The Cockfields: Ben Rufus Green interview

He’s a comedian from Canterbury whose sketch comedy videos are all over the web but his brilliant turn in The Cockfields will bring him to a whole new audience. We caught up with Ben to find out more about the making of the show and his celebrity-obsessed character.

Ben Rufus Green interview

What made you want to sign up to this project?

The script, and the character. As soon as I read it I thought, "This is a version of me". My wife says I'm very optimistic. I think I've got a bit more competence and confidence than David. But as soon as I read it, I thought it was a good fit. I knew what I wanted to do with it and how I wanted to act it.

Can you tell us a bit about David?

He's very optimistic and smiley and it's quite infectious actually. Sometimes my face would ache at the end of the day from smiling so much but it was rather lovely.

He's obsessed with celebrity. They're not top tier celebrity, though, they're more accessible than that. We haven't met any of David's friends so I'm not sure how many he has. Maybe he seeks friendship from the TV. Maybe he views daytime TV stars as his friends.

We don't ever see him being nasty which is quite refreshing. There's no agenda there. He's just interested and enthusiastic about everything. He got sacked from his job which is a bit sad. He doesn't seem too phased but life hasn't been that kind.

Do you think the situation of meeting a new partner's parents will resonate with audiences?

Oh, definitely. The mum character played by Sue is brilliant because it is such a stressful situation. The mum is on best behaviour and it's relentless tweaking: more pillows, best crockery, all of that fussing.

The level of detail in the script is amazing. For example in one scene, Melissa doesn't like the smell of "egg" and in that scene, the word "egg" is used so many times, it's absolutely hilarious. Nigel Havers being deadly serious about moving the eggy smell away from Melissa is absolutely brilliant.

Then another time Donna brings a sausage roll into the house and there's a bit of a power struggle about that because Ray doesn't like it. There are these tiny little things that are a real symbol of the intrusion of a couple coming to stay in someone else's home.

What was it like to act with the rest of the cast?

This is my biggest gig ever! Now and again I'd think, "I can't believe I've got a scene with Bobby Ball in a minute" but I had to park those thoughts at the back of my mind because it would be overwhelming otherwise. They're all very established and then there's me in there. It was a dream job. The mood was constant comedy. There'd be some silliness in breaks but we were all very professional when we had to be.

How long can you spend with your family before you go a bit potty?

I find that as soon as you get there it's a bit jarring but you soon get used to it. The first couple of days you have to get used to their way of doing things, but by the end of the week you're thinking, "Oh, I don't want to go home now". The longer it goes on, the better it is. I think about a week is peak good times. You have to recalibrate and get used to Mum looking after you again, or whatever, but then it's fine.

What's been your experience of meeting your wife's parents, and vice versa?

I remember meeting my wife's mum. I had a line that I was going to say, which was, 'Ah you must be Emily's sister", but I fluffed it. I think someone coughed as I was saying it, and she didn't quite hear me and said, "Sorry, what was that?", so my smooth operator line didn't work out.

When I met her mum, we got to the house first and the key was under the mat. Her mum had been at a party, had a bit too much champagne and she came in and was very excited and the champagne had loosened her inhibitions. But that was okay. She wasn't that different to how she is normally!

Have you ever stalked a celebrity like David does?

I must have done! I can't remember. I did see Mark Kermode the other day and I love films and I love him, but I did the coward's thing of taking a picture of him as he was walking away. I sent it to some friends with the caption, "Who's this?" I love a bit of celebrity spotting but I don't normally go up to them. I did have my picture taken with Bobby Ball though. He's a legend.

Which celebrity's house would you most like to go and spy on?

Maybe Jerry Seinfeld. I'm quite interested in him. Ricky Gervais. All the rich ones. I'd like to go and see their nice facilities. Or I've recently turned vegan so maybe I'd go to a vegan's house for some nice snacks.