Mat Baynton: The Wrong Mans had its own “Sherlock problem”

It may not have a falling Benedict Cumberbatch, but the Wrong Mans series 2 had its own cliffhanger problems to solve, explains its co-creator

James Corden and Mat Baynton’s comedy thriller The Wrong Mans returns tonight, having ended series one with hapless council workers Phil and Sam thwarting a conspiracy only to sit on top of a car bomb with the clock ticking down.

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It was quite a tricky situation for our heroes to get out of, but not to worry – the two writer/actors had the cliffhanger-solving expertise of another BBC series to inspire them, starring a certain Baker Street detective.

Speaking a few weeks ago at a screening of the first new episode, Baynton said:

“[The cliffhanger] was our version of the Sherlock problem, really… we came up with the bomb as the twist, and we had to work out where to go after that!”

And talking to RadioTimes.com, Baynton elaborated upon the reasoning behind the potentially explosive beginning to series two.

“We hoped we would get to do more episodes – and we wanted to do a cliffhanger that wasn’t the kind of thing where loads of narrative threads were unfinished,” he said.

“So we closed off all the stories but left this one ticking time bomb as a tease of what might come – and that turns out to be the impetus for the whole second series.”

Following on from that dramatic beginning, series two is a larger spectacle altogether, according to Baynton, who describes it as an inverted “mirror image” of the first run.

“The first series was all about two guys in a small town in Berkshire having a kind of filmic world of danger descend upon them – and the second series is about those same two guys being plonked into that filmic world.

“They start out as different characters – they’re not ordinary guys anymore, they’re people who’ve done something extraordinary and heroic. But they want to be ordinary guys again.” 

Hopefully, they’ll get their wish – and either way there won’t be any more hairy cliffhangers for Sam and Phil this time around, Baynton says, with no immediate plans to extend the series after this two-part special.

“Again, with this second one we wanted to make something that finishes,” he explained, “without loads of narrative threads left dangling.

“It needs to feel like you’ve been on a complete journey, with a real sense of an ending.” 

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The Wrong Mans returns to BBC2 tonight (22nd December) at 9.00pm with part two airing on the 23rd