Monday, 8 October 2012

Greg McHugh: 'Fresh Meat' interviews, and 'Gary: Tank Commander' location report

'Fresh Meat' Greg McHugh teases series two: 'Howard may get action'
Much like its characters when they stepped into that grotty student house for the first time, we weren't entirely sure what to expect when Fresh Meat hit our screens last year. I mean, hadn't we seen enough dirty teen comedies already?

But by the end of its eight-week run on Channel 4, we wanted to be best friends with the likes of Kingsley (Joe Thomas), JP (Jack Whitehall) and especially Peking duck-drying Scottish oddball Howard, played to perfection by Greg McHugh.

As anticipation for the second series of Fresh Meat reaches dangerous levels, Digital Spy caught up with McHugh to ask what's coming up in the new episodes, whether he's a fan of The Inbetweeners and how the success of Whitehall's Bad Education has gone down with the team...

So what can we expect in Fresh Meat series two?
"Howard gets a part time job at an abattoir, which was a lot of fun to do, though under the lights it was pretty disgusting and sinking because it was real meat."

Sounds horrific.
"Oh yeah. I mean we didn't kill any animals on set or anything."

What else is there?
"Potentially Howard may get a bit of action, a bit of lady action, finally. It's been a long couple of years for Howie in that regards so, yeah, it'll be interesting to see how he gets seduced or seduces the lady. It'll be good fun.

"What else? Howard tries his hand at being a sleuth. There's a crime in the house and Howard's responsibility is to solve that. He does his own investigation into the crime, which was a lot of fun indeed."

In the first series there were a few flings between the Fresh Meat characters; can we expect any of those old romances to reignite in series two?
"I think what I can say about old housemate romances is that this year they become even more complicated."

Josie (Kimberley Nixon) and Kinglsey are meant to be, aren't they?
"I couldn't possibly confirm or deny that. Let's just say that storyline is not straightforward. I think they probably are meant to be together in a romantic Dawson's Creek way, but it doesn't quite work like that."

Anticipation for the second series of Fresh Meat has been huge; we get readers writing in about it all the time. Did you and the rest of the team feel a lot of pressure to live up to expectations?
"We invest very heavily as individuals in the show when we're performing, but the pressure ultimately is on the writers. We do feel the pressure, but once we got the scripts and saw how good they are for series two that pressure is reduced.

"When you're doing the show you just enjoy the scripts. The scripts are brilliant this year - they were brilliant last year as well, but they've really been written for us this year. There is pressure, but I love doing it and I think that's a good sign."
Read more at Digital Spy

Interview with Greg McHugh of 'Fresh Meat'

This term Howard enters the job market and takes rather enthusiastically to his new position working with animals...

Says Greg McHugh: "Howard has reached the point of financial uncertainty so he has managed to get himself a very Howard like job part time at the abattoir which comes with certain perks of the job. Those perks are gruesome and real and I had to deal with those perks on set under hot lights. No, we didn't kill animals but had to deal with off cuts and if you have to keep redoing a scene or forget your lines that meat heats up and trust me it is not fresh meat...
"I basically had rotting flesh in my hands. I don't even think anyone even asked me if I was a vegetarian...someone asked if I could play the violin but not whether I minded handling lumps of meat on a hot set. The professional that I am I don't think I mentioned how disgusting it was more than 10 times a day..."

What do learn about Howard this series?
"We learn that he is a bit of a part time Marple...The house gets robbed and Howard investigates the crime; takes responsibility for discovering who the culprit is. Turns out he is a bit of sleuth. He also turns out to be a lothario - well, more of a lady man, not ladies. Howard may well get a bit of action, which will come as no surprise to many as he is a very attractive man."

In fact Greg gets a lot of comment from fans on Howard's dress sense.
"People love his jumpers. That was probably the main thing I was asked about on Twitter last year - 'Where does Howard buy his knitwear?' June Nevin, our costume designer, does a top job."

