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This interview was conducted over the phone on the 18th February, 2001. The rubbish has been cut, as has the chatter. This is more of a transcript than an interview... this script will be used for a "proper" interview feature in the upcoming SPACED zine.

Nick Lee
Why the hell has SPACED been scheduled up against Angel?!

Edgar Wright
Our repeats on Friday night got scheduled against Buffy, and we beat Buffy. We got twice as many viewers as Buffy. But I don't know why. I must admit, Simon's the one to ask, I haven't really actually seen Angel. We don't actually have any control over what goes on. You can't win at all.
Actually, there was one point in the first series where SPACED and HIPPIES were going to go head-to-head, and it was just ridiculous, and a lot of telephone calls were flung either way.
Basically… it's beyond your control.
For example, Episode Four of the new series goes up against Comic Relief...
In that sense, it's good that we have got a Saturday repeat. It's a shame, because Episode 4 is one of the best, if not the best. But it's ok, because people will still see it, I hope they set their videos. Actually, I spoke to the producer of Comic Relief the other day, and I have worked with him a lot before and I said "Oh, you bastard, you've put Comic Relief up against our best episode", and he goes "Oh, what can you do?". What can you do?

OK, Have you ever been, Do you get recognised in the street? You probably haven't, have you, being director, not on screen.

Er…. No. I once was by somebody who knew me from a schools programme I once did. But never SPACED, no.
Obviously, I'm not in front of the cameras a lot of the time. Other than you guys [the extras, mailing list] knowing who I am… no.

Have Simon, or Jess, had any amusing encounters with fans?

Ah, no, usually, when I've been out with them or Simon, people are really cool about it. So every now and again you'll get people saying "Oh My God…"
But, like Simon was in Virgin Records the other day, kinda buying some stuff, and the guy said, "There's your receipt, do you wanna bag, Oh, and when's the first series coming out on DVD?" - Stuff like that.
But generally, with a cult programme, you tend to get pockets of appreciation everywhere.
The point with the DVD, and the video and stuff, is that it goes past the point of being ephemeral, it's not just once and that's it.
Take the SPACED night last night [Saturday 17th February on e4]...

On e4 they showed the Tim and Daisy trailers, the different ones.
You know, I'm really pleased about having the DVD and stuff, it makes it quite comprehensive and stuff.

You've got all the features of the DVD, have you used it well, d'you feel?

Oh yeah, absolutely, with everything, the video, DVD and CD, we had extraordinarily short notice. Basically, just before Christmas, what happened, Obviously, I've only just finished editing the second series and stuff, and Christmas, it was particularly, up against it, because we had to deliver four of the episodes before Christmas, and we had a meeting with Channel 4 about the DVD, and we thought it was just going to be an initial meeting so me, Simon and Nira went along,and they said "It's coming out on February 19th", and we said "Oh, OK…", and they said we needed to get all the extra footage in before Christmas because it takes six weeks for the BBFC to rate it, you know, to get the certificiate, so, we had this massive rush on, but amazingly, I think with the DVD, we managed to get it all together, all the outtakes together and all the deleted scenes together, and we did the commentary and stuff, and the trailers are on there. Actually, there are a couple of trailers that aren't on there because… Music Publishing, it's a complete and utter mire, and a nightmare in some respects because what will go on TV and Cable won't necessarily go on DVD or CD, things like that. And I must say, I was absolutely dreading the video coming out, because I thought that a lot of music was going to fall through. And, to be honest, I think only one of them did actually. I think in episode two we had to take the "All Seeing I" off, which is a shame. But I was absolutely dreading there would be a lot, lot more. So if anyone watches episode two and says "where is All Seeing I?", it could have been a lot worse.

… how have you been getting on with getting music on… getting it on CD?

