Can you describe the Moran domestic viewing arrangements?
I have two teenage girls and we all pile onto the sofa together, with me in the middle as some kind of buffer/No Man’s Land to try and minimise the amount of “Mum, her leg’s touching me!’ “Mum, she’s breathing on me!” “Mum, she’s got more of the blanket than me!”
Why aren’t the girls upstairs on their phones?
I encourage the tussling. I believe it’s half the telly and half the fighting that tempts them to join us in front of the TV. Otherwise they’d be upstairs playing Sims or Facetiming friends. Our communal shows are Great British Bake Off, First Dates, Gogglebox, The Apprentice, The Last Leg, Would I Lie to You?, The Island with Bear Grylls, The Hunted and Educating Essex/Yorkshire. On Netflix/cable, we’re munching our way through RuPaul’s Drag Race, Black Books, The IT Crowd. We like comedy, survivalism, sociological studies with a preponderance towards working-class life and drag queens. That’s what bonds our family.
That’s a whole new definition of family entertainment…
I love being in the middle of siblings arguing. That itchy feeling, where you just want to wrestle a sibling to the ground then have them sit on your head. It’s how I was raised, with my seven siblings. Puppies in a basket, good-naturedly fighting. Happiness.
Your sitcom Raised by Wolves was based on your childhood. What’s it like seeing your teenage self on screen?
The audition was the weirdest – suddenly seeing a room full of fat sex-obsessed brunette extroverts wanting to play my character, Germaine. It was a bit like Being John Malkovich.
Channel 4 cancelled the show – now you’re trying to crowdfund it for £320,000! For one show?! That’s £10,666 a minute…
I know, right? I couldn’t believe it when we first started working in TV, and found out how much it is. It’s like when I first started writing books – I’d always figured that, because they took me a day to read, they’d take a day to write.
Are you nearly there?
We’ve got over 3,000 people backing us and about £160,000 in the pot. If we were shooting one of those Alan Bennett things, where it’s just Patricia Routledge on a sofa, we’d be there. But we’re not, so JOIN US!
Telly used to be full of sitcoms with working class characters like Till Death Us Do Part, Steptoe and Son. What happened?
As someone brought up in an ex-mining family on a council estate, it was observable that, in the 1980s, there was such a deliberate, systematic attack on the working classes that it became increasingly hard to write mainstream comedy from that place.
Comedy needs your characters’ lives to stay static – they have to be trapped in a frustrating box they can never get out of. But there was such a terrible decline in the lives of the working classes – which continues now – that there was no stable box to write from.
Surprise us with a show you like?
Gardeners’ World is now on its winter hiatus, but that’s my safe place. Monty Don, still melancholy about his box blight, making a topiary dog, scything his borage, and striding around the Jewel Garden in his shabby blue jacket. I’m a garden nerd. I sit there going, “I DON’T NEED THE CAPTION – THAT’S CLEARLY A SNAKE’S HEAD FRITILLARY!”
Is gardening the new baking?
Much as I like my bare minimum of 15 meals/snacks a day, gardening is a far superior art.