Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation

The new series runs from September 17 to October 8 2014.

This show began in 1993. I made the first series into a book, but no one bought it so I didn’t do that again. I think we’ve done eight series, the last one being in 2010.

It’s basically a sort-of lecture, each one having a title beginning “How to..”. I also have guests, one of each gender, who appear as themselves and in little sketches and character monologues. My first guests were Steve Frost and Debbie Isitt. Steve did all of the first series and Debbie did all of that one and the second series with Gordon Kennedy replacing Steve, because Steve had proper work. Ben Keaton also guested in one show in series 2. Gordon did all of series 2-6 but then landed the part of Little John, the right-wing columnist, in the BBC series Robin Hood. His disloyalty resulted in other male actors, Ewan Bailey and Paul B Davies appearing in series 7. I had worked with Paul in Unnatural Acts and At Home With the Hardys in the 1980s and asked him to contribute to the writing. Gordon is a reformed PE teacher and words aren’t really his thing. When series 8 came along, I forgave Gordon and divided the work between him and Paul.

Debbie is a brilliant writer and director and began to focus on film work. In series 4, I asked for help from Caroline Leddy, who had appeared in Unnatural Acts and At Home With the Hardys, and Meera Syal. Debbie did series 5 and then went off to make movies. Series 6-8 were graced by Rebecca Front, Alison Steadman, Pauline McLynn, Juliet Stephenson, Miranda Richardson, Shappi Khorsandi and Morwenna Banks. I don’t give them much to do, I just like the clout and glamour they bring to the show, and it’s nice for me to have the company.