It's all done pretty much now although, probably, on the DVD the only thing music-wise we could do is that we had to change one track on the show and a couiple of trailers weren't on there. And I think there were like two trailers we couldn't use. We couldn't use the Cornelius one and we couldn't use the Eyes Wide Shut one. Which we couldn't clear the track for. And it seems pointless putting another track on there, we've just let them out. But there's still 8 trailers on the DVD, and we did all the duff ones as well. The Blair Witch and the Clubbing one...but with the CD, it was more problematic, and there are some omissions and stuff like that. The A-Team never made it unfortunately.
It's an absolute nightmare; there's a couple of things like that that just never made it. The world of music publishing is just so complicated. The thing with the CD as well is that just before Christmas, a month or so ago, I got a friend to put together a test cd of all the tracks and it's kinda funny when you actually sit down and listen to it, the thing is, what works for the show doesn't necessarily work back-to-back on a CD. So things like, Camisra, the clubbing track, actually listening to it on an album is a bit of a hard slog… it's perfect in a club. The other thing with music publishing is you can't actually cut tracks down. You've got the Radio Edit that exists and with the Camisra track it's seven and a half minutes long and it's not particularly designed for home listening. But things like that, that aren't on there. The A*Team was a real bugger, because, erm, because it was just a publishing thing. It was fine for the show… but on CD, we basically mixed together Camisra and the A-Team … and basically, that is kinda like creating a new track, guy doesn't really hold the rights to it.
So, it would be a case of having to clear it with both… the A-Team and Camisra, getting them to acknowledge that it's a new track and stuflf… believe me, it's a nightmare.
The Italian tracks, they were too complicated to clear. I mean, basically, it's just got nineteen tracks on it. The most important one that's on there, that everyone will be pleased about, is the Imperial March. So Fader Gladiator's on there.…
(note - no, it's not. This track was pulled a few days later at the last minute...)
Actually, what's utterly bizarre, I was going to email you about this, is that the "All Seeing I" is on the soundtrack. It's not on the DVD but it is on the soundtrack. I mean, the same with Cornelius, as well, which is one of the trailer tracks that we used. It is on the CD, but not on the DVD.
Unfortunately, in a weird way, it just comes down to timing. The DVD had to be finished before and that's why the CD's postponed slightly, we have to hold out for some more tracks and stuff.
With the second series, unlike the first, we cleared everything for every possible eventuality, in a sense. I apologise if anyone is disappointed that stuff isn't on there.
But otherwise, when you listen to it, you think "This is pretty good, actually", it's got like all the Fantastic Plastic stuff on there, Fuzz Townsend, David Holmes, Cornelius a couple of tracks there from trailers…. Instead of putting Camisra on, we put Synth and Strings, which is the one from the Episode 6 trailer. You know, it's actually a better track… you know, Prefab Sprout is on there… and snatches of dialogue, little snatches of dialogue. It's difficult, the phone rings one isn't in there… it's the way it works out. It's kinda like.. to be honest, what we managed to get together for the Video and DVD, particularly the DVD, I'm actually astonished at how good it looks… with the second series one, you'll love it.
With the DVD, the menu and stuff, it's great, every time you click stuff it gives you a different quote from the show. We did commentaries and stuff like that, we did commentaries for the whole thing… there's a lot of deleted scenes on there.
Who wrote them? We just did them. Well, what we did is like for the first episode is me, Simon and Jess talking about it then with each subsequent episode we have a different guest like Julia [Deakin] came in and Mark [Heap] and Nick [Frost] and Nira [Park].
And so we did it. Katy didn't come in, she was on holiday.
A lot of the time it turns into a bit of a rabble. There's lots of swearing as well .

What would you say is the main difference between series 1 and series 2?

