Interview

Simon Bird: ‘Was The Inbetweeners sexist? The joke was always on the boys’

The actor, who played Will McKenzie in the schoolboy sitcom, talks to Charlotte Cripps about returning to Channel 4’s hit comedy Friday Night Dinner, being on lockdown during the coronavirus outbreak, and whether The Inbetweeners is offensive

Simon Bird thinks Friday Night Dinner is “oddly appropriate” for the coronavirus lockdown. “It’s about being at home,” says the 35-year-old, “and how crazy and unhinged it can become when you spend too much time together.”

Bird, who shot to fame more than a decade ago as the nerdy teen Will McKenzie in The Inbetweeners, was supposed to be meeting me in a London hotel. Instead, of course, we’re talking on the phone. The UK is about to go under lockdown. “I can’t even imagine what it will be like,” he says with a mix of dread and amusement. He’s going to be stuck at home in Hackney with his two kids, aged two and four, and his screenwriter wife Lisa Owens.

Still, it’s probably going to be a less stressful set-up than the one that plays out on Friday Night Dinner. “It’s like the four of us are in self-isolation trying to keep out a dangerous pathogen – ie Jim,” says Bird about the new Bafta-winning comedy, which returned to Channel 4 last night for a sixth series, reuniting the Goodmans, a suburban Jewish family of eccentrics.

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