Actor Michael Sheen has said that new BBC half-hour special The Assembly is "extraordinary" ahead of the release of the episode this April.


Based on the format of French show Les rencontres du Papotin, The Assembly will see Sheen quizzed like never before by a group of 35 interviewers who are autistic, neurodivergent or learning disabled.

Speaking about what made him say yes to being a part of The Assembly, Sheen said: "Because it was just such an extraordinary and interesting idea.

"Then reading about the original French series, it just sounded so extraordinary, different and potentially a very revealing way to approach the tried and tested interview process, but obviously it is a lot more than just being an interview."

Michael Sheen sitting in the middle of a large group of interviewers who are looking at him.
Michael Sheen in The Assembly. BBC/Rockerdale Studios

He added: "The interview part of it is just one aspect of the project, and I think there is still a lot of confusion, ignorance and fear around people with any kind of difference.

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"I think being able to be involved in a project like this could maybe break down some of those barriers."

The 2022 French show saw the likes of French president Emmanuel Macron and Call My Agent actor Camille Cottin face the hot seat, in which the president was asked if it's the behaviour of a role model to marry one’s teacher. So things could get very unfiltered!

Judging from the first-look pictures so far, things look pretty amiable - but with some left-field questions only par for the course, fans of the actor can expect "the grilling of a lifetime".

Of course, Sheen is known for his roles in shows like Good Omens, The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Masters of Sex.

He has most recently starred in and directed BBC's The Way, and is set to appear as Prince Andrew in Prime Video's A Very Royal Scandal, alongside Ruth Wilson as journalist Emily Maitlis.

As per the synopsis for the BBC's version: "In this half-hour special, it's multi-award-winning actor and director Michael Sheen who is to face the grilling of a lifetime from the unique collective. No subject is out of bounds, no question is off the table.

"On subjects as diverse as ex-girlfriends and on-screen kisses, to the OBE he gave back or his favourite motorway, how will the Good Omens star fare as The Assembly bring their unique approach to the celebrity interview?"

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The synopsis continues: "The Assembly cast is a diverse cast ranging in age from 18 to 27. Amongst the group are musicians, artists, writers and students.

"Each will take their own approach in their attempt to get to the truth of Michael Sheen like nobody before has - whether that’s finding out his favourite sandwich filling or how he felt when his daughter was born."

The special episode comes from Michelle Singer and Stu Richards's Rockerdale Studios - best known for co-creating and writing the BBC Three comedy Jerk - which focuses on creating "mischievous content which seeks to put disabled agency at its heart".

Rockerdale Studios has worked closely with the BBC’s Creative Diversity Team to ensure each element of The Assembly works for and with autistic and neurodivergent voices.

The Assembly airs Friday 5th April at 10:40pm on BBC One and iPlayer. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide and Streaming Guide, or visit our Entertainment hub for the latest news.


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