Car Share was one of the surprise hits of 2015 – especially so as it started life as iPlayer-only programming before its popularity prompted BBC bosses to bring it BBC One. With two BAFTAs in the bag for their record-breaking first series, Peter Kay and Sian Gibson will be back in 2017 to continue their partnership as colleagues John and Kayleigh who journey to work together courtesy of a company car share scheme.
Set and filmed in the North West, Car Share remains the most-watched new sitcom since 2011. Series one climaxed with a ‘will they won’t they’ pivotal moment between John and Kayleigh as their chemistry grew and it looked like romance was on the cards. Here, we catch up with the pair ahead of the premiere of series two on BBC One next week.
How does it feel to be back behind the wheel in the new series?
Peter: It was an absolute joy to be back in the car again as after the first series everything was much more familiar. Also, the weather was particularly kind to us, we had plenty of sunshine and only had one day of rain, which is pretty rare in the north west of England.
Sian: I couldn’t wait to get back in the car because we had such a great time making the first series. This time felt even better because like Peter said we were much more familiar with everything.
What can viewers expect?
Peter: They can expect the unexpected.
Sian: Ooh that’s a bit cryptic.
Peter: The one thing we pride ourselves on the most with writing Car Share is that it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen and that’s hard to achieve, especially with comedy.
Sian: What he said (laughs).
Can you give us a little tease on how John and Kayleigh’s relationship will develop?
Sian: I could tell you but he’d bump me off.
Peter: Who me? Charming. No, I can’t answer that she’d kill me.
Sian: That’s nice.
Do you select the songs on Forever FM? Do they have any special meaning to either of you?
Sian: We spent ages going through the music and reminiscing. It was the most enjoyable part of writing. We both have the same taste in music.
Peter: No we don’t.
Sian: We do mostly.
Peter: Old stuff we do but you always say if I was anymore middle of the road I’d get knocked down.
Sian: (laughs) When did I say that?
Peter: Ages ago.
Sian: (laughs) That’s really funny, I don’t ever remember saying that. Well, it’s true… I’m joking.
Peter: We did spend a lot of time selecting the music, probably more than writing. We’re both fond of One Step Further by Bardo, which is in episode one of the new series. We both made our own video to it back in college in 1995.
Sian: Was it really 1995? I feel so old.
Peter: You are.
Sian: Hey! (laughs) It did bring back a lot of memories singing it again.
In the first series, you recreated a number of pop videos, did either of you have a favourite one?
Peter: I’m very fond of them all but probably Rush Hour by Jane Wiedlin would be my favourite as we were both in the video together.
Sian: I agree with Peter I loved all the 50’s costumes and the routine in Rush Hour but I think I had the best deal out of the pop videos, Anastasia… Cindi Lauper and also being in my own animation swimming under water to Mmmmbop – Hanson.
Peter: That was a first.
Were you surprised at how successful the first series was?
Sian: Well, I was completely. Even though I know how much people love Peter, I was still worried that they would just be bored with the two of us stuck in a car and I might be responsible for Peter’s first TV flop. So overwhelmed at how much everybody enjoyed the show and the characters.
Peter: Me too, I was completely surprised. I always believed in Car Share but like Sian, I was always worried that viewers may not have the patience to stay with such a simple idea of two people commuting to work, especially in this fast-paced day and age, so yes, I was completely surprised. Casting Sian was the best decision I ever made and I was grateful that the BBC trusted my decision as I knew if we could capture even just a fraction of our friendship then maybe that would be the magic that people would enjoy the most.
Sian: That’s nice.
Peter: It’s true, besides Sheridan Smith was busy filming Cilla.
Sian: You’re funny.
Car Share was the most watched new sitcom of 2015, did that create additional pressure when writing the new series?
Peter: No, not at all because we’d already written most of the new series in 2014, which was a bit of a gamble as we didn’t know if the BBC would want a second series, but we just loved spending the time writing it together.
Sian: What he said (laughs).
You’ve known each other for years now and have worked together before, how did you get along in this series?
Sian: We speak to each other every day anyway, so working together just saves our phone bills.
Sian: Our relationship has never changed since our college days, we are still as silly and childish so obviously whenever we work together we get along perfectly as always.
Peter: What she said (laughs).
Series one was made available on BBC iPlayer first and the new series will be available on BBC iPlayer in its entirety immediately after episode one airs on BBC One. Why have you decided to do that?
Peter: Because viewers love to binge watch and it’s great being able to watch as many episodes as you like in one sitting.
Sian: I do that, I watched the full series of The Missing in one day.
Peter: I know, it tipped you over the edge.
Sian: I couldn’t stop watching it. I had to know what happened.
Peter: That’s exactly what I mean about bingeing.
What comedies do you both enjoy watching at the moment?
Sian: I have watched all of Inside Number 9 – I love how they are all so different and quite dark. I am also obsessed with Catastrophe, I think Sharon Horgan is amazing.
Peter: I think Reece and Steve’s writing is fantastic. I don’t know how they keep the stories so consistent and varied, which is hard enough but to have to make them funny on top makes it even harder.
How good a driver are you?
Sian: We are both very bad drivers.
Peter: I’m not that bad I just suffer with a lack of spatial awareness.
Sian: And you drove into that kerb at M&S the other night.
Peter: Alright, it was just a tap, what about when you sneezed and drove through a wall.
Sian: (laughs) I had bad hay fever.
Peter: You don’t get hay fever!
So what’s next for Peter and for Sian?
Peter: We’re currently on our Dance For Life tour, where we hold three-hour dance-a-thons in arenas around Britain with all the profits going to Cancer Research UK. As I said earlier we both love our music and these nights are such a blast, we love doing them.
Sian: Yes we’re having a ball doing Dance For Life, we just have the best time. Then hopefully we can work together again in the future… Peter?
Peter: What? (shrugs) I’m sure we’ll always work together. We’re the modern day Terry and June.
Finally, if you could go on a road trip anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would you share the journey with?
Peter: I know it’s sounds corny but I found my Car Share buddy twenty three years ago and I’d be happy sharing a car with Sian anywhere in the world….as long as she wasn’t driving.
Sian: Awwwwwwww – obviously it would be with Peter… or Idris Elba.
Peter: You’re funny.
Sian: You’re not so bad yourself.
Car Share series two premieres on Tuesday 11 April on BBC One.
Photo: ©BBC/Goodnight Vienna Productions