What do you get when you stick a group of randy guys on E4? The Inbetweeners? You’d be forgiven for thinking so, the comparisons are easily drawn. In actual fact though, we’re talking about the channel’s new show, Beaver Falls, which starts this Wednesday at 9pm. It’s not exactly the same as The Inbetweeners (that’d be silly!), here they’re off to a US summer camp. So how different are the two shows? And what can we expect? To investigate, we caught up with John Dagleish, who plays the dopiest main character of all...
TV.com: Is Beaver Falls essentially 'The Inbetweeners go to camp'?
John Dagleish: No, I don't think so. The Inbetweeners is brilliant, I love it, but it’s very much a comedy. Beaver Falls has a much more comedy/drama feel; it's certainly got some quite difficult storylines in there.
What do you make of people's comparisons between Beaver Falls and The Inbetweeners?
There is a lot of pressure on us at the moment to live up to The Inbetweeners, even though I think the similarities end with the fact that it's seen through the eyes of a three—or four—lads. But apart from that I think they're quite different shows, with different feels to them. I think what they were trying to do with Beaver Falls was to try to have something more like The OC, where they throw in these three English guys and watch the fireworks.
Do you reckon we could ever see a Beaver Falls/Inbetweener crossover episode?
I don't know to be honest. That's interesting; I've not heard that before. I guess there could; there's scope for anything to happen in Beaver Falls. They've been quite clever with what they've got set up because, obviously, with a summer camp year-after-year you're going to get different kids, different characters, and different counsellors so it's got legs to run. There's room for four more English guys in there, I guess. That would be kind of odd for us.
If Beaver Falls was renewed for a second season can you still see yourself, Arsher Ali and Samuel Robertson as the leads then?
I think so. I mean, we've certainly been contracted--I’m not sure how much of this I'm allowed to say--so that if they make a second one we're contracted to do it already. Whether or not they chose us, they can have us if they want us.
I think, because it's so centred around our points of views, it'd be odd to have different main characters. Probably the differences will come in some of the other characters. Not to say that the people we worked with this year weren't brilliant—they were all so amazingly well cast—but there's scope for new counsellors to come from the States, and all over the world!
And obviously the kids are going to be different every year, not just different but the kids in this series will have grown up, so that'll change how things develop. If the chunk bunk loses a load of weight, for instance--there’s a character in this first series who was one of the jocks, but then he put on loads of weight and came back as one of the chunk bunk--so there's room for it [Beaver Falls] to evolve.
There's a huge international cast and crew involved with Beaver Falls. What was that like?
It's great. It's lovely to hear how different industries work all over the world. We had Canadians, South Africans and obviously the English guys. We had almost a full South African crew, which are the most hard-working crew I think I've ever known, especially in that heat! They were just pre-empting everything so it's ready to go. It's great for your own work ethic to see how other people work.
Given that it's set in a US summer camp, are there any Americans onboard?
I'm just trying to think, and you know, I think there's only one in the whole series. He plays one of the dads of the chunk bunk and I think he only comes in to episode 3. Most of the Americans in it were played by South African or Canadian actors.
I take it there was a lot of voice training going on then?
We had a dialect coach on set all the time. Three of the chunk bunks are English and I thought all their accents were perfect. We had a great dialect coach called Rachel who came on and did some brilliant stuff with them: she was American so she could do all the different dialects. And obviously those American accents come quite easily to the Canadian actors.
It's quite funny working with Canadian actors when you've got that preconceived idea from South Park that they all say "aboot" and they're all denying that. "We don't say aboot! We say abooot." [He laughs]. And we're like: "you are saying aboot, you just can't hear it!"
It sounds like filming was a lot of fun. Is there a particular moment that stands out for you?
We had such a laugh doing it! There were so many things just in the scripts that were great fun to do. In the final episode we jumped off this cliff into a pool of freezing cold, mountain water completely naked. Stuff like that you remember! The three of us nearly got hypothermia! We came out at one point shaking, and we got wrapped up like turkeys in that tin foil stuff. It all went a bit odd for about 15/20 minutes after that.
It was just really great fun; all the silly, daft things that we did. There was an episode where we were playing a game of fruit ball, where I'm sitting on top of this building throwing fruit down to Arsher who's batting it away with a cricket bat. We're doing all this daft staff in the middle of a wildlife reserve in South Africa, where there are zebras wondering about. It's very odd.
Hopefully the zebras don't wander into shot and give the game away!
No, that may make people slightly suspicious!
So what does your character, Barry, add to the show?
Beaver Falls is very much a comedy/drama but I suppose my character it the comic relief of the three. I seem to have a lot of the one-liners.
A lot hangs on you then. Does this add to the pressure?
A little bit, yeah. I've never really done comedy before on screen, I've only done comedy on stage at drama school and that's very different. Obviously, people aren't allowed to laugh when you're doing comedy for camera as you have to do it again, but, the scripts are hilarious. You have to resist the urge to try and make it over-funny--like looking at a script and asking "how do I make this funnier"--because by the time you come to shoot it, you know it so well it’s lost some of that humour. You have to remember that you laughed out loud when you read it the first time, and that when people see it on TV they’ll be seeing it for the first time. You have to trust in that; otherwise you try to over-egg it a bit.
It's quite a change from Lark Rise to Candleford, which is probably what you're better known for at the moment.
Yeah, very different! It's aimed at an entirely different demographic too, which is quite exciting; I wouldn’t have thought many people that are fans of Beaver Falls, or The Inbetweeners, would have watched Lark Rise to Candleford. I could be wrong! That may be me, judging and being naïve! But yeah, it's quite nerve-wracking: knowing that it's an entirely different audience that’s going to see your work, and not know how they're going to respond to you.
Are you worried about how your fans--and indeed family--will respond to your new role?
Yeah… It's difficult to think that some people that might have been big fans of Lark Rise might watch this just to see what I do next, who maybe haven't seen The Inbetweeners or wouldn’t necessarily watch E4. My bottom is quite heavily featured and there's certainly a lot of nudity in the last couple of episodes. Hmm. I think I'm just going to have to tell my mum at what point she needs to switch over for a couple of minutes.
I think I'm the foulest-mouthed person in the show too, because Barry just doesn’t care what people think of him: he just opens his mouth and says the vilest things. I know I have an uncle who doesn't like people swearing, so that could be tricky. It's difficult because obviously it's aimed at a different demographic and you don't want to offend people, but hopefully they'll see it and enjoy it for what it is and not judge me too harsh!
Are you in any way similar to Barry?
Not especially to be honest. I've kind of had my crazy days--I'm a little older than Barry, I've just been blessed with a young face--so I think I probably was more like Barry when I was younger. I certainly had my tongue-tied moments with women. I'm very quiet and boring, I think!