Author Elliott Kerrigan is speaking about the second series of Boy Meets Girl with one of its stars, Harry Hepple.
The BBC2 transgender comedy was Kerrigan’s first TV job and was commissioned as part of the Trans Comedy Awards, a showcase set up by the BBC Writers’ Room.
Kerrigan remembers: ‘I’d lost my job in a book shop and had been searching online all day when I saw the competition and thought it was a great opportunity for someone but not me. I’m not trans and knew no-one who was.
‘I went to bed hoping for an idea and in the morning woke up with the first page in my head and we didn’t change one word.’
Boy Meets Girl is the story of Judy (Rebecca Root), a transgender woman who falls in love with Leo (Hepple), a cisgender man. It is the first on-screen mainstream depiction of a cisgender/transgender relationship.
Kerrigan says: ‘It was the biggest surprise of my entire life that it got onto television.’
Perfect gentleman like Cary Grant
Hepple remembers that he was the first actor to audition as Leo and wonders whether that ‘had something to do with’ him winning the part. ‘I read the first page of the script and just had to know what happens at the end.’
Kerrigan based the part on his brother and was looking for a ‘Cary Grant, perfect gentleman’. ‘Harry was just the most adorable person,’ he says.
Mum proud to be on TV
The character of Leo’s mother is also based on Kerrigan’s own mum. He says: ‘If you take out the trans thing, pretty much every conversation in Boy Meets Girl has happened in my own family. He describes his mother as a ‘big ball-breaker’.
‘When I came out to my mum as gay she was in the car and almost crashed it. My dad is like Tony (Leo’s father in the show).’
Kerrigan showed them the pilot last Christmas and they watched it ‘like sphinxes’ without laughing. ‘I found out later that my dad was nervous in case it was rubbish – it wasn’t – and then that my mum would be upset. She’s proud she’s made it on to television.’
Hepple says: ‘This was really effortless. I didn’t feel I had to do a great deal other than just say what was written.’
He picks Fawlty Towers as his favourite sitcom. ‘I used to bunk off school and go sit and watch them on constant reruns. I wanted to be Andrew Sachs and be that physically funny.’
Kerrigan says series two has recently been filming episodes one and six simultaneously. He’s also had a meeting about a US remake.
- Picture via Facebook courtesy Boy Meets Girl
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