Miles Jupp on guest-starring in The Durrells and why the news depresses him

The News Quiz host knows it's his job to find the headlines funny – but it's not always easy

The Durrells Miles Jupp plays Basil

Miles Jupp, the host of Radio 4’s The News Quiz and new guest-star in ITV’s The Durrells, discusses mistaken identity and his plummy accent…

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What is the view from your sofa?

We don’t have a TV in our sitting room so the view from my sofa is just pictures on the wall. It’s pretty conventional – no hot tub or leopard-skin cocktail bar, which will surprise people. The kids [he has five] watch the TV in the loft.

What, in the dark, alongside the Christmas decorations?

No, I thought it prudent to have it converted first, so they can lie up there on beanbags watching telly. My wife and I try to watch a bit with them, like Scooby-Doo and The Pink Panther, but we tell the children TV is a treat not a right. And I’m going to have to give up watching at home altogether if I have to sit on a beanbag again…

What TV do you watch without the kids?

Things like The Wire, which was so good I’m watching it again. It’s the best thing I’ve seen on telly. Apart from The Durrells, obviously, with which there’s very little crossover.

You’re in the new series and filmed in Corfu. Sounds hellish…

Indeed. It was my first time in Greece and Corfu is one of the nicest places I’ve visited. Danilia, where we filmed, was glorious.

Were you OK working with the animals on set?

I’m good with animals, unless it’s something of an unknown quantity. Like the vulture we filmed with – I was fine until someone said, “It can tear the skin from your hand in two seconds.”

The Durrells on the sea

When you’re away, do you watch TV on an iPad?

Huge amounts. The fact you can download Netflix shows onto your iPad is one of the great technological feats. Being able to walk around with hours and hours of telly in your bag is astonishing.

Any favourites?

I’m watching Manhunt, which is the story of the FBI’s hunt for the Unabomber. You know who did it from the outset, and that he gets caught, but it’s fascinating how they unravel it, working from the outside to the middle. As one does with cutlery.

You host The News Quiz on Radio 4 – do you find it tough to laugh at the news?

Well it’s our job to, but I must admit the news is very depressing in terms of its content but also in its ever-presence.

Which newsreaders make it more bearable for you?

I’m loyal to the Radio 4 newsreaders who’ve been on our quiz, huge swathes of whom I’ve had the pleasure of getting drunk with.

Does your distinctive plummy accent get you recognised often?

Yes. I once called the police at 1am after spotting burglars in our street. Soon a squad car arrived and the officer jumped out, and as soon as I opened my mouth, he said, “Heyyy, it’s Archie the inventor!” [Jupp’s character in children’s show Balamory].

Do you get mistaken for anyone?

No, but increasingly people refer to me as Giles Mupp. I’m starting to worry that Giles Mupp is an actual comedian who’s far more popular than me.

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Miles Jupp guest-stars in The Durrells, on Sunday at 8pm on ITV