Q&A: Simon Bird

The Inbetweener on looking like Rick Moranis...

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Which TV series would you take to a desert island?

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Probably something with Bear Grylls – I like to be prepared. But if I swot up on all that before I leave, I’d probably take The Office, which I’ve already watched about a hundred times but I don’t see myself ever getting tired of.

What’s your guilty TV pleasure?

Well, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still watch Neighbours… that’s pretty embarrassing isn’t it? Also, I’ve got a soft spot for Prime Minister’s Questions on Parliament, weirdly. It’s timeless and elemental, one man against another, a fight to the death. A lot of people say they don’t really care about politics and that it’s all meaningless. I don’t agree. I think everybody should watch what’s going on in the news.

Who was the last person you changed channels to avoid?

Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear. I’m not really into cars… or 1970s values. Also, I don’t have much time for John McCririck and the horse racing. I don’t understand why horse racing is still on TV in 2011. It’s incredibly boring.

How much would it take to lure you onto something like I’m a Celebrity… or Strictly Come Dancing?

Oh goodness, you never want to think that you can be bought in that way, but the fact of the matter is everyone has a price. Get me seven figures and then we’ll talk, although I think I would steer clear of I’m a Celebrity… for a few years yet anyway. The shows I like are MasterChef and The Apprentice, both of which I would be absolutely awful on, so I don’t think I would go on them, either. It would just be incredibly humiliating.

When did you last shout at the radio or TV?

Those adverts where the school of thought seems to be “let’s devise the most irritating piece of television possible” annoy me a lot. It’s usually the ones where a man’s screaming the name of the product at the top of his voice again and again. I’m sure everyone knows which ones I’m talking about.

Were your school days anything like those of your character, Will, in The Inbetweeners, or were you much cooler than that?

There were many people cooler than me, and many people less cool. I think the show was so successful because a lot of people could relate to it – everyone feels like they’re an inbetweener when they’re at school, don’t they? That was definitely the experience I had. It’s a show about being ordinary.

The things that happened to the characters in the programme aren’t entirely ordinary though…

That’s fair, although I think what people often don’t believe about the show is that a lot of the stories, from the first two series especially, are true and really happened to Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, who wrote the TV show and film. But thinking about it, they maybe aren’t the most ordinary people you could ever meet.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Well, I can’t see a film of my life securing funding from one of the major film studios, so it would be more of an independent film, with a small budget and an actor down on his luck a bit – Wesley Snipes, maybe?

The resemblance is striking…

I often get asked which famous person I most look like. Usually people say Rick Moranis from Honey I Shrunk the Kids. That’s quite a depressing thing to hear, but I guess he’s another possibility.

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The Inbetweeners Top Ten Moments is at 10pm on Sunday on E4 and 10.25pm on Friday on C4; The Inbetweeners Movie is in cinemas from Wednesday 17 August.