Friday Night Dinner
To fans of British comedy, dryly funny Tamsin Greig is a familiar face. She gets plenty of opportunities to crack up viewers in the dysfunctional- family comedy Friday Night Dinner, the first two seasons of which are now airing on pay- TV station UKTV. The meal of the title is a tradition in the Goodman household, with adult sons Adam and Jonny ( Inbetweeners star Simon Bird and comedian Tom Rosenthal) returning to the family home to share some food and invariably indulge in a bit of squabbling with their parents Jackie and Martin, played by Greig and Paul Ritter, and each other. Friday Night Dinner’s Jackie is based on the mother of series creator and writer Robert Popper, isn’t she, Tamsin? Yes, I met her and she’s very warm and curious. She came on set when we made the pilot way back and she coveted the gold slippers I wear in the show, so she went and got herself some. Speaking of those slippers, Jackie has a very distinctive dress sense. Have you lobbied to keep any pieces for yourself? I didn’t keep many of the pieces from the wardrobe. The gold slippers made my stomach turn. Then there was the jumpsuit, I didn’t keep that one either, weirdly. The gold trainers I did keep. So what’s the set- up of Friday Night Dinner, and how does Jackie relate to her two boys, Adam and Jonny? The boys turn up every Friday night and she’s always busy cooking. But everything goes wrong.
I’d have given up a long time ago. Jackie’s relationship with her sons is incredibly warm, though. She’s fond of them and exasperated in equal measure because they are always messing around.
But I think mums delight in that antagonistic behaviour because it’s so alien. She’s the only woman in that world and dominates it to a degree. Is it a family situation you can relate to? When I was growing up, we had the traditional Sunday lunch at the heart of the family, which was like a check- in point in the week. There was a feeling of tiredness rather than exulting joy, so it’s very different to Friday Night Dinner.
What’s interesting is the strength of the female character. I think my mum was strong in our home. Is it a family situation you can relate to? Yes, it’s incredibly important as you learn about the rules of behaviour, which are ridiculous, and yet we all agree to abide by them.
Friday Night Dinner, UKTV ( Foxtel), Monday, 10.05pm