Jo Brand tells Chris Evans about starring with Suranne Jones in Christmas Carole: 'It was a fantastic thing to do'

Virgin Radio

22 Dec 2022, 11:29

Chris Evans and Jo Brand at Virgin Radio

Comedian Jo Brand joined The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about being in Christmas Carole - Sky’s reimagining of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.

Jo told Chris: “It's obviously a version of the original by Charles Dickens, which really is genuinely one of my favourite books. I’ve always loved it.”

In Christmas Carole - which airs on Christmas Eve at 8pm on Sky Max - Jo stars alongside Vigil's Suranne Jones, who plays Carole Mackay, an outspoken and wealthy entrepreneur who has earned a fortune from her online business selling festive goods. Of Suranne's character, Jo said: “She’s Scroogey, very much so, in the sense that she’s cynical and it doesn’t really matter if you take people’s money off them and sell them rubbish and that sort of thing. But obviously, the ghosts all come and visit her and go, ‘Mmm-mmm, look what might happen to you’.”

Continuing, the Getting On star said: “It follows roughly the plot of the original, but obviously in a modern setting, and for some reason they asked me to be a ghost!” 

Regarding playing the Ghost of Christmas Present, the BAFTA-winner said: “It’s weird for me, because I don’t do many acting jobs at all, hardly ever in fact, so I’m not au fait with that world particularly. I was delighted to be asked. In fact, initially, I said no, because I was quite nervous about it and I thought, 'Surely there’s someone who could do it better, like everyone in the country!' 

“But they persisted, which is obviously very flattering. It was a fantastic thing to do.”

Also in the adaptation are fellow comedian Nish Kumar (the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come), and Mark Benton (Carole’s Dad Leon). Meanwhile, Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel play legends Morecambe and Wise (the Ghosts of Christmas past). Of the latter pair, comedy star Jo explained: “They’re great, and they’ve done the Morecambe and Wise thing for a while. They, in fact, did a show in the West End, I think, which was a huge hit.”

On the appeal of Christmas Carole, the stand-up said: “I never thought I’d hear myself saying this, because I’m not a family comedian, but it’s for everybody, and little kids can watch it and get something out of it. And elderly, grumpy people like me can watch it and go, ‘Ooh, Morecambe and Wise,’ so there’s something in there for everyone.”

During their chat, the Taskmaster star told Chris that she is a kind of reverse Scrooge at Christmas. “I start off all optimistic and by the end I’m really bad tempered,” she joked. 

Explaining that washing up causes her to get especially annoyed on Christmas Day, she continued: “The thing is, it’s the rules at Christmas that you use absolutely every pan, plate, dish you’ve got in your house, so, by the end, you feel like you’re working in a hotel for two hours, doing the whole lot! It just drives me nuts. It just annoys me, the mess everywhere.”

When Chris asked the host of Extra Slice whether she would step into Matt Lucas’ shoes, after he recently quit as Great British Bake Off presenter, she said: “Definite no. They’re not going to invite me.” 

She added: “I love doing Extra Slice. Extra Slice is such a great show to do, and such a laugh, and we have brilliant guests on it.”

When Chris suggested some people watch Extra Slice but not Bake Off, Jo responded: “I don’t want to upset Bake Off, but a few people do say that. It’s like Strictly, I watch the Strictly Sunday night show [rather than the Saturday night show].”

She added: “I like a short version. I want judgements and abuse, that’s what I want, because I’m grumpy.”

Christmas Carole airs on Christmas Eve at 8pm on Sky Max and on NOW.

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or  catch up on-demand here.