Interview: The Stars of New Sitcom Scrotal Recall

Scrotal Recall

Channel 4's new sitcom Scrotal Recall stars Johnny Flynn as Dylan Witter, who is told that he has chlamydia and has to track down his previous sexual partners. It is written by Tom Edge of YouTube superstars The Midnight Beast and is, erm, transmitted from October 2. Dylan's mates Evie and Luke are played by Antonia Thomas and Daniel Ings. In this interview they talk about the perils of corpsing, the atmosphere on set plus the baking of rock’n’roll pies.

 

 

You star in Channel 4’s new comedy, Scrotal Recall. What’s the concept?

A: It’s three friends at the heart of the show. One of them, Dylan (Johnny Flynn), finds out at the start that he’s got a minor STI, and he goes to a clinic. So then he has to revisit the different women he’s slept with over the last six years, to tell them that he has this STI.

D: Specifically, he chooses to go and see them in person rather than anonymously let them know. So in each episode, he goes to see a different girlfriend from his past, and their story is told through flashback of how they met or some significant point in the relationship with that person. And through revisiting these relationships he starts to investigate himself a little bit, and how he’s arrived where he is.

A: And with each flashback, you then see the relationship between the three friends, and how that has developed over the years from when they met at University.

Antonia, you play Evie, and Daniel, you play Luke. Tell me a bit about their respective characters.

D: Luke is one of Dylan’s best friends. The three of them come as a kind of unit. Luke is the deliberately irresponsible one of the group. He’s a bit of a puppy dog, he’s like a Labrador on antidepressants. He’s constantly looking for a good time. He’s not interested in doing the right thing, necessarily, but he is interested in doing the most fun thing, particularly if that is meeting women. But he does have a very good heart, he’s a very loyal friend. He provides the group with a bit of lightness and humour, but he’s incredibly loyal and loves his two mates.

A: Evie is the girl of the group. She’s a photographer, she wants to be doing better at life generally - she’s a bit hopeless. She’s kind of one of the guys, and she muddles along with them, basically. Within Dylan’s exploration of his relationships and his life, she’s also trying to figure out what she wants, in terms of love life, what she wants to be doing, and so on.

 

What was it that attracted you to the project, apart from the fact that it’s called Scrotal Recall!

A: Ha! I think, generally, the writing is really exciting. It’s really funny, but it has a lot of heart to it, too. The characters are really well-written and unusual. Tom Edge is male, but he’s written a woman so well. Evie is a really complex, interesting character, not a character that I’ve really played before. I just love the scripts, basically.

D: It sort of feels like the characters really could exist, and would be the best of friends. There’s such an incredible heart to the show, which you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a show called Scrotal Recall. There’s a great vein of humour running through it, but it actually has characters that you care about, and you care about their future, and are interested to sift through their past to see how they’ve got to where they are. And the structure of the show, the fact that it’s not just a straightforward chronological story, is really interesting.

A: Yeah, it’s so much fun, as actors, to be able to play with that structure, to explore these people five or six years ago, two years ago, six months ago.

 

Are the episodes all in order? Do they start with the first girl and work forwards from there chronologically?

D: No, it doesn’t work like that. It jumps around.

 

Does it make that more difficult when you’re filming, in terms of knowing quite where you are meant to be on your story arc?

A: Yeah!

D: I still have absolutely no idea how it’s all going to fit together, but I know that there are people who do, and I’m happy to leave it to them.

A: It’s really complicated, because also, within our filming days, we shoot out of sequence, so one day we’ll be doing something from six months ago, the next it’ll be four years ago.

D: Your haircut changes a lot…

A: Yeah, my hair changes the whole time.

 

Antonia, a lot of the people involved in Scrotal Recall also worked on Misfits. Is that fun for you, and does it help you feel more at home?

A: It’s great, it’s so nice to work with Clerkenwell [the production company] again. It’s very exciting. It’s so nice to come back and see the same faces and collaborate again. It really feels comfortable and homely.

