Interviews: Interviews With The Cast Of Plebs

ITV2’s Series 4 of Plebs returns on Monday 9th April with an opening double bill from 10pm. Read interviews with the main cast, new cast members and special guests here and on the next four pages.

TOM ROSENTHAL plays Marcus

 

What goes through your mind when you know you’re coming back to Rome and playing Marcus again?

It’s just always very exciting because it’s a privilege to be on this show. I’m just thankful that ITV support it in the way that they do and let us come back each series and have even more fun. I don’t have any bad thoughts, well, apart from wearing togas and having cold toes all the time! 

 

Apparently you and Ryan went to Ibiza before filming started…

We had a holiday together and he disgraced himself! He got very drunk and there are some brilliant videos of him just about managing to stay on the boat, he’s hanging off it like some kind of mini pirate waving about singing show tunes. Ryan loves a show tune! I’m in the room below him in our hotel and most weekends you can hear him singing! I don't really know show tunes, they all sound the same to me. This actor called Joe Coen came out and he’s a really good pianist, so there was one drunken night that him and Ryan were in the hotel lobby playing around on the piano. A bus load of Hungarians came in and started crowding round them getting into all the show tunes they were playing. I’ve got videos of that, it’s quite surreal! At the end one guy gave them twenty euros to play on. So basically they were busking in the hotel lobby! That’s not really my scene, I don’t like public singing, but Ryan’s all over that! He’s a very entertaining little man! 

 

So this series of Plebs sees a big change to the cast…

Yeah, it’s sad, we were very close to Joel and had become really good friends. It’s sad for both myself and Marcus that Joel and Stylax have gone. But it’s been brilliant having Jonathan join us this series. What’s nice with his character is that while Jason is still the one who’s chasing all the girls, he’s a bit dumber, he’s more of a goon than Stylax and that changes the pace a bit. He’s been making us laugh a lot!

 

What happens to Marcus and Grumio this series after Stylax departs?

Marcus and Grumio respond to Stylax’s departure in different ways. Grumio uses it as an excuse to be very lazy and Marcus uses it for financial gain by trying to get compensation! They join forces with Jason and there’s a group heist on the house of Crassus, played by Robert Lindsay. It’s a bit like a parody of Ocean’s 11. 

 

So who’s the Brad Pitt and George Clooney of the heist?

Well, Marcus is the brains of the heist so I guess that makes me George Clooney! I’m very much the George Clooney of Plebs! He actually lives close to me, he bought a house nearby and everyone’s very excited by it. So in a way I am George Clooney!

 

They get compensation but it turns out to be a property rather than cash, how disappointed are they when they realise Crassus has given them a toilet?

They can’t believe they’ve been given a public toilet, so I suppose the only thing to do with a toilet in ancient Rome is turn it into a bar! So the whole series is basically us having this wine bar and trying to make a success of it.

 

Does Marcus get any love action this series?

Well, we have Aisling Bea playing a character called Minerva, a satirist who Marcus invites down to the bar for a show. They start going out but then she starts putting stories of their sex life in her show, Marcus isn’t particularly pleased! He has to weigh up what to do because she’s good for the bar because she’s drawing a crowd and making them money but at the same time it’s not great for him! He brags to the guys about having sex with her four times but then she goes on stage and says she’d prefer one good time than four rubbish ones, she’d prefer a healthy meal to four little nibbles, if you know what I mean! He gets self-conscious so then he can’t get an erection the next time they have sex and worries she’s going to use that in her next show. 

 

So his sex appeal is taking a hammering!

Marcus has never had the greatest sex appeal and this is definitely not helping. Me the actor, Tom, I’ve obviously got huge sex appeal but when I play Marcus I have to really dull that down! I spend hours in make-up getting rid of the sex appeal! I’ve got to make myself unsexy, but I am still the George Clooney of Plebs! 

 

Is Jason more of a hit with the ladies?

Jason is the only one who is successful with the ladies because he’s a very good-looking boy, very likeable with puppy dog eyes! He’s got great game. So he starts having sex with a yoga teacher! There’s another episode where they need waitresses for the bar and Jason’s only interest is whether they are single, attractive and will sleep with him! 

 

What other funny moments can fans look forward to?

