Read Pandemonium cast interviews

Read Pandemonium cast interviews. With family morale at an all-time low, the Jessops decide they’re going to have their summer holiday after all, even if it means doing it in October. In Margate. All filmed by their youngest son, Pandemonium charts the Jessops last, dogged attempt at some quality family time in 2020, despite the best efforts of a global pandemic to pull them apart.

Pandemonium, a 30 minute, BBC Studios production for BBC One written by Tom Basden. It was commissioned by Kate Phillips, Acting Controller BBC One and Shane Allen, Controller Comedy Commissioning. The Executive Producer is Josh Cole. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Gregor Sharp.

Cast includes: Amy-Jessop (Freya Parks), Paul Jessop (Jim Howick, Robin (Tom Basden), Sue Jessop (Alison Steadman), Sam-Jessop (Jack Christou), Rachel Jessop (Katherine Parkinson)

Interview with Katherine Parkinson

Rachel Jessop (Katherine Parkinson) cast member of Pandemonium
Rachel Jessop (Katherine Parkinson)

Character Overview – Rachel Jessop

A positive problem-solver, Rachel is hellbent on finding ways for the family to enjoy 2020, even when their plans have been totally trashed by the Coronavirus. Taking it upon herself to prop up the family finances and her husband Paul’s self-esteem, Rachel goes to extreme and increasingly risky lengths to hold things together and give them the holiday she promised.

Can you give us an overview of the story?

Pandemonium follows a family over the last year who have to change their plans for a holiday of a lifetime to California.

What drew you to Pandemonium?

I was drawn to the script because it was Tom Basden writing, and also because I think it is extremely timely and will resonate hugely with everyone.

How do you relate to the Jessop family and your character Rachel?

I especially relate to Rachel’s passion for the van Tulleken twins.

Do you have any favourite moments from filming?

My most memorable moment was jumping in the freezing Margate sea. I actually quite enjoyed it in the end but never again.

There’s so much to watch over Christmas. Give us one really good reason Pandemonium should stand out as one to watch?

Pandemonium is what we’ve all been through the last few months, and I hope it presents the funny side to what has been a testing time for us all.

Interview with Jim Howick

Paul Jessop (Jim Howick) cast member of Pandemonium
Paul Jessop (Jim Howick)

Character overview – Paul Jessop

Despite his best efforts to project confidence, Rachel’s husband Paul is a fairly insecure soul, prone to overthinking things and occasional defeatism. Always harking back to his glory days as an Olympic Archer in his 20s to bolster his ego, Paul takes himself very seriously – even if the rest of the family find him quite ridiculous.

What drew you to Pandemonium?

Firstly, the script. I love Tom’s work, always funny and smart and secondly, the concept. I really liked the idea of being in a family sitcom, shot via the eye of a home video.

Can you talk about your character Paul? Does he change throughout the episode?

Paul is an ex Olympic archer at a loose end because his archery school has closed due to Covid. He is a man who still lives off his former (almost) glory and is ridiculed by his family on a daily basis. He’s also addicted to fudge.

What was it like working with Katherine and the other cast?

Katherine is a dream sitcom wife. She’s incredibly funny and very nice. The other members of the family are very nice and very good too. It was a playful week full of delicious corpsing.

Do you have any favourite moments from filming?

We had to film in a car on the back of a low loader (a trailer thing on the back of actual car, actually being driven). That was fun. We had to make up car games and improvise songs. We went quite a way up the M1, after a while you forget you’re being towed. That is until Katherine takes her hands off the wheel and everyone’s terrified for a second.

There’s so much to watch over Christmas. Give us one really good reason Pandemonium should stand out as one to watch?

It’s a good old-fashioned funny family sitcom but the concept is cool and makes it feel modern and real. Almost like a documentary. So, it actually offers something completely different. Modern Family meets Blair Witch!

Interview with Alison Steadman

Sue Jessop (Alison Steadman)
Sue Jessop (Alison Steadman)

Character Overview – Sue Jessop

Paul’s blunt and buoyant mother, Sue takes a very cavalier attitude towards the Coronavirus and is constantly breaking the rules to come over and check up on the family. Despite her apparent conservatism, Sue is in fact open-minded and playful and has a wild past that she rarely talks about.

What drew you to the project?

Tom (Basden) is a great writer, gentle funny and very witty. I loved filming Pandemonium. Great writing, subtle humour and loved the team. Also, I admire Katherine Parkinson and Jim Howick.

What can you tell us about your character? Did you relate to Sue at all?

I’m a million miles from the character of Sue, thank goodness. It was great to be playing a Liverpool character though, I’ve rarely done that.

Do you have any favourite moments from filming?

I loved being in Kent, although it was freezing weather. Didn’t know about Reculver Towers and the Roman Fort which was good to learn. We had some free moments of improvising too, I loved that, even if it isn’t used.