Themes? I don't know, oh, I think maybe there's less about kind of procrastination and more action. They're still aimless, but some of the characters are moving on now and stuff. Like Jessica is not completely tied to the typewriter, she is forced, moneywise, to actually get employment in some respects. And the same with Tim, actually. He has a bit more luck with his career. Rather than just be struggling, you know?
One of the things we found funny about the first series was that because we got Jim and Jason [the comic artists responsible for Tim's cartoons] to do all the artwork, the one kind of flaw in that was "Hey, wait a second, Tim's a fucking brilliant artist."
Why isn't he getting any work?
Anyway, there is kinda a move on… there is a lot of nice references to the first series that you'll love, especially towards the end, actually. I'm sure the fans and stuff will really respond…
But in terms of the tone and stuff, the main things are, it's a bit… it's probably… it's certainly faster, pacier… not that the first series was slow, it's less kinda… there were some episodes in the first series that were less slow than others… maybe episode 3 went slower, certainly, than 4,5 and 6.
And, you know, we were a little bit conscious of… we didn't want to lose any people. Certainly, when you're on Channel 4 or whatever, it's interesting to see how many people switch off during the ad breaks and stuff. And it's quite alarming sometimes. It's alarming, scary, to find out these things. I think in Episode 2 of the First Series, erm.. I did like that episode, I liked the second half, but we found out with the ratings and stuff that like 1 million people had switched off during the break. And… er, obviously, we're not always… well, not displeased, but "Let's not make that happen again". And so, y'know, there are central things like making sure the story has been properly set up beforehand, before the break, keeping it kinda… keep it punchier in some respects, I mean, you know, there's a helluva lot going on which is cool, and I think sorta there isn't so much Playstation stuff in this series actually… we figured we'd dump that.
There's a couple of nice little bits but we didn't want to do exactly… we didn't want it to be exactly like the first series… repeating too much stuff.
And you get to know some of the other characters a bit more. Y'know, more about Mike, Nick's in this a lot more. You just get to learn more about Brian's past and meet their families and stuff like that. Erm… As you all know, Peter is in it again. And it's Bill Bailey, who else?, and some people haven't returned… Vulva doesn't make a reappearance unfortunately, and erm… Sarah is only… she actually did come in, because we're all friends… Sarah is only in a photo in the first episode… she came in to do that especially, as you'll see. So, yeah, there's a lot of new characters anda lot of expansiona dn stuff and I also, think, some people have said they find it moer accessible… I mean, not in a bad way, we certainly haven't dumbed-down at all. Funny thing, they become a bit more sophisticated. I think, maybe the film spoofs are a bit more organic, like they kinda grow out of the plot a little more whereas sometimes in the first series, the spoofs or inserts were kinda like off on a tangent. They were all like thrown in. There appears it just is a silly moment, no bearing later. In series 2, it has a bearing later.

Was it more fun this time round?

No, it was really, really tough.
It was a really tough shoot, a few people who came down on the extras days noticed that. Not only was it more ambitious but also, we thought we'd been cursed… we thought somebody had run over a gypsy or something… I think there's a lot more filming outside and stuff and erm… there was just a lot of stuff. It's not a big big budget show, SPACED, and we ring every single ounce out of it… the value for money on screen is just enormous… a lot people assume it's really big budget… same with the Leage of Gentlemen, really… but it isn't. And what it's really down to is us slogging our guts out… it wan't, it wasn't, I'm really pleased with the finished result… we all are, but it's a tough old shoot. Which is a shame, because it wasn't quite as much fun as the first one.
Not that the first one… not that there was any acrimony and stuff. Just quite tiring.

Did you have any big arguments, big break ups?

We really honest with each other… and so we do row aabout stuff… but basically in a constructive way. It's always to do with the show. And so, y'know, Simon and Jess have had rows… Simon and Jess have rowed with me, I've rowed with Simon, with Jess… we tend to keep it within the three of us to be honest. It's incredibl hard work, and when peole are tired, stressed, passionate, it happens, but it's kinda like, but as soon as you've done the finish product and it works, it justifies the means. YIt's kinda good we are with each other. Things to get done, there's no treading on eggshells, it's pretty much, before, so much revolves around treading on eggshells, insecuriyies, stuff like that, in some respects, we may not see it at the time - it's a good thing we can row. Yeah, it's a good thing we know each other well enough to row. There was an article in Time Out, a making of thing, it was a really good article.… What they see in there is absolutely the case, you can't make an omlette without breaking a few eggs and stuff. But, you know, we're all friends.

Wasn't there the suggestion of an argument at a channel 4 briefing in that article?

It's a strange, I don't remember that as being an argument, we've had worse than that... that wasn't an argument at all. We were doing a press conferences, it was just that for comic effect we were constantly interrupting each other, yeah, I think that was too much. For the record, it isn't usually that way round… she usually talks over me… well, that's my story anyway. Listen to the DVD commentary, you'll see what I mean. She interrupts me about every 30 seconds…
That was a minor thing, it wasn't anything, it was quite a good laugh. We had to do a talk for Channel 4 about the making of the show and it was quite funny.

Could you identify a sister programme, a shared soul?

