TV

Sam Bain & Jesse Armstrong Talk Peep Show & New Projects

As their new police series hits screens, Peep Show writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong unpick their other future projects

Back in February, you may have caught the excellent pilot episode of Channel 4’s Babylon: a star-studded show focused on the Metropolitan Police, and the way in which they are now forced to exist in the modern world of social media, where every bystander at a crime scene has a cameraphone. The good news is it returns for a full series this week, minus first episode director Danny Boyle (who’s replaced by fellow Irvine Welsh-ophile, Filth director Jon S Baird), but with the same amazing ensemble cast – Brit Marling, James Nesbitt (above), Adam Deacon – still all present. In truth, though, the biggest reason to be very excited about these next six parts is the writers. Because truly, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong are the UK’s script goliaths, having created Peep Show and Fresh Meat, not to mention co-writing The Thick Of It, Veep and Chris Morris’s Four Lions. Babylon is a brilliant step into more dramatic (though still very funny) territory, and that’s far from all they’ve got going on. Here’s an update on the projects residing in their “Oh yeah, also…” file.

LIAM GALLAGHER’S BEATLES FILM

Jesse Armstrong: “Like a lot of films, it’s ‘in development’. Hopefully something will happen with it, because it’s a great story. The book [The Longest Cocktail Party by Richard DiLello] is great source material, so I had a great time adapting it. I don’t know if, or when, it will make it to screen, but I hope it does. Liam Gallagher was involved, paid for the script and was a good collaborator.”

ROBERT DOWNEY JR’S BLACK MIRROR SPIN-OFF

JA: “This [the episode Jesse wrote entitled ‘The Entire History Of You’] was something I worked on with them [Downey Jr’s production company] a bit, but they’ve now bought it basically, with Warner Bros. I think I’ll just let them do something new with it. The best way forward is for me to say, ‘I’ve done a really good version of it, I feel, in the UK, now you have fun with the idea.’ I don’t think I’m going to write the script for them.”

AND OF COURSE… THE FINAL SERIES OF PEEP SHOW

Sam Bain: “No fascinating, juicy details, I’m afraid – all we’ve got is a plan to do a ninth series. Probably not in the immediate future, but in the… near-to-intermediate future!”

JA: “We’ve spoken to Dave [Mitchell] and Robert [Webb], and we think they’re available when we’re available, so we’re starting to think of how the show might go. It feels like it’s sort of time for it to come to a conclusion in this part of its life. That feels really exciting to us, going, ‘We’re writing the last series, what’s going to happen?’ We should leave ourselves room in the writing room to kill them, but I don’t think that would be our first choice. Our first choice would be to leave it open so that eventually you could come back and say, ‘What happened to Mark and Jez?’”

Babylon begins on Channel 4, 13 November at 10pm

(Images: Channel 4/Rex)