Only David Mitchell could exacerbate his aversion to nature and the great outdoors.
So it seems appropriate that the Will I Lie To You? The team captain is set to host a new six-part series in which he challenges three pairs of comedians to spend a week surviving in a forest while choosing to return each evening to the comfort of his home in the leafy north. from London.
Not only does he think he’s not remotely equipped to survive a post-apocalypse scenario, he’s also skeptical of any of his comedians thriving.
Can they prove him wrong?
âThe great outdoors – picturesque, peaceful, unspoiled.
Only David Mitchell could exacerbate his aversion to nature and the great outdoors.
Well, it’s not for me. It’s very nice, seen through a gourmet pub window, but without the buildings it gets disgusting very quickly. Just look at Glastonbury.
Still, some people love it, and I challenge six comedians to prove they can survive it, âsays David, 47.
âThe actors would not distinguish one end of an ax from the other. Which, with axes, I believe, is absolutely essential. I don’t think they’ll go ten minutes without ordering pizza.
At the end of each day in Outsiders, David summons the teams to his HQ – a large teepee in the woods – to go over the day’s three survival challenges and award badges for successfully completed tasks.
The results lead to moments of lawlessness as the six survivors – Ed Gamble and Lou Sanders, Kerry Godliman and Toussaint Douglass, and Jessica Knappett and Jamali Maddix – gradually grow more and more savage.
âWhen the show was first presented to me, it was mostly about actors doing Boy Scout badges.
From left to right: Jamali Maddix, Jessica Knappett, Toussaint Douglass, Kerry Godliman, Lou Sanders and Ed Gamble
âBut I firmly believe that things are at their funniest when there is something serious behind it.
âI thought that with the best sitcoms, be it Fawlty Towers or Dad’s Army, there is the serious sadness and disappointment of feeling trapped,â says David, who had huge success with Robert Webb on That Mitchell And Webb Look, Peep Show and Back.
âBecause it was presented to me in the midst of the pandemic, where everyone was thinking, ‘How do we survive? What if there is no food in the supermarket or in the toilet? I thought he needed that feeling of human danger.
âThe underlying theme has to be how would we survive without all of this? “
David, who has often been described (including himself) as a hazy youth, could he manage in the wilderness without the essentials at hand?
‘I do not think so. For me, the whole point of money is that you don’t have to live in nature and fend for yourself.
“I stayed in a tent once … when I was about 11”
I don’t mind a walk in the country, but I want to end up in a building. A cool pub, with a good 4G signal. ‘
As David cannot drive or cook there would be challenges from the get-go, although he concedes he could have taken a cab into the forest, which is not far from London.
As it was, he had a driver to transport him from the house he shares with his wife Victoria Coren Mitchell, host of the Only Connect quiz show, and their six-year-old daughter, Barbara.
And he even had a golf cart to take him from the car to the campers. âI can cook basic if I follow the instructions,â he says.
Kerry Godliman (below) gets to grips with the great outdoors in an attractive orange tent
“Most of my cooking could actually be done over a campfire, other than the cheese on toast.”
Did he feel guilty for deserting the campsite at night? – No, I was perfectly happy to be leaving.
âI have to come home every night and no one else has, and in most settings coming home every night is what you would expect.
âBut suddenly, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Look at these people, they’re in tents, I’m not, and I feel better. It’s as if Henry VIII didn’t have a DVD player but felt rich because he had more game.
âI believe we need buildings in a complex society, and they are trying to prove otherwise.
“And I kept messing it up by reminding everyone that we were all going to die.” A lot of people want to survive and do the Bear Grylls thing.
Continue strictly like Rob? Absolutely not..
Although he’s appeared on just about every current panel, David is opting out of signing up for a reality show such as I’m A Celebrity.
‘No, I would never do that. Why, if you needed the money, why wouldn’t you settle for acting? ‘ he said without hesitation.
Her longtime crime partner Robert Webb did just that, appearing on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
âI absolutely wouldn’t,â David insists. âOn a dance floor, if I’m not careful, I fall still.
âBut it’s a great show. I love watching it and my daughter loves it and I am very, very proud of Rob for doing it.