There’s a brilliant episode with Annette Badland who plays a food critic and she gives a six-star review to the bar which means a load of hipsters turn up thinking it’s really brilliant. Grumio is the chef dishing out these really bizarre meals and it doesn’t quite go to plan. One of the hipsters is Ollie Locke from Made In Chelsea. 

 

What was it like having him on set?

He’s a brilliant actor! The people who tend to do well on those types of shows know they are, in a certain way, playing a character and think about the storylines they are delivering. Ollie did drama courses before he got into Made In Chelsea and I think he always thought about what story they were trying to tell through him. He was really fun to hang out with, a bit mad like the rest of us in Plebs. I think people are going to enjoy his cameo.

 

Are you naked a lot this series?

There’s always a lot of naked action. Jonathan’s had the worst of it. He had to climb backwards down a ladder while naked. While I’ve always done naked scenes, I’ve always been able to cup my penis, to protect people from having to witness that horrific mess between my legs! But Jonathan didn’t have any of that, it all hung out!

 

Are you bothered about the naked scenes?

It’s just a part of Plebs really, I’ve never lost sleep over any of the scenes we’ve had to do. There was one scene where all three of us were naked and we realised we have three very different flavours of bums. It depends what you’re into, Ryan’s is very small but packs a punch, it’s well contained. Jonathan’s is a very good bum but he has a builder vibe going on and my bum is like a Renaissance painting, a woman lying on some grass! It’s very rounded, it almost looks like you could lay your head on it for a nice night’s sleep. So it depends what you’re into, but there’s a bum for everyone! Maybe we should have a vote on social media when that episode goes out!

 

What’s been the funniest moment on set?

There was a scene where the others had to be in this hot tub and I was watching from the outside. The water was so hot they had to keep getting out and by the end their skin was different colours. Ryan looked like a Fab ice lolly, his legs were red, his tummy was white and his hair was the chocolate! It’s one of these scenes which sounds great on paper, hanging out in a hot tub all day, but was actually awful! There was another scene where we all had to be lying down on beds, which sounds brilliant, but actually you have to sit at an unnatural angel to make sure your face can be seen so actually this really relaxing scene ended up fucking up my neck and really hurt! You really can’t find anything an actor won’t complain about, there’s no way! 

 

Have you been pranking Jonathan seeing as he’s the new guy on set?

Well, I’ve just been mean to him telling him he’s shit all the time! He’ll do a take and I’ll be like, ‘Really? You’re going to do it like that? Don’t really belong here do you, mate?’. It sounds really mean, and I guess it is, but I think he found it funny! He doesn’t talk to me much and he does cry a lot, but I thought that was tears of laughter!!!

 

What’s he like offset?

Pointy loves a beer! I did do my research on him. I worked with his brother-in-law before the show and asked if there was any gossip on him and he just said that he loves a beer, and he does! He can drink seven pints in a row and not feel it. I think that’s what his big builder bum’s for, the beer is all knocking about inside those juicy cheeks of his! 

 

Did he settle into Plebs life quickly?

He’s always drunk so I don’t think he notices! I think he’s really enjoyed himself. It can be quite intimidating coming onto a set that’s already established, but he’s been brilliant. 

 

What sort of reaction do you get from fans?

Oh people love it, especially people who go to festivals! I’ve been at a few this year and people shout ‘Plebs’ at me all the time, I love it! I can’t get enough of that, tuck in, shout ‘Pleb’ in my face, I’m always up for a selfie! People are generally really pleasant. They just want a picture and then go on their way. It really validates being out in Bulgaria for two months having cold toes. It’s the best thing about doing a show like this when someone comes up and says they love the show. 

 

What’s been the stand out moment of this series which will stay with you forever?

Well, there’s a moment that haunts my dreams and not in a good way! There are a load of Bulgarian extras who play the Romans in our show. There was one man who had long white hair, he looked a bit like Gandalf. We had to do the naked scene of us all walking through town. Most of the extras are perfectly normal about it, but the guy couldn’t stop staring at me the whole time. We had to do a take and I stopped because I couldn’t hack the fact he was looking at me, it was like he was looking into my soul, he had a really mystical quality. They move the extras about so we started the scene and he was behind me, but then they moved him and he ended up in front of me again, still staring! I was walking towards this guy while cupping my balls and I’m never going to get those eyes out of my head! He haunts my dreams, it’s creepy! 

Read more cast interviews here.

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