Kiell Smith-Bynoe is Mike in Ghosts

21st September 8.30pm, BBC One

6 episodes. All episodes available on iPlayer



Returning to the role of Mike in the successful BBC comedy, Kiell Smith-Bynoe admits he was pleasantly surprised that Ghosts is bringing families together…

"I was mostly surprised by the older couples who have approached me. I have only been approached a few times by people in the street but it was always older couples that had been watching it with their families. There was a really nice story a lady told me about how it was the only time that all of her family would sit down and watch TV together was to watch Ghosts on Monday nights. Things like that are really nice to hear.

"I knew the guys who wrote it had a big fan base but I wasn’t aware of how big until we went to the screening for series one at the BFI and all of their fans were there. There was a huge queue going around the building to get photos. That’s when I realised how big the following is for their work.

"I guess it’s been popular because it is not too scary or adult for the younger viewers and it is silly enough that it has heart. It is something you can enjoy all together, whatever age you are. There are so many characters that even if, for some reason, you don’t like one there are going to be another four or five you love."

Unlike Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) Mike cannot see the ghosts. Kiell admits that pretending not to see all of these hilarious characters is one the biggest challenges he’s faced as an actor...

"I will say that it is the hardest thing I have ever done. In the first series I was really concentrating on it because I knew how difficult it would be, the second series I have found it slightly easier but after the break in between filming series one and two it was something I needed to work on getting back into.

"There were definitely a few times this series where I looked straight at Lady Button (Martha Howe-Douglas) without thinking. It is especially tough because we all get along on set and quite a few of us stay down there when we are filming in Surrey and it wasn’t like everyone finishes and goes to bed, everyone had dinner together and stuck together. So it was a very friendly and a nice big group, a mad friendship group and if you are laughing and joking between takes it is easy to forget, when you start rolling, that you can’t look in their direction.

"Everyone on set is also extremely dedicated to making people laugh. Certainly Mat (Baynton), Jim (Howick), and Simon (Farnaby) are always trying to think of something funny that may make everyone corpse. It makes the show because it makes everyone on set laugh and it does the same for the audience."

Kiell discusses what it has been like working alongside Charlotte Ritchie...

"Charlotte is one of the best people I have ever worked with, although I would never tell her. I honestly think she is so focused when it comes to being on set, she know exactly what’s happening, even though we don’t shoot in order she knows what comes before and what will come after, whereas I am like ‘wait, what have we just done?’ She is really great. I have made a lot of jokes about how terrible she is to work with but I’ll admit it now, it’s all a lie."

So are there are any similarities between them and their characters?

“I think that I can be similar to my character in that I can go into a daze a little, Mike does that, goes into a daze and it is easy to do that when you’re talking to nine people you can’t see.

"I guess with Charlotte, well she can sort of talk her way out of anything and Alison has constantly got to cover up the fact she is talking to these ghosts and she just does it very well… although not as smoothly as Charlotte does, she is great at talking her way out of any hole she has dug, That’s an improv talent, I am still learning how to do that."

Without giving away too much, Kiell sets the scene for where we pick the show up in series two...

"Mike and Alison are preparing to have a wedding at Button House; the plan is to get the house into an agency and be available to book events. The whole series we spend preparing and we get the confirmation that a wedding is going to happen so we start planning for that. We still have the same issues of the house being a mammoth task to manage but we know we have money coming in from the wedding eventually so we want to make it the best it can be. So there is a lot of us running around trying to do all of that whilst Alison is also on ghost duty."

Kiell discusses filming in that incredible house and what it adds to the show...

"I don’t think the show could be replicated anywhere else. We couldn’t do it in a studio; it wouldn’t have the same feel. The fact we can walk through the house and find a new room is so exciting. I still don’t think I have seen every part of the house and we have filmed there for two years.

"The house has so many amazing props and there is much more use of the things that are within the house in this series. Obviously the ghosts can’t pick them up but there are a lot more references to what is around us. We have an episode where there has been a party and in the morning the house is in disarray and is a complete mess and seeing the ghosts interact with that and Mike and Alison having to deal with the clean up job is very amusing."

Despite being a big fan of filming in this house, when asked if he would spend the night alone there Kiell was abundantly clear…

"Absolutely not. With a house like this there has got to be a ghost or two running around and some hauntings going on but I haven’t seen anything. I would quite like to. It would be really interesting to see and know if there was something on the other side. I say I’d like to but I’m sure if it did happen I would have a heart-attack."

Source BBC One

September 21, 2020 11:40am ET by BBC One  


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