Stephen Mangan on his new show Bliss – and why Green Wing didn’t win more awards

The actor's new Sky 1 comedy sees him playing a man struggling to conceal a double life

Stephen Mangan, Bliss (Sky, EH)

What have you been watching?


I loved Stranger Things and Blue Planet II. Strictly, too, but I wouldn’t go on it because nobody needs to see me in a pair of tight trousers with a shaved chest. I’ll also tell you what I haven’t been watching…

That’s the opposite of what this column is for, but go on…

I agreed to go on the Game of Thrones discussion show Thronecast but I hadn’t actually seen any of it. Then I realised the fans are so fanatical they’d tear me limb from limb, so I sat down and watched hours of it for two weeks – I took notes, did family trees. It was like doing an A-level.

In your comedy Bliss your character leads a double life with two families. That also sounds like hard work…

It must be an absolute nightmare. I’ve got one family and even that’s brought me to the edge of exhaustion. My character ends up in this ridiculous situation through a cowardly niceness and not fessing up to things. You can relate to him because he just keeps putting off that moment of reckoning, which we all do in our lives all the time.

Your character is a travel writer – what would you have been if not an actor?

I did a law degree but I wasn’t ever really going to go down that route. I just played a barrister and I’m very glad I went to work down the glitter mine.

How do you relax?

One of the great joys of having kids is reading to them. I have three [ten, seven and nearly two] and my wife [actress Louise Delamere] is going to keep having kids so I can keep doing my silly voices. The most shameful thing I ever did was when I was in a play and my eldest was very young. As he was falling asleep I’d put on an audiobook of Tamsin Greig and me reading fairy stories. He thought every story started with “Read by Stephen Mangan”.

Would you and Tamsin ever do more Green Wing?

Maybe in five years we’ll be desperate for the money… It’ll always be one of the things I’m most proud of. It didn’t really win any awards because Little Britain was out at the same time. That won everything. David Walliams would just keep coming down from the podium holding his award and flick us the Vs.

Do you and Matt LeBlanc keep in touch after Episodes?

He’s over here a lot because of that under-the-radar car show he does. We phone each other. It’s nice to see he’s got a career. I’m going to miss doing Episodes. I’d watched Friends so, so many times and to be in a room with him felt odd. And then I realised he’s just as much of an idiot as the rest of us.


Bliss is on Wednesdays at 10pm on Sky 1