Interview with Tom Basden, writer

Robin (Tom Basden)
Robin (Tom Basden)

Character overview – Robin Hankey

An intense and occasionally manic presence, Robin tries to spend all of his time with his sister Rachel’s family when he can (including holidays) and has no idea when he might be outstaying his welcome. When we first meet him in February, he’s on cloud nine – preparing for his summer wedding to Cherry – but in October, he’s morose and self-destructive and a terrible holiday companion.

What inspired you to write Pandemonium?

I’d wanted to write a sitcom about a family going on holiday for some time, as I think there’s something really funny and high stakes about people under pressure to have a good time together, and the stress and anger this tends to produce instead.

Seeing the extreme lengths families were going to this year (including my own) to have any kind of holiday during the pandemic, I realised how essential these moments of escape were for us and wanted to celebrate the hope and desperation that compelled families to make the best out of a terrible situation.

Growing up, I was a big fan of the National Lampoons Vacation films, and I wanted to capture some of that warmth and chaos that comes from a group of people with very different attitudes, all bundled together and unleashed upon the world.

Tell us how Pandemonium was filmed.

The show is all shot by Sam, the youngest son, on his video camera or on a few little cameras he’s fitted around the place, so it’s effectively a home movie. My Grandad used to film our holidays to Cornwall when I was a kid and his videos were often very funny by accident, because he’d capture things that were embarrassing or ridiculous despite setting out to make the family look happy and harmonious. I also liked the idea of a family talking to the camera and being aware that they were being filmed as it puts them under even more pressure to project positivity while everything is going wrong around them.

Did you have any particularly memorable moments from filming?

We recreated the clap for the NHS in a street in Mill Hill (in November) and loads of the neighbours came out their houses to be part of it. Kids were running home from school in their uniforms and quickly getting changed to then come and be part of the clap which was really lovely. It was quite odd and moving to be transported into the early part of this year – which now feels like about five years ago. I also had to jump in the sea in late November which is memorable for the wrong reasons.

What is your character Robin like? Do you have a favourite character?

Robin is a bit of a mess. At the start of the year he’s manically excited about his upcoming wedding to Cherry, but then in October he’s miserable and self-destructive after the wedding plans change. Playing both sides of a character like that was great fun and the scenes with Cherry, played by Tori Allen-Martin, were some of my favourites. I’m not going to pick a favourite character – that’s famously bad parenting.

If someone asked you what other TV is Pandemonium like, what would you say?

I’d probably tell them to watch it and then work that out after. My aim was to make something that felt real and recognisable, so I hope it’s got the tone of sitcom classics like The Office or Outnumbered, with some of the warmth of Gavin And Stacey, and even though it looks pretty different, something like The Simpsons. And it’s full of things that happened to us this year so, in another sense, it’s a bit like the News.

Interview with Jack Christou

Sam Jessop (Jack Christou)
Sam Jessop (Jack Christou)

Character overview – Sam Jessop

Youngest son Sam is the self-appointed director of the Jessop family’s home movies, although he does occasionally like to offer his opinions or make observations that the others have missed. Extremely calm under pressure and no-nonsense, Sam is very much the emotional detached documentary maker.

Can you tell us about your character and his relationships in Pandemonium?

Sam is the youngest sibling in the Jessop family. He has one older sister, Amy, who he loves to annoy and embarrass but loves her almost as a best friend. The house is ran by his mum who he has a great relationship with (he’s a momma’s boy) but spends most of his time messing around with his dad on his hobbies and interests. He loves his nan but thinks she’s barmy and is always thankful for when she slips him 20 quid. And uncle Robin is just Uncle Robin.

Can you talk about how Pandemonium is filmed?

The show is all filmed from Sam’s perspective. He takes it upon himself to film the family as a project of his and Pandemonium is the documentary that is the outcome.

Do you have any favourite moments from filming?

My favourite moments of filming were all of the parts where we shot as a whole family. I loved the dynamic of all of us together as we all bounced off each other like clockwork. It was so fun and VERY hard to keep a straight face.

There’s so much to watch over Christmas. Give us one really good reason Pandemonium should stand out as one to watch?

It’s a very interesting and exciting way that we filmed the show. And it is absolutely hilarious! Who doesn’t need a laugh during these treacherous times…

Interview with Freya Parks

Amy Jessop (Freya Parks)
Amy Jessop (Freya Parks)

Character overview – Amy Jessop

Judgemental but deeply fickle, the Jessop’s eldest daughter Amy is unimpressed by almost everything, no matter how gushing her social feeds may be. She has a dry humour and winning irreverence and her favourite pastime is teasing her long-suffering dad.

What is Pandemonium about?

It’s about a family who are determined to have their big family summer holiday despite a global pandemic.

Can you tell us about your character Amy and her relationships in Pandemonium?

Amy is the daughter of the family. She’d much rather be hanging out with her girlfriend, Maya, at Uni, or be burying herself in the world of Instagram, than suffer life with her parents who are desperately trying to make the best of what is a very bad situation.

Was there a standout moment during filming?

I don’t want to give too much away but we all bonded a lot during the filming of one particular scene by the sea on the South East coast of England. In October. We were hoping for more of a Californian climate!

