The David Mitchell Fan Interviews – Meet Chas!

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Twitter Handle: @ChasquiPenguin

What you do? Or what you love to do?  

I am retired, having worked in the NHS for many years as a medical secretary. After 6 years of retirement I can confirm that I am so busy now I don’t know how I found time to go to work! Writing is one of my main loves, as well as reading. I have been a huge comedy fan for as long as I can remember, dating back to Hancock in the 50s, and am an aficionada of history and love to research into it, incorporating my interest in the life and works of Marlowe and Shakespeare. Music (especially 70s rock) is a big part of my life, not forgetting my special fondness for penguins, pandas and dolphins. I also compile and host the Upstart Crow quizzes on Twitter and put together the Upstart Crow Facts lists on @doseofdavidm – fun to do and both provide me with a great opportunity to do some historical research.

The moment that you realised you were a David Mitchell fan?  

When I was in the audience for the recording of an episode of Doctors and Nurses in which David played Dr Toby Stephens back in 2003.

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Chas helped us rediscover Doctors and Nurses by sending a VHS to A Dose of David Mitchell

Your favourite David Mitchell show? 

Upstart Crow because it has been so well written by Ben Elton who must have invested much time in research for the series. The script, cast and production seem to have been made for each other. For me this is one of the best sitcoms ever. 

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Favourite Mitchell & Webb sketch:  

The Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar (too difficult to choose just one of those Holmes and Watson parodies).

Favourite Upstart Crow scene/moment?

Our introduction to Kit Marlowe, when he entered Will’s lodgings, gave us an insight into this character, as he announced that he had let himself in, then sat down, put his feet on the table and had reached across and grabbed Will’s mug of ale, all in one smooth move (The Play’s the Thing – S1, Ep2). In the next ep, having let himself in, Kit explained, “Don’t really do manners. Just kinda go where I please”!

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Favourite Mitchell & Webb deep cut?

Seeing Robert Webb as Bertie Wooster at one of our local theatres when the play Perfect Nonsense was touring the UK in 2014. I saw this in the afternoon and in the evening I returned to the adjacent venue to see Dylan Moran live on his tour. Quite a comedy day!

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Robert Webb and Mark Heap in Jeeves & Wooster – Perfect Nonsense

Favourite Upstart Crow episode?  

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So difficult to choose across the three series as they are all outstanding in their own way but I Did Adore a Twinkling Star and Go on and I Will Follow are among my favourites. The former because it showed a caring Kit, at least initially, and I had high hopes he would be quoting Ovid’s Amores in Latin to her, but it was not to be! The second episode for the delicate and poignant way the subject of Hamnet’s death was handled, much along the lines of the last episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, and yet it started with an Awards Ceremony which provided so many laughs. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p05dt16t/upstart-crow-series-2-3-i-did-adore-a-twinkling-star

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0bmgftc/upstart-crow-series-3-6-go-on-and-i-will-follow

Favourite Upstart Crow character?  

Difficult choice as the whole cast is so good but am letting Will and Kit tie for top place. At times they are like a double act! 

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Favourite: Upstart Crow line? 

I love well-worded comedy and Ben Elton has excelled so often with this, but from the many wonderful lines in Upstart Crow here are a few of my favourites:

Will’s opinion of Robert Greene’s A Groats-worth of Wit: 

“…take ‘wit’, subtract two Greenes and add a call for silence”  (from What Bloody Man is This – S1, Ep5)

Kate’s veiled view of men in general and Will in particular at the time: Patron-icing bard-starred  (from The Quality of Mercy – S1, Ep6)  &  

Mail, show, Venice, star, soul  (from Beware my Sting – S2, Ep5)

And not forgetting Kit’s question: 

“Are we allowed sweet fillings at this pie gathering metaphor?”  (from Wild Laughter in the Throat of Death – S3, Ep2)

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Favourite David Mitchell rant? 

This has to be from Upstart Crow as well, as there are so many brilliant transport rants which David, as Will, expresses so eloquently and hilariously but my favourite is the one which ends: “Finally, spake a stern and warty spinster who had paid a farthing for a double-discount cut-rate supesome-dupesome, savey-wavey, chips-and-gravy, age-concession, off-peaky-weaky, purchased in a previous life and valid only on coaches where the driver’s middle name was Gerald! I am not a soothsayer”  (from S3, Ep3 – Wild Laughter in the Throat of Death).

Your Numberwang number?  

Twentyton – has a pre-Upstart Crow ring to it!

Favourite That Mitchell and Webb Sound sketch?  

The Adrian Locket sketches – such a laidback DJ, he’s the exact opposite of most of his counterparts on the radio, which makes the character so hilarious. Sketches I could listen to over and over again and which are perfect for radio, of course.  

Do you think Andrew is really evil in Back? What do you think will happen in the end?  

I don’t think he’s evil, but I wouldn’t trust him an inch. The ending could go one way or the other – Andrew’s success with the pub marks a turning point for him and he becomes more likeable even to Stephen, or Andrew shows himself in his true colours and is exiled by the family to Stephen’s immense gain. 

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Are you more like Mark, Jez or Super Hans?  

Mark, thankfully!

Your favourite character in the entire Mitchell & Webb extended universe? 

Will Shakespeare.

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What are your Other favourite comedies and/or comedians?

Favourite comedies: Blackadder, Monty Python, Ripping Yarns, The Mighty Boosh, The IT Crowd, Father Ted, Hippies, Green Wing, The Young Ones, Bottom, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster, The Armstrong and Miller Show, Year of the Rabbit, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, Plebs, Not Only…But Also, Marty/It’s Marty, I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again (1960s radio), The Big Bang Theory etc. etc.

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Year of the Rabbit

Favourite comedians: Ben Elton, Eddie Izzard, Noel Fielding, Dylan Moran, Alexei Sayle, Rhod Gilbert and so many more, with favourite comedy actors from all the above comedies.

The twitter pages you’d love to recommend: 

@doseofdavidm

@jazzyjaney

@TheComedyBlog1

@RealDMitchell

@arobertwebb

@TimDownie1

@UpstartCrowPlay

@restorationhat

@pitchblacksteed

Your Favourite TV Shows: 

Mostly comedies, chronologically from Not Only…But Also, Marty and Monty Python’s Flying Circus to Upstart Crow and Year of the Rabbit, as well as history documentaries (on almost any era and civilisation). 

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Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Your favourite movie

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Your Favourite Book: 

Too numerous to name but in the last few years have been reading a great series by MJ Trow (The Christopher Marlowe Mystery books) written with much historical accuracy around the theory that Kit was a government spy, with his character likeable and sympathetic.

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