âIf you were to watch Dead Boss with the sound down, it might look like an episode of Bad Girls â If it was a particularly silly day in the prison,â? actress and comedian Aisling Bea explains to me.
Sheâs clocked up roles in Channel 4’s underground hit Cardinal Burns, Come Fly with Me and now BBC Threeâs Dead Boss, an upcoming sitcom from Sharon Horgan (the much-missed Pulling) and stand-up comedienne Holly Walsh, thatâs set in a prison. Comedy veteran Jennifer Saunders also stars.
âThe script and the people attached to it were great,â? Aisling explains. âI didnât know Sharon Horgan before I auditioned, but I was very familiar with her, considering sheâs an Irish comedian, like myself. We look very similar and so when I saw that it was for the part of Laura I was like, âItâs mine!ââ?
Laura is the sister of Helen, a women imprisoned for the murder of her boss. But as Helen maintains, sheâs innocent and apart from being arrested once for unwittingly drink-driving (believing âsangriaâ? was Spanish for Fanta) sheâs never really done anything wrong.
âLaura is happy that Helenâs inside,â? Aisling says. âShe’s moved into her flat, taken her job, her friends, her pub quiz team. Sheâs completely soulless, which was a lot of fun to play.â?
Aisling tells me that the series differs from a lot of comedy shows in that it relies heavily on a story-arc, making it essential to watch the episodes in the correct order.
âIn that respect,â? she says, âitâs more like some American shows like Arrested Development. I think that tonally, itâs quite similar, with these very big, hopefully memorable characters. Itâll be much wackier than most people are expecting it to be.â?
Was it daunting for her working with such a great cast?
âWell, my parts were filmed outside the prison, so I didnât see Jennifer Saunders parts being filmed,â? she says. âThe whole of the cast were at the read-throughs, though, which were really hilarious to be at.â?
Aisling insists that while the showâs subject matter is darker, the show itself is just plain full-out silly.
âIâd describe it as joyfully wacky,â? she says. âIt doesnât have some kind of deeper message, but itâs also not like, âIâm making a gag here!â Itâs just very, very funny.â?
I ask Aisling if she can give away any more of the plot, but she smiles and shakes her head.
âHmmm. I canât really tell you much without giving too much away,â? she says. âBut letâs just say things get a bit saucy in episode four for my characterâliterally.â?
Dead Boss starts Thursday 14th June, 10:30 on BBC Three. You can catch Aisling in Fit, an upcoming series from the Horrible Histories crowd, set to include cameos from David Walliams and Peter Serafinowicz.