1. MY SILLY IDEAS ON THE TELLY
I won’t lie to you, Radio Times reader, I feel a little emotional. Although the show’s only been on air for five years, it feels like a lifetime’s work. When I write the scripts, I never quite grasp the fact that people will build sets and direct what my silly mind has come up with. When I saw four men digging a grave for me to fall into in series two – well, I was a little freaked out, actually! Being starkly confronted by something you’ve typed in your kitchen is funny, humbling and thrilling. You feel like you’ve played a practical joke.
2. THE JOY OF REHEARSALS
We rehearse for three days and there isn’t much room for mucking about, but usually someone gets the giggles at something off the cuff – worryingly often nothing to do with the scripts. Example: my dog Peggy is often in the rehearsal room and once ate a wasabi pea. Well, if I’d filmed it, I’d have a YouTube hit on my hands. (Please don’t feed your dogs a wasabi pea – even though it’s blooming funny.) I’ll really miss the constant eating. We’ve proven that all food consumed within a rehearsal room is calorie- free – we burn off so much energy with nerves. We’re all snack-obsessed. Patricia [Hodge, who plays Miranda’s mum Penny] introduced me to the chocolate-topped rice cake. Sarah [Hadland, who plays Stevie] is proud of her Victoria sponge, and Tom [Ellis, who plays Gary] provides a savoury snack. I bring nothing and eat all their stuff. It’s a system I like.
3. THE THRILL OF THE STUDIO
The studio floor is where the hard work pays off. You’re in studios where your comedy heroes performed and you’re making your own show. I feel the 12-year-old me going, “I can’t believe this!” – and, well, so is the 42-year-old me.
When I first saw the sets with “Miranda” written on the back, I freaked out and felt out of my depth. Now I burst into an excited skip (or gallop). The live studio audiences are so supportive – when I hear the first laugh, it’s a huge high. There’s nothing more rewarding than a laugh you have created.
4. THE TEENAGE FANS
I will remain shocked until the end of my days that my sitcom ended up being popular. I hope the fans won’t desert me now the show is over! I’m touched that teenagers identify with my silliness. It makes my life when I meet a young person who’s been cheered by the show and feels they’ve the right to be more themselves. That mandate for my work is truly special.
5. MY ALTER EGO
Will there ever be a better part? Miranda isn’t me. She’s an alter ego and I love playing her, but it feels like I’m getting to the stage where I’m too old. Obviously I look WAY younger than I am – I’m told around 26. Say nothing! But I don’t think Miranda could turn 40 and do the things she does. She’d become embarrassing and we might pity her. Also, if she’s going to keep falling over, there’ll come a time when the actress playing her doesn’t have the physical ability to do that! I’m possibly saying goodbye to the best part I’ll ever play. If someone could give me an acting job ASAP, I’d be most grateful.
6. MY MIRANDA FAMILY
When I wrote the show, I didn’t have anyone in mind to play the parts – apart from the naturally beautiful actress who plays Miranda, of course. But wow, couldn’t have got luckier. We’ve genuinely become the best of friends.
I even holiday with Sarah (showbiz exclusive!). We all share a love of the silly, of Strictly Come Dancing, of dogs, of food, and all believe that breaking wind is never not funny.
The director Juliet May is a close friend (also Strictly obsessed), as are producers Emma Strain and Jo Sargent, and floor manager Julie Sykes. When we all get together (forgive the potential naffness), it’s truly special. They’ve all looked after my creative baby. It’s rare to get such a tight-knit group. We’re just going to have to work together on everything else. It will have to be contractual. And cue them all running for the hills. Wait, guys, come back! RUDE.
Miranda Christmas Day 7.15pm BBC1, New Year’s Day 8.00pm, BBC1