Julian Barratt – best known for The Mighty Boosh – is returning to TV in Flowers, a black comedy about an eccentric family struggling to stay together
Sell Flowers to us.
“Oh God, I’m crap at this. I suppose it’s a family-based comedy with dramatic and tragic undertones. It’s not a sitcom as such: it’s darker, more real and there’s strong emotional stuff in there. Visually it’s very different to a lot of stuff on TV. It’s got the feel of an indie film.”
Why’s it called Flowers?
“That’s the name of the family. The kids are growing up so they’re a family on the verge of imploding or exploding – one of the ‘plodings’. The script reminded me a bit of [classic ‘80s sitcom] Butterflies in that there’s something quite melancholy about it.”
You play Maurice, whose marriage to Deborah (Peep Show‘s Olivia Colman) is on the rocks. What’s the problem?
“They’re in a quandary: do we separate, or do we try to make a go of it? There probably was a time when they were happier but he’s in a really bad place now. He can’t think logically about his marriage or anything.”
Why’s he in such a bad place?
“He’s a children’s author, but he’s creatively run-dry. So he’s realising that he’s just a slightly useless person in a shed. He’s haunted psychologically throughout the series by his past and by people who are dead. I don’t want to say too much, but the series starts with an attempted suicide and death is pretty prominent throughout.”
So it’s very much a black comedy?
“It’s pretty bleak from the beginning but it’s still very comical. I suppose you’d call it a comedy-drama. The way my character is haunted by his demons, as you’ll see, is done in a very visually brilliant and comical way.”
What’s going on with The Mighty Boosh?
Julian and co-star Noel Fielding have plans…
They’re gonna write new material
“We’ve talked about it. We’ll get in a room and see what occurs. We have lots of ideas and there still seems to be interest, so we probably will do something.”
They cannot stay away from each other
“We live about 100 yards from one another, but when my kids were young I barely saw him. I was getting up at 5am, and he was getting in at 5am, so it was like he was in Australia. But now my kids have got older and he’s stopped going out. Maybe it’s my turn to go off the rails?”
His kids dig it
“They’ve grasped that shit happens to my character, but they don’t like watching bad things happen to me. Maybe I’ve damaged them, or completely undermined myself in their eyes? I should have played a superhero.”
The entire series of Flowers airs on Channel 4 every night throughout the week starting Monday, April 25 at 10pm