Page last updated at 11:02 GMT, Friday, 18 September 2009 12:02 UK

Peep Show 'won't change' for anyone


Behind the scenes at Peep Show

by Kev Geoghegan
BBC News reporter

The writer of Peep Show insists he hasn't been forced to try and chase ratings as the show returns for its sixth series.

Channel 4 has already commissioned a seventh run of the cult comedy, which puts viewers inside the heads of the main characters, thirtysomething losers Mark and Jeremy.

The show is shot from the point of view of the cast, with the thoughts of Mark and Jez audible as voiceovers.

Since its launch in 2003, the show's ratings have constantly hovered around the one million mark - but writer Sam Bain, who picked up a Bafta in 2008 for best sitcom, says that he and co-writer Jesse Armstrong "don't feel pressure to change the show".

Paterson Joseph and David Mitchell
Paterson Joseph is back as Mark's boss Johnson

Jokingly suggesting that "series six will be the breakthrough series", he adds: "Channel 4 have always been incredibly supportive, a lot of other channels would have cancelled us but they've never done that."

He divulges that his biggest fear is that the show becomes stale.

"Our philosophy is that as much fear as possible is good because if you get complacent then you're dead," he says. "In the first series, it was the fear that the show would be a failure and now the fear is that the show is going to go downhill and become a bloated and bad excuse for itself."

DVD sales

Stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb agree with Bain, that the worst thing they could do would be to dilute the show's more subversive qualities to appeal to the mainstream.

Webb says: "It's a pretty rude show which is going to limit the audience for a start and the style of the show is off-putting to some people.

"It takes five minutes to get used to the fact that people are talking to the camera and if you're not prepared to invest those five minutes, then you won't get it."

He adds: "It doesn't bother us because there are about a million people in this country who really, really like Peep Show and they'll keep watching."

Robert Webb
Webb won Let's Dance for Comic Relief earlier this year

And while the show is not getting record-breaking TV audiences, it has been reported that its continued success, in terms of DVD sales, is one of the reasons for the series being re-commissioned.

David Mitchell adds that "what started as a disappointing audience in the the TV environment in 2003, is actually a pretty respectable audience in the diminished TV environment of 2009."

Neither star will spill the beans on what to expect from series six, other than to say that the issue of whether Mark or Jeremy is the father of Sophie's unborn child is resolved; Jeremy has a new love interest in the form of beautiful Ukranian Elena; and favourite characters Super Hans, Johnson and Big Suze are all back.

Mark's pursuit of flirtatious IT girl Dobbie is also set to continue.

"Dobbie is back and Mark is still pursuing her with his usual graceless ineptitude", says Mitchell.

"But then, is there any other kind of ineptitude?"

Peep Show starts on Channel 4 at 2200GMT on 18 September.

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