From around 1998 to 2009, the surreal world of the Mighty Boosh entranced audiences around the world, with Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding’s vaguely-plotted imaginative adventures taking in stage shows, albums and TV success on BBC Three.
For the last 8 years or so, though, the Boosh have been on hold – but that might not be the case forever, according to Barratt.
“There’s things to be done – there’s sort of some unfinished business I think,” the actor, who currently stars in detective comedy film Mindhorn (which he co-wrote with Boosh regular Simon Farnaby) told RadioTimes.com.
“We would probably start by touring it a bit and doing some live stuff again, because that’s how we started. Finding a way to start it again and get working together.
“I don’t want to say we’re gonna do it,” he added, “because we’ve said that before and people reported it and we never did.
“It’s a difficult one. Because it was really good and I’m really proud of it, and sometimes you think you want to leave it there and go ‘that’s it.” But there is a film that should be done, a sort of Yellow Submarine, fantastical kind of journey. Put a full stop on it, or take it into a different medium somehow.
“It’s just time and schedules and getting together. We’re both sort of up for it, but we’re kind of doing our own thing at the moment.”
Noel Fielding with Bake Off co-host Sandi Toksvig and judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith
Of course, one such sideline for his former comedy partner Fielding is landing a hosting role in Channel 4’s new version of the Great British Bake Off, a casting that threw fans of both the competitive cooking show and Fielding’s avant-garde work.
“Noel, when I was working with Noel I didn’t realise but he was so obsessed with baking,” Barratt deadpanned. “That was the thing that used to get in the way. We’d be trying to work and he’d be trying to bake and I was like ‘Why? What’s all this baking?’ But he had a deep love of baking, which I didn’t realise until recently.
“So he’s exploring that avenue for a little while. Obviously they came to me first, but I said I’m an actor. I don’t do that, y’know.”
More seriously, Barratt admitted that he hadn’t seen Bake Off but hoped Fielding would bring some of his unique style to proceedings.
“I don’t know the show, because I haven’t seen it. I miss quite major cultural signposts quite often,” Barratt told us. “There was a picture of him on the front of the paper, I thought maybe he’d got caught up in some sort of scandal.
“He’s done shows [before] where he’s himself on a panel show, so he takes his sort of weirdness and puts it in conventional formats.
“He’s good at that. I’m actually not very good at that sort of thing so good on him I say, all power to him. I think he’ll infect the mainstream with his surreal virus. He’ll be great.
“I certainly will [watch it now]!” he continued. “I mean a lot of people watch it right? I should do something. I should do some sort of show. Jazz record request.”
For now, though, Barratt is busy with Mindhorn, a pastiche of 1980s cop series that has been a labour of love for him and writing partner Faranaby for years.
“We grew up on that TV really, the heroic action detective series from the 80s,” Barratt, who plays a fading TV actor drafted in by the police to help catch one of his obsessive fans, told RadioTimes.com. “For me The Six Million Dollar Man was my touchstone, and Simon’s was Bergerac.
“We came together and decided to create a kind of bionic Bergerac, a sort of hybrid creature, a mythical creature detective from all our various influences. And we sort of amalgamated it all into this guy on the Isle of Man – because there wasn’t a detective on the Isle of Man, and we thought we needed a location that was a bit mysterious that people didn’t know much about.
“It was about 10 years ago now that we thought of it.”
And even if there is no proper return for The Mighty Boosh, Barratt says he’s hoping Mindhorn has legs for the future (to go with his all-seeing truth detector eye).
“Simon and I have lots of ideas for what could happen with him if we want to do more along the lines of what this film explored,” he said.
“But it’s sort of up to the audience really, and whether we get enough response and whether we get enough people to see it.”
Here’s hoping fans of Boosh and Bake off are out in force this weekend, then.
Mindhorn is released in UK cinemas from Friday 5th May