That's evident of the people we work with… the LoG, Bill Bailey, David Walliams… I think that's pretty evident. The LoG, Black Books, we have affiliations with.
Not just because Nira [Park, SPACED and BLACK BOOKS Producer] produced Black Books, either, y'know. There's a lot of stuff out there, the Royle Family. There's a nice little RF reference in the new series, I won't tell you what it is, we did actually run it past Caroline and Craig before we did it. We know them, and we thought we better ask them formally if it was OK.
SPACED to me sometimes feels like… like in the seventies, the supergroups, different musicians in different bands sorta like, the fact you have got Mark and Simon from the big train, Jessica from the Royle Family, Julia in Alan Partridge, the League, Paul Kaye, David Walliams, Bill Bailey. It's times like that… you kinda feel "this is our generation, right here."

You've had quite a few cameos, are there any you'd like to see in the future?

Well, we were kinda worried a bit about the cameos in some respects in terms of there are some good ones… we didn't want to become too celebby, be overstuffed with too many cameos, and it looks a bit of overblown. So we did have some concerns.
Certainly the most high profileones worked out in a weird way.
You know Olivia Williams, the Sixth Sense?
The reason she's in it she was doing a film with Katy while the first series was on and she said "I love that show, I'd love to be in that."
And we said to her "Would you be in it, would you be in this bit?".
And it's a couple of lines, but it'd be a real laugh if we did it.
In the case of John Simms, me and Simon had met him a coiuple of times at parties and stuff and he always said "Oh, I really like the show, can I be in it?"
And we kinda thought… John Simms is John Simms, do we wanna overshadow it and stuff? And then the idea came up - you'll see in the first episode - sorta, it's a great cameo, I won't give too much away, but he doesn't say anything.

The only person we haven't had in it is steve from the league.
Funny enough I saw him the other night… he said, "Put me in the third series you bastard", but we couldn't have all of them… and it wasn't the right role. It worked for Mark and Reece… The other thing about the second series was ithat it was a scheduling nightmare… but also, to try and schedule, the league and bill bailey, everyone, it was a nightmare.
That's Nira and Karen's thing, but it's also me… "can we do without Bill inthis scene?"
It was very tricky. And Karen and Nira absolutely worked their socks off, they were fantastic. So, yeah.

Any favourite locations?

Ermm… well, we never really think of it like that. They're never glamorous - you were at the Monarch! We were… it wasn't glamorous particularly. The funnest one was… it's a difficult one. They are all difficult in their own different ways.

What was your worst review?

We had some really nasty, snipey ones in the Guardian, the Guide, with series one. That just comes with the territory… the LoG have had bad reviews, everything gets it, gets slated. Humour is entirely subjective.

They've changed their tune.

They have. The best thing to do is not to count your chickens or whatever… you never know. But yesterday in the papers, every single one was good, which is great for us… I mean even from the Telegraph to the Sun, that it just wicked. It's being such a long struggle… today is pretty much my first day off. I finished the edit weeks ago but have been doing trailers and stuff. And tommorow I'm going to go away...Jess, weirdly, enough is in India at the moment, so she's gonna miss the first one going out!

What are usually doing at Sundays on 11 o'clock?

Usually… this I my first Sunday off in about ten months. Usually I'll be watching films, going out for lunch.

What music are you listening to at the moment…?

A lot of the kind of that I like that works for Spaced. What is nice,a ctually, is a lot of the stuff we discovered and a lot of stuff we already liked, I already liked, David Holmes and stuff. There was one band that I really liked that turned us down - the Piscatto 5, a Japanese band.
Once they said "no", I started delving deeper into Japanese music and stuff… y'know, Fantastic Plastic and Cornelius come form that.
But a lot of the stuff just works for SPACED. In the new series there is Scruff, Red Snapper, and… Sons of Silence, it's not solely what I want to listen to.
The Pixies and stuff, it doesn't really fit into Spaced.

Has Guy done any new stuff [for the new series]?

He has done some stuff for the new series. Some of the more eagle-eared listeners will notice that some of it's the same… there's a lot of nice stuff on there. It always a last-minute rush with the soundtrack, what we manage to get together is always quite amazing.

Do you think you will get bigger audiences this time round?

It would be nice, but, you know, I wouldn't be shocked or amazed if we got the same here as on Friday nights. It always was a bit off a buzz… what's scary, is, being on Friday nights, you think "If I hadn't made the show, I wouldn't have seen it."
I'm always out on a Friday night.

We're pleased we've got a repeat at least this time.
And the DVD, Video, e4 help, it's starts making a name.