 

Looking back at Misfits, how important do you feel that role was for you?

A: It’s still probably the most important thing that I’ve done in my career. It’s completely set me up in every way. It was my first job, and none of us knew quite how big the show was going to be. It taught me a hell of a lot, it was an incredible thing to be part of, because the writing was just so brilliant. And it set me up for the rest of my career, in a way. People are still so enthusiastic about the show, and really recognise it as something that was quite special. So to have been a part of it was quite amazing.

 

Daniel, you’ve done a lot of comedy in recent years, like Pete vs Life and Psychoville. Is that where you feel your strengths lie, in comedy?

D: Possibly. But I think it’s also a case of once you start working in the comedy world, you make contacts with people. It’s quite a small and welcoming world, and I do enjoy it a lot. I’ve worked outside of comedy - in theatre, for example. It’s not been a conscious decision on my part to do that as opposed to anything else, it’s more a matter of what I’m offered and what people are interested in seeing me do.

You were Benedict Cumberbatch’s understudy in Danny Boyle’s acclaimed production of Frankenstein. How many times did you have to fill in, and what’s that experience like?

D: That was probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, I would say. I went on about six or seven times for him, in the end. I played Frankenstein, and Jonny Lee Miller played the monster, because the monster was really the lead role in the show. It was an extraordinary experience, actually. The first show I did was about a week into previews. I got a call at 10am on a Saturday and I was onstage at 2:30pm and then again at 7:30pm. I think we’d done one run-through the day before! Then I did a bunch more when Benedict got laryngitis. I was fortunate enough one night that [the show’s director] Danny Boyle was coming to see the show anyway, and I got feedback from him afterwards. I was 23 or 24, it was a pretty extraordinary experience to have. It was a great show and such a wonderful thing to be part of. Understudying is such a double-edged sword. You can’t really do your own thing. You have to focus on what that actor does in the role. And of course you prepare for it, but in an ideal world you never go on. But it was a great experience.

 

Scrotal Recall is being filmed in Glasgow. Has it been a fun experience?

A: Yeah, we’ve absolutely loved it. Glasgow is a really wicked city, I’ve worked here a couple of times and have loved coming back to it. We’re living in a really nice area. Socially we’ve been having a great time. Also, it’s such a lovely set, such a nice company of people. There’s the core cast, and then within each episode, because you’re visiting a different time in their lives, that includes a whole ream of new people. And everyone’s been lovely.

D: Yeah, so we’ve had lots of actors coming on doing guest parts in various episodes, which has been really good fun. And quite often, when you film outside London, everyone, cast and crew, gets shipped up, but in this case, a lot of the crew are Glaswegian, so they know the area, and know all the places to go out and eat and drink. So we’ve been shown a really good time.

 

You have been sharing a flat together. What is the other’s most annoying habit?

D: I don’t have any annoying habits!

A: We haven’t been living together for quite long enough.

D: What can I say? We’ve made some interesting pies together since we’ve been up here.

A: Yeah, we made a really good pie together. I enjoy making a pie sometimes. On the first night we were in the flat, we made a pie together.

D: We made a pie with our names on it.

A: Rock’n’roll!

 

It’s obviously been a really fun series to film. Have you guys had any problems with corpsing?

A: There’s been a little bit of that!

D: There was a little bit of that today, actually.

A: We were crying, I was literally just weeping.

D: I don’t know what happened, we just said a few lines in the wrong order, and I decided to carry on. I looked across at the others, and they were just crying.

 

Lastly, Daniel, do people ever confuse you with the footballer Danny Ings?

D: Yeah, they do actually. Increasingly as he becomes more successful, and infinitely more successful than me – which is a little bit annoying! He doesn’t look massively dissimilar to me. In fact, I tried to meet him on my last job. They were trying to get footballers on, and I tried to get them to hire him, but it never happened. I want to make a mockumentary film about the two of us called “I am Dan”. It’s really annoying, he’s taking all my Google hits.

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