Siblings star Charlotte Ritchie: I love playing unlikeable characters
The 24-year-old sits down with RadioTimes.com to talk Siblings, Fresh Meat series four and why women are seen as less funny than men
Fresh Meat star Charlotte Ritchie plays an entirely unlikeable character in new sitcom Siblings. She literally has no redeeming qualities. And Ritchie couldn’t be more thrilled.
“I know other actors who don’t like playing characters people don’t like, but I love it,” she tells RadioTimes.com. “It’s boring to watch someone who is too likeable.”
24-year-old Ritchie, whom you probably know as Oregon in hit Channel 4 comedy Fresh Meat, stars as Hannah, opposite Tom Stourton as the other half of the Siblings duo, Dan.
The sitcom follows the brother and sister as they navigate life in their twenties. Mainly by just wrecking the lives of those unlucky enough to come into contact with them.
Ritchie describes her character as “unforgiving, selfish, loud and obnoxious. Desperate to get her own way and have loads of fun,” while Dan is “not at all self-aware and just really desperate to make friends.”
The dynamic between siblings is something Ritchie knows a lot about. She also writes and performs in a band with her brother Luke. And they have working relationship that, she says, isn’t so very different from Hannah and Dan’s.
“It’s the same sort of rude bluntness. They have the same sense of humour, and my brother and I have exactly the same sense of humour, which makes working really fun. You can’t get anything done if everything’s really serious.”
When it comes to Siblings, though, Hannah and Dan don't really achieve anything. “They just mess everything up each time. It’s a disaster. The final episode is a disaster beyond … it’s just awful,” Ritchie cringes.
To play such a self-obsessed, rude and obnoxious character must be a stretch for Ritchie, who in reality is none of those things, and is instead warm and witty.
“When I was younger I was always worried that I would only play quiet, retiring characters, but no one ever gave me a shy character. I was really happy to play someone like Hannah - it's fun to be someone like that. Like, as a joke. Not in real life…
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“It’s completely different from how I would interact socially,” she admits. “I do care what people think - maybe too much - but I’d rather do that than be somebody who just pushes everybody away because they’re an awful person!”
The role Ritchie is currently best known for (that could be all about to change when she joins the cast of Call the Midwife next year) is insecure and naive uni student Oregon in Fresh Meat.
“I loved playing Oregon and it was also the first part I ever had, so I feel really emotionally attached to it. I started with a huge amount of me in it. I just sort of did everything that I thought would be vaguely funny and real, and then later decided who she was.”
Due to the cast’s commitments there are currently no plans to make a fourth series of the show. But Fresh Meat hasn’t officially ended - and Ritchie would welcome a return to those grubby student digs: “Totally. I’ve never had a bad day on that show.”
Her experiences of comedy so far – she also starred in comedy film Benny & Jolene earlier this year - have all been positive. But she does get fed up when people say that women aren’t as funny as men.
“It’s true. Having, like, breasts and a vagina, it affects your brain, it makes you less funny," she quips.
“It makes me so angry. It’s so clear why more women aren’t in comedy. It’s not that they’re not funny, it’s that historically women have been seen as sweet, and innocent and quiet.
“Comedy is about being unattractive, being rude, being sarcastic, being uncouth and being really clever and outspoken sometimes. And that just hasn’t been something that people have connected with the image of femininity.
"The more we move away from strict ideas of femininity and masculinity, then the more equal it things will become in comedy."
Siblings starts tonight at 10:30pm on BBC3