I’m actually going to be really diplomatic and say that it’s Phil who is worse for laughing off and on set. You will hear him laugh behind your shoulders - that’s the diplomatic way of saying it is Javone.

Tom said he was the machine when it comes to laughing on camera is that true?

He‘s not but he is a very well behaved boy. He’s good at keeping a straight face but then that is actually bad for us because if he raises an eyebrow you are in real trouble. Martin is appalling. He has the power down. He does a death rattle. Emma is also really good, really on it.

Does your ‘phone play an integral part of your life?

I would say they do in most people’s lives because, as an actor, you are your own business. You’re having to look at emails on your ‘phone - they are essential. Social media, however, I could live without. I just need it to make calls and emails.

Have you had a job in sales before?

I sold bread, ad space and furniture. Nothing that is really comparable to this.

Who do you think would be the best sales person in real life?

Emma. I think she’d have the touch. She’d be very good. I think people would find her very charming. But Martin trumps it overall. He covers all bases. Is he lying to me now? What is the real story? Who is the real you?

Are there any hints you can give about what’s coming up this series?

Generally you will see some stuff that goes right back to the essence. Things where you’ll be really surprised. Ashley ends up just as arrogant and stupid as he was at the start of it.

Do you get recognised?

Yeah, PhoneShop is quite a cult thing. It can happen at random times and you can be really surprised. The demographic can surprise you. The show has a really wide demographic.


Javone Prince (Jerwayne)

Are you at all like your character in real life?

No. I’m a humble guy… I guess there are little bits of me in there, tiny little bits of Jerwayne that come through.

Do you have a lot to say in how your character develops?

We all do. It all sort of began when we started four years ago improvising. We all developed our characters by talking and living together and then Phil gets a brilliant idea and says, “Why not try this, why not let your character do that?”, and then we work together with Phil and it’s brilliant.

Any hints as to what’s in store for your character in the series?

I don’t want to say too much but I will say Jerwayne spins himself a lie in front of his PhoneShop colleagues and they know he’s lying so try and pull him out of a situation. They have to get him out of the situation. Also, for any PhoneShop fans, we have a saying – as a group, when we meet up in real life behind closed doors, we’ve got that saying and it’s going to be in the show. Let’s see if you can spot it. We only say it in real life. It’s our in joke. You can be in on our in joke with us.

Is it as much fun to film as it looks?

I hate it. I hate everyday getting up at 6am and getting in the car with the same driver and listening to his radio and seeing these horrible people. They bully me... I joke, it’s amazing! It is so much fun.

Who’s the worst for laughing on camera? Everyone else said you.

I’m not the worse for laughing on camera… well, yes, it’s me. I am the worst. I’m weak. I’ve been weak since day dot. I do laugh a lot. I find things funny.

Have you ever had a job in sales?

Yes. I used to work in Dorothy Perkins and Barratts. When the thong came out they would sell three thongs for a fiver and I used to work on the tills and I used to giggle so much when they brought their thongs to the till. I got kicked off tills and moved to changing rooms. Holding thongs and giggling at the women wasn't good.

Who would make the best salesman in the cast?

I would make a good salesman. With Tom. A good double act but they’d never put us together. He’d be soft sell and I’ll be hard cop. Corner the customer, kill them dead and get the sale… well not kill them dead. Just get the sale.


Emma Fryer (Janine)

Are any of you really like your characters in real life?

I wish I had Janine’s wardrobe as she’s got the confidence - there is always a bit of Doris Day in there. I also wish I had her positivity as she always fails and things go wrong but she always resets - the next day is going to be the day it will change.

Is filming on set as fun as it looks?

There was a scene in series one and it was me, Javone and Tom and we were trying to get our bums into shot and were just trying to skim frames to get a line of bums. No one would ever know but us, so we found it hilarious. What’s good is that we have the same cast and crew all the way through so we really know people on it and it’s lovely because every time you see someone it’s genuinely nice to see them.

Have you had a job in sales before?

I did retail, it was really nice. I started when I was 16 in a woman’s clothes shop. All my colleagues were women who were my mum’s age so it was me being in the adult world. I loved it!

Who do you think would be the best sales person in real life?

Martin. He can be surprisingly charming and can just turn it on - and he’s honest. He is frighteningly charming. He has got an elegance about him. He is the older silver fox. I would be a mess.

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