Sneak Peek at Peep Show

The lives of dysfunctional twenty-somethings Mark and Jeremy are laid bare in all their hideous glory in dark sitcom Peep Show.

Not only do we see their hapless attempts to find love, or just sex, but we hear their innermost thoughts as well.

The formula has proved a huge hit and is now back for a second series. Teletext on 4 meets its two stars.

Peep Show won the Golden Rose for Best European Sitcom at the Lucerne TV Festival this year as well as nominations for Bafta and RTS awards.

Did its two stars, David Mitchell and Robert Webb, know they had such a huge hit on their hands?

"We didn't expect that," says Webb. "That's in the lap of the gods. But we thought the script was funny so our job was not to mess it up too much."

In Peep Show, we meet strange, self-obsessed characters Mark and Jeremy.

Robert Webb, who plays Jeremy, says he hopes viewers empathise with their characters, despite their awfulness: "It's about them knowing the difference between right and wrong, then do the wrong thing, feel guilty but carry on doing the wrong thing anyway.

"I think we've all done that, not that everybody behaves as appallingly."

Peep Show's David Mitchell and Robert Webb were delighted to get a second series. We asked them what they have enjoyed filming:

"I think the funniest on-screen are the hardest to shoot like the skinny dipping in the lake or when I have to kiss Rob," says Mitchell in mock shock.

"It's funny and you know this is absolutely what I should be doing but for that afternoon it's not funny."

In sitcom Peep Show, the two main characters are completely hopeless in life and love.

David Mitchell and Robert Webb, who play them, say they wouldn't like to see their characters have more luck:

"No way," says Mitchell. "It would be like Basil Fawlty and Sybil separating and leading happy lives! The more our characters stay trapped and unhappy, that's my livelihood."

In Peep Show we hear the characters' disturbingly honest thoughts.

Would it be a good thing if we could hear everyone's thoughts in real life? The show's stars, David Mitchell and Robert Webb, think not.

"We'd have to have a widespread admission of how unpleasant our inner souls can sometimes be," says Mitchell. "Hypocrisy gets a bad press but it is important."

David Mitchell and Robert Webb first met at Cambridge University nearly 10 years ago as members of Footlights.

Past alumni include Peter Cook and John Cleese. Says Webb: "People tend to migrate there as they know they'll meet others wanting to do comedy.

"Also, writing comedy is not entirely dissimilar to an academic discipline so it will have higher concentration of people who can write," adds Mitchell.

Peep Show is, shall we say, rather dark and rather risque.

What reaction did they get to series one? "I think with a show on Channel 4 reasonably late at night people know what to expect," says Robert Webb.

Co-star David Mitchell adds: "My parents found it a bit rude but at the same time could see it was quite well done - but they prefer Radio 4."

Peep Show, Fridays, 10pm

Published on Teletext Channel 4

Image courtesy of Channel 4