Sandylands interview - Simon Bird (Nathan Wild)

Simon Bird plays Emily's former childhood crush, sweet but spineless copper Nathan Wild.

Simon Bird (Nathan Wild)

What prompted you to say yes to Sandylands?

I loved the scripts. It's so refreshing to read comedy scripts that have lots of jokes. It feels like a throwback - in a very good way. When I heard the names involved - David Walliams, Hugh Bonneville, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Sophie Thompson - I was amazed. It's like a Who's Who of British comedy. How could I say no? I was very flattered to be asked.

Can you run through your character for us?

Nathan is probably the most ineffective police officer in the country. He's really not cut out for the force. He's sweet, but definitely not to be trusted with a taser or a pair of handcuffs. He's a scaredy-cat and whatever the opposite of a ladies' man is. In fact, he's very similar to a lot of other characters I've played! I don't know what that says about me. Well, I do, but I don't want to dwell on it. Next question!

Did you do a lot of research into playing a police officer?

Absolutely not! I didn't go full Method with the po-po on the mean streets of Hackney. There's not much crime to fight in Sandylands. There is one pesky teenage graffiti artist who is Nathan's nemesis, but Les's disappearance is the first time the local police have ever had to deal with anything serious. Nathan is totally out of his depth and completely panics.

Can you explain Nathan's relationship with Emily?

Immediate obsession. It's the first time a woman has ever given him the time of day, so he is instantly all-in.

What does Emily see in him?

There's not much else going on in Sandylands! When your only social option is Chino's club, you latch onto anyone your own age. That's what Emily does with Nathan.

How was the experience of working with Natalie Dew?

Amazing. I loved our scenes together. She has such a big job holding the whole thing together, especially when there are so many cameos. She has to give the show heart and make sure people are invested in the story. She has to lead viewers through this wacky hall of mirrors, and she does that brilliantly.

What does the seaside setting add to Sandylands?

It's fun to do a sitcom that is not set in a generic suburb. Sandylands is beautiful, but it's also a bit run-down. It has a faded glamour to it. A lot of people there feel like they're big fish in a small pond, which is always funny.

Tell us about some of your colleagues on Sandylands.

I had a few scenes with David Walliams and he's quite talented it turns out. Yes, I predict big things for that young man. I think he's got a real future in this business. Sanjeev Bhaskar is totally lovely and charming and brilliant, too. I didn't get to meet Bonneville sadly.

If the show were recommissioned, does it have mileage for further series?

Definitely. There's great potential for more. There's a whole world of - I don't want to say weirdos - but weirdos still to explore. It's like Royston Vasey, slightly cut off from the rest of the world. This place is full to the brim with great characters. We've only just scratched the surface.