There’s so much to watch over Christmas. Give us one really good reason Pandemonium should stand out as one to watch?

We are all sick and tired of Covid and the hokey cokey lockdowns being the new normal, but having all gone through it together, Pandemonium will give some comic relief to the chaos we have all endured. There’ll be something for every member of the family to relate to.

Interview with Tori Allen-Martin 

Character – Cherry Lee-Dixon

Robin’s high-maintenance fiancé Cherry has high expectations and is often disappointed by Robin’s poor attempts to meet them. Utterly certain of her own opinions and partial to a good conspiracy theory, Cherry is blissfully un-self-aware and superbly blunt.

Your character Cherry is the fiancé of Robin, can you tell us about Cherry and Robin’s relationship?

It’s not what I’d wish for myself… or for anyone I love for that matter, let’s put it that way! Robin idolises Cherry, which is absolutely lovely, but I think it becomes a bit suffocating. I think Cherry is just desperate for Robin to be better! I think he maybe gave it the big guns in the beginning, and she thought he had a bit more swag to him than he actually does.

I think she’s desperate for him to get it right and sweep her off her feet, but he keeps getting it wrong and the more he desperate he is to please her, the more repulsed she becomes – it’s pretty toxic. But that makes for a very funny dynamic, in the right hands and Tom is definitely the right hands, he’s expertly manoeuvered his way around something that could be otherwise pretty bleak!

What was it like to work with your fellow cast?

It was an actual dream. I know people always say that, but it really was, particularly in such a difficult year. My crush on Alison Steadman is different gear, and when I heard the line-up and knew I’d be working with not only Alison, but also Katherine, Jim and Tom I couldn’t believe my luck. They’re comedy legends and such experts at what they do -it was a pleasure and a privilege, honestly. And Mica, Freya and Jack are such exciting new talent too and we were instantly giggling with each other – the job was so quick, but we bonded super quickly and it feels like I’ve known them a lot longer than I have.

It’s just a joy to be in a room with people who throw new choices at you all the time, I was constantly on my toes because all of them would pull some genius move out the bag when I least expected it and that’s such an exciting way to work – add into that the fact that we’ve been missing human connection for the majority of this year -I can’t tell you how lucky I felt. I felt supported, excited, there was so much to learn from them and they’re just very lovely, very funny people – it’s the kind of job and cast you dream of, honestly. I feel so lucky to have been a part of it. Never meet your heroes unless they’re anyone in this cast basically – because they do NOT disappoint.

Was there a standout moment during filming?

I mean most of it. We did do a scene in the garden where I had a stiletto heel on and I had fully sunk into the mud, I was honestly stuck. If there’d been a need to run, I would’ve just been resigned to my fate – I wasn’t going anywhere. Tom was fully aware of the situation too, so that was quite funny – trying to treat that as normal. I think as well, a scene we’re all in together, sat around the table and the ad-libs and choices coming out made it impossible to keep a straight face. Jim has a milk moustache at one point when I least expected it and I very nearly lost it.

There’s so much to watch over Christmas. Give us one really good reason Pandemonium should stand out as one to watch?

It’s a nod to this unforgettable (for all the wrong reasons) year that we’ve all been through in the most lighthearted, relatable, authentic, hilarious way. Us Brits are good at laughing at ourselves and Pandemonium allows us to do that to this messy year. We all know how difficult it’s been, but in a laugh or cry scenario, this is definitely a knowing laugh and a big warm hug – Pandemonium lets us all in on the joke and it’s a really good feeling.

Interview with Mica Ricketts

Character Overview – Maya Hughes

Easy-going and bright, Amy’s girlfriend Maya is a relaxed, good-humoured honorary family member. Perceptive enough to see through other people’s bravado, Maya is able to find the fun in the bleakest of situations.

Can you talk about your character Maya and her relationship with the Jessop family?

Maya is Amy Jessop’s best friend and lover. She very much feels like part of the family, having been friends with Amy since childhood. She is highly entertained by the different characters within the household and tends to especially enjoy when Paul teases or embarrasses Amy.

What was it like to work with your fellow cast?

It was amazing working with this cast. So much talent and fantastic personalities that made rehearsing the scenes really funny and hugely productive. Everyone just threw themselves into the script and there was a really easy comfortability between us all that made the relationships so much easier to create on screen.

Was there a standout moment during filming?

The standout moment for me was the first full cast read through, where we all met for the first time and I could finally visualise the scenes and characters coming to life. It’s like everything was starting to come together and it was really exciting!

What can the audience expect from Pandemonium?

The audience can expect a thoroughly entertaining show – hugely relatable – and some much-welcomed comedy as we come to the end of a really difficult year!

There’s so much to watch over Christmas. Give us one really good reason Pandemonium should stand out as one to watch?

Pandemonium should stand out because of its originality. I think it’s amazing how this show has created a great show with a really positive and uplifting energy, amazing writing and vibrant characters – out of what has been such a difficult and trying year. To find light in the midst of all the pain and heartache of this year is important – There’s simply nothing else like it!

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