Mathew Baynton enjoys a loyal following among comedy fans for his work on Horrible Histories, Yonderland and The Wrong Mans.
The latter, an absurdist crime caper he made with James Corden for the BBC, has come to an end after two series –for creative reasons, yes, but also because Corden has now become a huge star in the US as the five-nights-a-week presenter of The Late Late Show.
“Even if we wanted to do more Wrong Mans, there wouldn’t be an opportunity to,” says Baynton. “So I kind of see that as a good thing in a way because it means we can’t be tempted into going back to it and possibly diluting it. As a concept it had two series and probably not much more as it starts to wear thin as a premise. Because we were proud of what we did, so we will both be moving on to other things.”
Is he at all surprised by Corden’s success in the US? After all, there must have been some doubts about whether he would crack it after the high profile fall of another Brit, the former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan….
“I don’t want to go into that but I think there’s a difference between them,” he says with a laugh.
“It’s no surprise to me. I think that’s a gig which would allow him to do the multifarious things, harness his many talents into one show. He’s at home in that.”
Finishing The Wrong Mans hasn’t heralded the end of the world. Well, not for Mat Baynton personally. But it’s a different matter for his new character: a hapless chap called Jamie who discovers on one awful day in his hometown of Slough that not only does he have a twin brother who has been committing cyber crime around the world, but that the police think he is the guilty party based on what appears to be conclusive DNA evidence.
Oh, and an incoming asteroid will see herald the obliteration of the world in 34 days.
“It’s so bold as a script,” enthuses Baynton. “It never holds back on doing the biggest and bolshiest. The hook is a bunch of guys in a bunker, how did they get there? It takes stories from all over the world and weaves them together, It’s really ambitious. It’s really tightly plotted, there are several stories going on concurrently.”
Indeed there are. There is his mum, played by Pauline Quirke, and Rob Lowe’s swearing, chain-smoking Roman Catholic priest Father Jude who doesn’t necessarily believe in God and a plotline set in a US women’s prison. Paterson Joseph, who will be appearing alongside Baynton at this weekend’s Radio Times Festival, plays a US military man with a lot on his plate.
Baynton also has a lot on. He is currently writing a third series of Sky 1 comedy Yonderland and is hopeful that You, Me and the Apocalypse will survive beyond a first series.
Which leaves only one question: what would he do if the end of the world actually happened for real?
“I would round my family up and see if I can persuade them to be in one place together,” he reflects.
“The trouble comes from the fact that it’s a bit like Christmas when you decide where to go for with your partner. Would we go to my parents or your parents? You have got to make a choice. I could imagine the end of the world getting to a point where everybody is really offended about who everyone is choosing to be with.
“It’s a miserable time anyway. But it’s made more miserable by that fact that people will be going ‘why aren’t you staying with me? Why are you choosing to be with your mum?’ I imagine the end of the world would be just a round of bickering.”
You, Me and the Apocalypse will air on Sky 1 on Wednesday September 30th at 9pm