James Buckley has discussed what went wrong with The Inbetweeners reunion.
The actor joked on the latest episode of his podcast, Completed It Mate, that talking about the pitfalls of the special show would be a regular feature from now on.
A reunion special called Fwends Reunited, which celebrated the 10th-anniversary of the hit Channel 4 show, was aired on January 1. Fans reacted negatively to the programme, with many calling it “awful” and “awkward”.
“The thing that’s really difficult with it is that, in my job, I’m used to being criticised – especially with the small amount of talent that I have, I’m wide open for criticism,” Buckley began, after saying he “couldn’t watch it.”
“The worst thing is when people criticise you and you go, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ It’s really hard to take,” he said.
He went on to explain that he had thought it was “impossible to fuck up” and thought that it would involve the four main actors getting together to talk about their memories of making the hit series. It wasn’t until he was sat in front of the show’s host Jimmy Carr that he said he realised what format it would take.
“It became a thing that wasn’t a celebration of this good thing I did in my life, it was me being taken the piss out of for hours on end,” he said. “I didn’t have the personality or the intelligence to cope with it, especially when you’re up against someone like Jimmy Carr, who’s super quick and super funny. So I come across as a complete moron through the whole thing and also there was a bit where I got stuck.
“There would be a couple of times where I would say something and Jimmy would go, ‘Still bullshitting.’ I got caught where I was acting up as Jay because there was an audience there of Inbetweeners fans and I got caught in this spot between Jay and myself where myself was going, ‘You’re acting like a fucking idiot, you’re being a moron, you’re being a dick.’ And there was this bit where it was like, ‘Well they’re all here and they want you to be Jay, so do it.’ When the audience was there, I didn’t want to seem like a stick in the mud. I didn’t want to go, ‘Can we stop for a second cos I don’t know what the fuck’s going on here – you’re talking to me like I’m Jay from The Inbetweeners. I’m really not.’ So that was another one of the reasons why it was a disaster.”
Buckley said he wasn’t trying to make excuses and said he “should have just done my job and been an entertainer and been funny.”
He also said the reunion special was “really rushed” due to him, Joe Thomas, Blake Nelson, and Simon Bird all being busy with other projects. “I was just as disappointed as everyone else when that thing came out,” he admitted.
The actor also commented on some viewers’ criticisms that it seemed like the four stars didn’t really like each other. “I don’t want anyone ever thinking that cos I love those guys and we’re so close,” he said.
“We’re really great friends and that’s another reason why The Inbetweeners worked. We were glued together for years and if we hadn’t got on The Inbetweeners wouldn’t have worked. I don’t ever want people to think those guys aren’t my friends.”
Additionally, Buckley criticised the way the media wrote about the show before it aired, suggesting there would be a new episode of the series. “It was never advertised by Channel 4, it was never advertised by me,” he said. “I never ever said that it was a new episode, no one ever said that. [The media] got everyone all riled up and it’s left up to me to explain, I’m sorry about that.”
Despite the negative response to the reunion special, some revelations were made on the night, including that Matt Smith was nearly cast in the role of Will and details of a nasty, near-death incident Buckley was part of while shooting a classic scene.