Actually, the repeats got the same viewing figures as the original series which given the time is pretty good really. And so, we would like moe people ot see it… but, you know, it's never going to be as massive as one foot in the grave, the royle family.
It's got quite a bit a specific appeal in some respects. Y'know… I don't think there's anything wrong in that. There's plenty of shows we really admire… Larry Sanders, Seinfeld, only get a few hundred thousand but they're some of the best shows ever made. So, I dunno. It would be nice, but I'm not banking on it at all.

Is it going out in Europe at all… I mean, I know it's in Finland right now.

Yeah, I don't know… it's on the ABC in Australia, I'm gonna get a list soon, but it has been sold really well. I don't know about the states, I'm not sure about the music side of things.
I know when the league of gentlemen were showing in the states, on Comedy Central, because the slots were shorter - more adverts - they had to cut them down and create two whole knew episodes, so rather than being 12 episodes there were fourteen. Two extra ones were made up… by taking sketches off various shows.

Is it just being shown in Finland in Europe then?

No, I think it is being shown elsewhere… maybe Finland was the first to actually show it… maybe France, Germany… trailers are up in Australia at the moment, on ABC.

Are you going to do return Cameos in the LoG… I know the Doctor's based on you… but are you going to do anything yourselves?

I doubt it!
I don't know, I don't think so.
If they asked… they wouldn't want me, perhaps not Simon.
The Doctor… Reece said he didn't mean it to be like that, but when I came out of makeup… "I'm Like Edgar"
He maintains it wasn't intentional… but that's why they changed his name to Edgar Fish in the book. Look in the map, you can see Nira Park.

It's funny, also, we went to see the League during filming and I was sitting right being Reece and I said "You fucking cunt!".
I was chuffed by that.

Are you into Sci Fi… or is it just Simon?

I'm not into Sci Fi as much as Simon, his preoccupation is Star Wars, the Xfiles, I tend to be more into the horror and action side of things. But, you know, I'm not as completely… I used to like Star Wars and certainly my Brother is more Tim than I am. I went to see the re-releases, I enjoyed them, but I don't own them on video. I don't get compleley hung up on it. I wasn't at all surprised when the phantom menace came out. Bullshit.
Simon was absolutely heartbroken.
You'll love Episode 2, there's a great scene about the Phantom Menace. It's funny, a proper discussion about it.

Isn't Spaced 1 based on Simon splitting up with his ex?

In a roundabout way… it was a long time before the series. In some respects it was.
Y'know, he's over it, he was over it way beforehand!

Did you feel you had something to live up to Series 1 with Series 2?

I know what you mean… it's difficult… it is difficult, with the career thing and the emotional thing… it got more difficult, it was tough writing it, and from my side of things, I had these terrible moods where I was thinking, I was directing scenes as if my life depended on it, making sure it was as good as the first one. It's kinda like, initially, it is difficult… if you've had a success you can get complacent, but you can have a whole set of new problems.
I did tie myself up in knots directing… I worked very intensely, I can't sleep until I got it right.

Do you know much about Simon and Nick's new comedy?

It's only in the development stages… but it's a vehicle for Nick really, Simon is writing with him really. It's not top secret, it's not been commissioned or anything.

Me and Simon are writing something… we are planning to write a film, in the next couple of months, see how it goes.

Were there any highlights/lowlights to filming?

In the second series… there's a fight in Episode 5 which was really fun to do. Funny enough, that was on the first day of filming. It's all to with scheduling again. The League… we had Kevin Eldon in it… these were the only days, everyone was scheduled. There was no way in any other circumstance you would consider doing that on the first day. The Monarch… that was awful… you were there!! [the Monarch being the Monarch pub in Camden. Don't ask. - Ed ]

<back to the album>
I hope people will enjoy it… it's a really good album.
My favourite track is the High Llamas one… Episode 4…

Guess what the first quote on the soundtrack is, on the compilation…?

Nick fails miserably at guessing.

It's "Party Tape, here we go."

Oh, God, I should've known that

One of the tracks on that party tape is… there was an argument about that, but Prefab Sprout, the King of Rock and Roll is on there. Daisy's dance routine…

I think that's a good song, actually. The happy music is on there as well…

Thanks to Edgar for taking time to speak to us, as always.

Copyright © Nick Lee 1999-2002.
Spaced is © Channel 4 Television.