There are two new faces in the house this term, how does Howard deal with them?
"Of the two new characters, one is a mature student who Howard has more in common with. Sabine is straight talking and Howard, in his own way, is fairly to the point as well so they get on quite well. Heather meanwhile is entangled with Kingsley and Howard has no common ground with her so he doesn't really get involved.
"Howard does feel genuinely quite close to his fellow housemates after last term. At various points throughout the series they support each other and there are some more caring moments - broken by humour of course. I think that because as a cast we really get on well this translates on screen.
"Howard feels closer to them than he ever has to his contemporaries before but will they all continue to live together in the future? He has various, slightly repressed, emotional responses to his housemates but he does try to tell them how much he cares in Howard language..."

What Howard does love is his studies.
Greg explains: "Howard does genuinely love geology and as part of that he has his eye on a job with BP. That doesn't quite go to plan at the job fair as BP have a view of what kind of young student they'd like to recruit and it is not really Howard. They're after recruits who are smarter in appearance and Howard has managed to get abattoir substance on his jumper which doesn't really impress them."

And on the subject of his attire, this term Howard decides to give himself a makeover...
"I think inevitably at university you become aware of other groups and start to think 'how can I improve my standing in the social hierarchy of student life?' Howard loses confidence in himself and decides a new look would improve his chances with the ladies and in general make him a cooler person. So he goes out to choose what he perceives to be cool new clothes...
"I love Howard and I think he works because of the quality of the writing and also freedom from the brilliant directors to interpret lines. It is my job to find as much appeal in Howard as I can. With any three dimensional character as well written as this you can still add the little details of human life that make them more interesting."

One of Greg's favourite filming experiences this year was the geology field trip which saw him, Jack Whitehall and Joe Thomas spending time in the Pennines.
"Oh my god we were released into the wild! The Pennines are stunning and it also coincided with the best weather we had all year. It was marvellous to be allowed out of the studio, which has no natural light at all, and into the fresh air.
"There is something about being in an inspiring spot which just gets the best out of people. We had a stunt guy there to work with Joe and I but being real men we never actually used the stunt mat. We just fell onto the grass and the rolled about in the ferns. It was like that scene from Women in Love where Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wrestle naked - except we were wearing hiking gear..."

Fresh Meat returns to Channel 4 on Tuesday 9th October at 10pm.
Don't forget to check out Fresh Meat House which will launch 9th October directly after transmission of the first episode on Channel 4. Go to for a tour of the student digs and to watch exclusive content released at the end of each episode.
Fresh Meat House is a new commission from Channel 4's Education team who have a focus on life skills for young people
Source: Channel 4 

Garelochhead plays starring role in Gary: Tank Commander
The stunning hillside setting of Garelochhead is once again playing centre stage in a popular BBC comedy. The village’s training camp is the set for filming of Gary: Tank Commander, written by Greg McHugh, which was back on our screens for a third series last Monday night.

Crew from the programme visited a host of sites across Scotland looking for the ideal spot for filming. Garelochhead proved to be the best set for Gary, a corporal in the fictional 104th Royal Tank Regiment of the British Army .

Series director Noddy Davidson said: “It’s the best looking camp that we looked at and we looked at an awful lot when we first came to do the first series. We had seen so many and they just weren’t right. Thankfully it just so happened that the locations manager knew of Garelochhead.”

The site is used for all of the exterior shots and features in all but one of the episodes in the current series, series three.

Noddy continued: “For six weeks, we were filming for six episodes. During that time, we must have shot about eight days at Garelochhead.
“Although the exterior shots are done there, the mess hall where Gary and the boys meet is somewhere else and there are other places we use as well. It all kind of fits together and nobody notices.
“Whenever there are views outside it’s great because Garelochhead looks brilliant.
“The only problem is it’s very rare we have a nice day.
“Last week’s episode we shot in July and it was absolutely freezing. We had a guest actor Ben McGregor who had to wear a training instructor’s vest he was so cold. We look right over the naval base and apparently the base was put there because it’s the place with the most cloud cover in the country.
“Garelochhead basically gets more rain than anywhere else in the country.”

And Noddy tells how the camp doesn’t stop operating while the sitcom is in town.

“It’s always a surprise to go up and see who we are sharing it with.
“We are often having to halt filming for helicopters coming in or police up there doing target practice. You can sometimes hear gun fire in the distance.”

Source: Lennox Herald


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