You’re in Channel 4’s new series, Stath Lets Flats. Can you explain a little bit about the show?
Stath Lets Flats at its heart is a character comedy show about a family-run estate agents, but it’s inspired by a real family! It’s written, created and performed by performers who have an incredible back catalogue of work they’ve done together. In a nice way that sets it apart from other shows because it comes from an organic, real life place. It was amazing to all come together and be able to make something that’s going to go on national television. It’s a dream come true, really.
You play Sophie. What’s she like?
She is a combination of things. She’s gormless, cheeky, stupid but she has a very good heart and is very influenced by celebrity culture. She’s watched years and years of X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent while playing Candy Crush. That led to her going, “Yeah, I can do that”. She loves her family, her and Stath are truly best mates. Like most of the characters. I think if you boil it down they’re all very stupid but all have a good heart.
How would you describe her relationship with her brother?
To me it feels very real. There’s definitely elements of mine and Jamie’s real life relationship. You have little traditions that only two siblings quite close in age can have. They live together and they bicker and Stath is horrible to her, but they just really love each other. They get each other and when Stath is sad he goes to find Sophie because she’ll cheer him up, she’ll understand. Me and Jamie have grown up together and we work in the same industry and I quite often feel very lucky. Doing Stath I look across the room and think, “Not only is one of my best friends here, but he’s also my brother.” You just feel lucky that you get to do that with someone you’ve had so many great Christmases with.
Sophie’s also got an interesting relationship with one of Stath’s colleagues. What’s going on there?
Sophie and Al are really good friends. At the heart of it it’s that thing where there is definitely a love and deep connection there. They’re both fumbling and unsure of themselves and Al’s already got a girlfriend. Its representative of those relationships where it’s like, “Oh wow! That was a shock. I really get on with this person and it feels like something really special could happen. Or maybe nothing will ever happen and it’s fine.” I think Jamie looks at the storyline and how it could be resolved but not in the obvious way. It’s about a really sweet friendship where two people are very different but on kind of the same level somehow. Even though they’re quite different people they laugh at the same stuff, which I think is quite often the most important thing with people: to find someone you can laugh with.
She’s studying dance at college. Do you see her future in that medium?
I definitely see her thinking her future is in that medium because she’s just so blindly like, “Yeah I love it so I’m gonna do it.” It’s that sort of attitude, “I like dancing. So I’ll be a dancer.” Like me and doing comedy, you just don’t let go. She’ll end up somehow working in a school or being a dance teacher or something like that, even though she should never be because she has no rhythm or any real talent.
Obviously there is a degree of art imitating life here, as you and Jamie are siblings in real life. How much have you worked together in the past?
We’ve worked together so much. We both started on Christmas 1995. It was the first time we were old enough to start sketching. We both started doing Edinburgh at the same time. For the years we were doing Edinburgh and we would just help each other out. The first professional thing that came our way was Seb Barwell, who weirdly ended up being the producer on Stath. We got this email to our email account that we hadn’t thought to check as the only people emailing that account were us to see if it worked. He was the first person that approached us to develop something. Then Peopletime is the sketch show we all made together, we’ve worked on a radio show together. When it comes to writing and developing, more often than not I find myself very happily in the same room as Jamie and luckily we got to do Stath.
How did you find working with Jamie on Stath Lets Flats?
Oh my God. It was a dream come true. I think I had tears of happiness in my eyes for most of it. It was just heavenly getting to work with him and seeing him every day. Our trailers were right next door to each other. Professionally it was a dream come true because character comedy doesn’t get made that much. Especially stuff that you’ve had an input in or been able to workshop with people that get your sense of humour because you’ve already worked together. It was such an amazing atmosphere. The cast were all made up of my best friends and my funniest people. And then on top of that you’ve got my brother who I just want to wrap up in a blanket and carry in my pocket with me wherever I go. It was very emotional and lovely.
Are you and Jamie competitive?
No. I don’t think we are. We’re very lucky that we’re different genders. We’ve never had to go up for the same thing. I think we’re too emotional and too soppy and stupid. We’ve always wanted to make each other laugh and we’re such emotional, sensitive people, I don’t have it in me. Also we’re not from a big sport family. I always want Jamie to win a board game because I’d feel too guilty if he didn’t. I just want him to do so well and be so happy.
How much do family meals consist of you guys trying to make each other laugh?
Everything we do is to make each other laugh. Our Whats app conversations are just me sending him photos of me trying to make 25 chins, and him sending me voice notes that are so funny. I guess we grew up watching Sesame Street and The Muppets and we had that shared sense of humour. I don’t know where it came from, why we’re both obsessed with being funny. That’s just always been a thing.There’s a photo of me and Jamie when we’re little and I’ve covered myself in yoghurt and he’s really laughing and I’ve obviously done that to try and make him laugh. That was from when we were like babies. I don’t know why, that was my go-to thing. But maybe the best attention you can get is someone laughing at you.
You’ve also got your comedy partner Ellie White playing your best friend. Was it fun to have her on board?
Yes, oh my God. If I had a sister, it would be her. She’s the funniest, funniest person. I love working with her because she’s my best friend. She makes me laugh so much and I think she’s so unbelievably talented. We’ve spent so many years gigging and writing stuff and filming tasters. When you get to do something that has got a proper camera crew and costumes, it’s magical. She’s in my top people to spend time with. Again my heart bursts. My heart gets too overwhelmed with Stath. Stath is too much for my heart to bear.
There are some pretty abysmal properties in the series. What’s the worst place you’ve ever lived?
I lived for a little while in a place where the kitchen was a cupboard on the landing. My parent’s house, to be honest, is like a snail’s disco. It’s a fine house but my parents are very eccentric. Also that house might be built on an Ancient Egyptian burial ground or something, because the plague of insects that hit that house as we were growing up. There was one summer where all of a sudden there was a plague of moths in the kitchen and no one knew where they were coming from. My dad’s a chef and he hates food waste (quite right) so he’d bring back anything he couldn’t bear to waste. The smells I’d come home to, like boiled pigeon, that was a grim one! Another time when he owned a café he would bring home all the baguettes that he’d pre buttered and then he filled the freezer up with them and we’d be at capacity with frozen baguettes. Then for some unknown reason he didn’t chuck them in the bin, he tried to flush them down the toilet! I go to the toilet and there’s a baguette frozen in the toilet. So obviously I was very lucky, I had a roof over my head, I had boiled pigeon on the table when I needed it, but it was a madhouse.