âHe’s good at it, but I think he’ll get bored practicing the dance. My optimal amount of dance practice in any given week is zero hours, with the exception of a few weeks when I was rehearsing for Upstart Crow [the stage version of his sitcom about William Shakespeare] in the West End last year, when we did a dance at the end.
“These dance practice pieces were the wrong pieces.”
“How do you find a little bark you can eat, or” That beetle’s blood is a great antibiotic “or whatever.
âIn a way, they did it in The Great British Bake Off. The fact that it’s made in a tent in a garden, rather than a studio, gives it a different aesthetic.
âLooking at it, you kind of feel like you got a little fresh air, although you didn’t,â he explains.
Just like the Outsiders then? âIt’s literally tents, boots, mud and a little lighting. In fact, one of the fires in the tent was a gas fire, âhe admits.
He also admits that he would take Barbara on a camping trip if she wanted to go. âI would try to ease the discomfort as much as I could, but hopefully I would do what a good dad should do – and then spend the next 18 months congratulating myself,â he smiles.
âI once stayed in a tent in my friend Stephen’s garden. I think we were about 11 years old. I think I probably slept about four hours.
âThey did one thing at my school where you could go climb Ten Tors on Dartmoor for a weekend. You didn’t have to, so I didn’t.
What does he like to do then?
âI read books, watch television. But I don’t know, really, I don’t know. I fall asleep amid the episodes of dramas at night.
âIt’s ridiculous how I don’t know where the time is going. “
In Outsiders, he becomes the leader of the camp and awards the most important badges, the first of which is the lumberjack badge.
âI tried to be some inconsistent, irascible, weak kind of authority, because it amuses me.
âI think an authority figure who doesn’t really have a lot of authority is a good field. I don’t like telling anyone what to do.
âI like to let them do whatever they want and then comment sarcastically afterwards. But as a parent, I realize that sometimes I have to exercise authority.
âI remember saying to my daughter when she was two, ‘You better do as I say, or there’s absolutely nothing I can do.
âI don’t think she quite understood what I was saying, but it was just kind of nonsense to tell someone.
“Because at the end of the day, what I’ve learned from working with and interacting with people is that if you stop someone from doing what they want, you will never hear it. the end.”
David’s comedic and personal characters aren’t far apart.
Comedian Ed Gamble rounds up chickens as part of new show that starts Wednesday on Dave
Her real character is spontaneously funny and understated in a Blackadder-esque way that’s apparent in Outsiders.
His brief conversational pauses as he makes flash assessments of people and situations behind insightful, unfazed eyes make him irresistibly restless.
“It’s definitely me, because it doesn’t work if it’s not you,” he said. “You can’t just be someone different, but it’s a slightly bloated, increased kind of you.”
Today, David enjoys a family life he could never have imagined when he was in his mid-thirties, single and lonely.
When he met Victoria – daughter of presenter and satirist Alan Coren and sister of food critic Giles – at a party in 2007, he was smitten.
When she first started seeing someone else he was heartbroken, but he waited for her and they finally got married in 2012.
“The great outdoors are beautiful – seen from a pub”
Now life couldn’t be better.
âI’m happy with my job and would like to continue doing it, and that’s how I’ve felt for several years.
âI’m not looking to break into Hollywood or anything like that. I work a lot as an actor and I write, I act and I act.
âThe things that make me laugh are things that I find illogical. This is where I find my material, things that don’t really add up.
âIt was the job I dreamed of when I was a teenager. I had aspirations and ambitions to do what I’m doing now. But now that I’m there, I don’t have them.
But he’s still worried.
âI worry about a lot of things. I worry that everything will go wrong, I worry that something will happen to someone I love.
âI worry about normal things. I am not in effort mode. I am in defensive mode. All-in-one mode. ‘
Filming Outsiders was a tonic because he was one of her own.
âThey were very funny and it was a nice environment. They are all very talented. People think comedians are a bit mean, but they’re pretty funny and encouraging in general – apart from me.
Which is obviously a joke since David himself is clearly nice.
As well as stuffing.
âComedy is serious business. And finally, there is nothing trivial about being an idiot, âhe says, very seriously.
Outsiders starts Wednesday at 10 p.m. on Dave.