Miranda Hart’s hit BBC1 sitcom returns on Christmas Day for the first of two final episodes. Fans were distraught when Hart announced she’d be retiring her clumsy alter ego last month. Almost as much as the cast themselves.
“We were all very sad, including Miranda,” says Sarah Hadland, when we catch up with her after filming wraps on the final episode. “We did the second episode last night in front of a studio audience. It was extremely sad and there were a lot of tears. It was very, very emotional.”
Not that it came as a shock to the cast: “I knew she was wanting to do two episodes. I think we always knew that there would be quite a big break between series three and the Christmas specials. And she gave us a heads up – we had a rough idea of the storylines.”
Storylines, which unfortunately for her character Stevie, didn’t quite go as Hadland had planned.
“Erm, well, yes, it was to marry George Clooney but then he married you know this sort of stunning, top UN-lawyer, super-human and it’s really unfortunate,” says Hadland, deadpan. “I’d heard Clooney was coming over and doing Downton, I thought, ‘Perfect. He can pop over to the BBC and marry Stevie.’ But no. Not available. Already married.”
“Then of course Brad married Angelina, Ryan Gosling had a baby with Eva Mendes. The three guys I was lining up are all off the market so that kind of scuppered me really. There was no one else that I could possibility think of so that was a bit disappointing.”
When it comes to how Hart has actually ended the drama, don’t expect it to be overly festive – “Christmas doesn’t really come into it. It’s more about the story” – but do expect some shocks and surprises.
“Quite a few,” says Hadland. “I read it all, ringing her in between and going, ‘Reaaaaally? Is that what’s going to happen?!’
Hadland is biting her tongue about whether we’ll get a truly happy ending: “I can’t say, I’m afraid. Not at liberty to say.”
But she’ll tease that “there are a lot of ups and downs” in the final two instalments.
“There’s certainly a lot going on. I think she’s written two really fantastic episodes,” she says, adding: “There’s a lot of drama, as well as lots of things that hopefully the fans will want to see. It’s really hard not to say anything about what happens! But I think they are really great episodes. She’s done an amazing job again.”
And while fans might lament Miranda Hart’s decision to return with two brilliant episodes before ending the sitcom for good, Hadland is sure she’s making the right call.
“I think she’s made the right choice. She wanted to leave it on a high rather than keep going and keep going with the quality being watered down,” says Hadland. “She wanted to maintain that standard – it’s a show that she cares about so much she could never not give it 100% so I think she’s done the right thing and it’s bought everything together at the end. She’s finished the story.”
Miranda returns on Christmas Day at 7:15pm on BBC1