Romesh Ranganathan and Katherine Ryan are seeing us into the New Year with the perfect TV binge. The stars, who are both known for their comedy work, play couple Deacon and Alison in Sky's Romantic Getaway, which sees the pair defraud their dodgy boss in a desperate attempt to fund their IVF treatment.
Sitting down with HELLO!, the comedians opened up about filming the high-octane dramedy, with Katherine revealing that she "ruined scenes" thanks to her on-screen husband having her in fits of laughter on set.
WATCH: Romantic Getaway is the perfect New Year binge
Romesh, who penned the dramedy with writer Benjamin Green, also touched on what inspired the unique concept and shared his initial concerns about working with his real-life friend, Katherine.
What inspired the story?
Romesh: Well, the initial idea was to start a show at the end of a crime being committed. That was the starting point and then everything else came after that, really. We just thought it was funny to have two people that weren't in that world to suddenly commit a crime out of necessity, and we wanted their relationship to be important.
So the initial idea was we wanted a cool heist show but it to be set in somewhere quite mundane, no disrespect to Reading. We just thought these two people that kind of descend into a world of crime in Reading just feels like a funny starting point.
Then we started talking about it from there. In fact, Ben [Green] came to Crawley and we went to a pub down the road from my house. We kind of started working out the ideas over a few beers and then a woman from another table came over and started suggesting storylines. She said, 'I think it's a really good idea. Like, what if this happens, what if that happens?' And I thought, 'Oh, my God.'
I mean, I don't know if that meant it was a really hooky premise or that she just thought our ideas were [expletive]. I can't tell you what it was. We always wanted to be with Katherine really. So we did write it with her in mind. The initial setting point was like a cool crime in an uncool setting.
Katherine, how did you become involved in the project?
Katherine: I think that it was written largely for me - and Romesh and I aren't just colleagues. I think comedians are so lucky in this country that we're mostly all very good friends and really supportive of one another and a lot of us started at the same time as well. But Romesh and I are especially close to the point that we text and hang out as much as two busy people with kids can.
We're very close friends, but a real hack to hanging out with your mates now is to write projects where you're together or invite them on your podcast or do something because the double-edged sword of how blessed we are to be busy is that we really don't get to see each other anymore. Whereas we used to be on the bill together in the basement of a pub, and we'd get to have a chat and see each other's comedy. Those days are gone.
Romesh and Katherine play married couple Deacon and Alison
So I was so excited to be asked because not only was I really excited about the project and the character because you don't always see strong, funny, female leads, so I felt in very safe hands that way, but also it meant that I got to hang out with my mate for eight weeks in you know, early mornings and strenuous circumstances sometimes. At first, Romesh sent me a text being like, 'Oh, this is eight weeks, we might fall out. Let me know if I start to annoy you,' and I don't think that ever happened. Certainly not on my side.
Romesh: No, we got away with that. As Catherine said, we're really good mates but we'd never spent eight continuous weeks together, so I was slightly concerned. I would say my company is best taken in small doses, so I was worried that was going to become irritating, but thankfully we didn't fall out.
Katherine: You're very good company.
Did you do any research into people who struggle with IVF?
Romesh: Yeah, we did research it basically. I mean, we wrote it originally and we got it wrong. Then after a little bit of research, we realised that we were idiots and so we had to work out the timeline of it, what the different stages were and all of that. Obviously, you're allowed a little bit of poetic licence because it's a fictional show, but for all intents and purposes, we looked into it and looked at the mechanics of it but also thought a lot about what the emotional journey of somebody going through that would be like.
Although not everybody commits a crime in order to fund their IVF if they can't afford it, you can understand why somebody would feel that desperate to do that if you've wanted a kid for as long as they have.
Romesh said 'a lot of research' went into the show
So we did do a lot of research, but mainly we were trying to figure out if it all rang true. There were lots of drafts where it bumped or it didn't quite work, or Alison was not in a realistic headspace for where she'd be in that journey. We also had to think about how different stages of the process would affect her and affect the relationship and stuff like that. I would certainly not suggest Romantic Getaway as a manual for what the IVF process is like, but I do think we looked into it to make sure we weren't doing anything that wasn't real or true basically.
What was filming like? Were there any challenges or any funny moments?
Katherine: It was so much fun and really difficult not to laugh, especially under pressure when it's coming to the end of the day and everyone wants to be on time. If Johnny Vegas did something that I thought was funny or sometimes Romesh would just have me crying with laughter, I can't stop. I'm a real risk with the more I laugh, the more I laugh, so I did worry about corpsing and ruining scenes and wasting everyone's time. I felt I did that a few times for sure and I don't even know if there's a clean edit of some of the stuff I was laughing at.
But also it was really uncharacteristically hot in England. We filmed it in the summer and sometimes we were outside and I learned that I don't have any melanin, I don't think. I've always known I'm pale but I really actually think I'm not built for being outside. I became like a full sunshine diva holding an umbrella.
The pair star opposite Johnny Vegas, who plays boss Alfie
Romesh: There was one point when Katherine completely wrapped her head. I mean, it was incredible. She just mummified her own head with a pashmina.
I think the thing that we found difficult is one of the reasons you get into comedy is to not have early mornings and I don't know how anybody does any acting without looking absolutely exhausted. The start times are insane. And then we were also both on tour at the same time. So we'd often do a day's filming and then go off to do a tour show. Katherine Ryan can sleep anywhere in any position I discovered during the show. We've got various photos during the shoot of her just sleeping on the floor of a train, sleeping upside down on a plane or in a car. She can pass out anywhere. It's an incredible skill.
Katherine: It's a mom skill.
Will there be another series?
Romesh: I don't know if there will be. I can tell you that we've got one. We know where it's gonna go.
Romantic Getaway is available on Sky Comedy and NOW from 1 January 2023.
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