Fleabag’s Sian Clifford says Phoebe Waller-Bridge didn’t want to make season 2 – but ‘I encouraged her’

The spectacular second series almost didn't happen.

Sian-Clifford

Fans rejoiced as the much-loved BBC comedy drama Fleabag returned for a second series last year, almost three years after the show first aired in 2016.

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However, according to actress Sian Clifford – who plays Claire on the show – filming almost didn’t go ahead at all.

During a discussion at the Virgin Media BAFTAs pre-ceremony, Sian revealed writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge was “reluctant” to write another series.

So much so, she had to encourage her.

“When were round that table with our gang plus Andrew Scott, it was a really amazing feeling and I loved it! Absolutely amazing. I was one of the people who were encouraging a very reluctant Phoebe to even make a second series. She didn’t want to do it,” she told press including RadioTimes.com.

She continued: “Lucky for her, our producers gave her time and space. She just said, ‘I’m not doing it unless I have a good enough idea.’ She waited and she was able to buy some time because she had another project on. Not everyone is afforded that privilege but they let her do that and I think the project benefitted from that.”

And it’s not just the script which improved with the time off, as Sian says she gained more “confidence” during the break.

“We all benefitted from it because we all went off and learnt about ourselves,” she said.

“I was definitely a better actor when I came back. We’d grown. There was definitely more confidence and that’s to do with finding the actor I was pre-drama school.”

Fleabag
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sian Clifford and Olivia Colman in Fleabag

So what was it like returning to her role as Claire after so long?

“It was amazing. It’s like putting on a pair of comfy jeans. I love playing Claire and I miss her. It was so thrilling to come back because there were three years basically between series one and two, so we were so excited to see everyone again,” Sian gushed.

Despite falling in love with the part, Sian – who has received a  BAFTA TV Award nomination for Best Female Comedy Performance for her role as Claire – says she’s learnt to accept that the show has now come to a natural end.

“I fully accept that it’s over and the story is complete, but the character was written for me,” she said.

“Phoebe tapped into something that I was just able to have so much fun with and just that dynamic between us that we could play into. We are like sisters – that is out friendship. But we’re not like those sisters!”

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The Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards will air on Friday 31st July from 7pm on BBC One. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.