A couple of weeks ago I did the final day of editing on the final series of People Just Do Nothing.
In your head, you’d think you’d be in the pub at lunchtime on the last day reflecting on a few years work – in reality we’re always in the edit til the last minute trying to tease as much as possible from the material.
We did manage to fit in a suitably awkward final day cutting room photo though.
It’s been a fairly unique job from start to finish though. I’ve cut every episode of every series which is fairly unusal in the freelance world. But a lot of the production team is also the same now as series 1.
Jack has directed every episode, Jon has produced or been the exec producer across it all. On location, in camera, sound and art departments the crew have been consistent across several, if not every series. It’s rare to keep so many people across so many series. Plus, Steve, Seapa, Hugo, Asim, Lily and the rest of the performers have come up with a series every year, for 5 years, without a gap.
The trajectory of the show is unusual as well. To have started as webisodes and then land a BAFTA a few years later doesn’t happen that often. It feels like all that has been achieved without the show losing the essence of what was there in the first youtube clips. And then for Kurupt FM to turn into a live (very good) touring show would have seemed implausible a few years ago, but it’s all happened.
Each factor is rare, but taken altogether it’s quite remarkable.
The show has been compared to various other comedies, Only Fools & Horses, Dad’s Army, The Office, Spinal Tap and there are elements of all those in there. But everyone sees something slightly different in the series which is part of what makes it special – the ensemble of characters allows it to perceived in different ways – viewers connect with it in their own way and have their own favourites.
My pet theory on ‘why it works’ is to do with friendships. Steve, Seapa, Hugo, Asim etc have all been mates for years – long before making a TV show came along. So when they veer off script in scenes it can often get much funnier – they all know where a joke could be going from hanging out as mates for years – and then in the moment they pursue it, try and out do each other, and find something way funnier than you could have wriiten down. There’s some A* examples of this coming up in series 5.
In real life, as so often with old friends and family you’ll find yourself laughing hard at something and have no idea why – it’s that thing that shared history and friendships have.
So when you’re watching PJDN you’re watching both a real, and a make believe (on screen) friendship play out. It’s hard to articulate exactly what it is, but there’s something extra going on in the scenes and as a viewer you sense it.
It’s kind of like, you’ve been invited to pull up a bar stool with a bunch of very funny people, you’re immediately accepted and spend the night giggling your head off.
The new series is released / dropped / transmitted from the 12th November.
Fingers crossed we’ve got it right.
*** Updated Sat 27th Oct ***
Having posted this page last night I picked up a newspaper this morning to find this:
It’s a Guardian journalist having a go at trying to describe the same thing I was (but I did it first, so he copied me right…)
It’s reminded me, quite often in the cutting room on PJDN you can get trapped trying to explain why something is funny up until someone says ‘don’t analyse it’ – meaning there’s no point, just enjoy it.
The full article can be read here.