Lee Mack nearly pulled the plug on sitcom Not Going Out in a row about his work “being used to sell booze”.
The comedian, who is currently holed up in his shed writing series nine, put his foot down while he was working on the most recent series after becoming concerned about what was being promoted in the ad breaks when it was shown on UKTV/Dave.
“We make it on the BBC but then it ends up on commercial channels and is heavily sponsored by beer,” Mack says in the new issue of Radio Times.
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“This is my life. I spend ten months a year doing this, and suddenly I feel like I’m a brewer’s marketing department, and my work is being used to sell booze. I said, unless that stops, we’re not going to make any more.
“But it became complex. It turned out we were contractually obliged. So I said, ‘All right, we’ll move on. We’ll change the name of the show, we’ll make a new one.'”
Would he actually have walked away?
“Yes. But then Dave relented.”
The son of two publicans, Mack himself stopped drinking a year and a half ago. He is now an ambassador for the charity Alcohol Concern.
“I just decided to pack it in,” he explains. “I don’t miss it at all. It’s funny, because when you tell people you’ve stopped drinking, there’s an automatic reaction. People ask, ‘Was it a lifestyle choice or were you waking up in a skip?'”
But the comedian says it wasn’t to do with skips; he was a “normal” drinker who “just got fed up with the overkill of it in society, the way it’s thrust down our throats.”
He adds: “I’m not opposed to the consumption of alcohol. I’m opposed to my kids watching TV at seven o’clock and being told to bet and drink.”
Read the full interview with Lee Mack in Radio Times magazine, on sale from Tuesday