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Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner
Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner discuss their on-screen children and why Outnumbered may run and run
Have you noticed a lot of changes in the actors who are playing the children?
Claire Skinner: Only in the way you would expect. Ageing, growing up. Daniel Roche, the way he plays Ben, he just seems to let rip because he’s encouraged to tap into his naughty side. If they get him to riff on something he’ll really go for it because he loves information and facts. If he’s got them to hand he’ll just go, like a little volcano. And Ramona Marquez, who plays Karen, has become very fluent as she’s got older and able to put an argument, to hold facts in her head and to follow the improvisation
Hugh Dennis: I think it’s fair to say that when we were filming this series in the autumn the changes we were expecting to be the largest were with Ramona and Dan, but actually Tyger Drew-Honey had changed more than either of them. We did one special for Comic Relief where his voice was on the cusp. By this series it had gone completely.
Claire: He’s two inches taller than me. I’m now ‘Titch!’
Do you think there will come a point where the series might finish because the kids will get too old?
Hugh: I’m not sure. I think there appeared to be a limited life for it and we’d all got into feeling exactly that, but actually kids are interesting at any age. Also, the Americans have bought the format, or they are doing a pilot in the States, and they wouldn’t look at anything they couldn’t get 600 series that were 24 shows long! So this has led me to think maybe they’re right. I don’t know.
I read that in a lot of the reaction shots you are talking to someone with eyes on their chests, the right height as the children.
Claire: We did but now they’ve got bigger they appear in the frame, so there’s a broomstick with a wig. Often you are thinking, 'Where am I meant to be looking?' Not only do I feel baffled, I probably look baffled!
What was it like winning three British Comedy awards?
Claire: It was much more fun than I thought it was going to be. They’re normally ghastly events. It’s freezing cold, they turn the air-con up so your hair floats, everyone has to wear their lady dresses. The children were kept separate from us — it would have been more fun if they were with us. But they were being looked after. It’s hard enough when you’re an adult to have a camera whacked in your face when you haven’t won something.
Hugh: It’s really difficult.
Claire: Even if you are thinking generous thoughts you still look like you are bitter and twisted no matter what you do. Or people are going to decide you are. They were protected from that and I was really glad they were.
By Linda Gibson