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Family man is no longer bowling maidens over
Published 27/01/14

IF you had to name a comic less likely to star in an imaginary remake of Men Behaving Badly then Miles Jupp would possibly come to mind. But the urbane theology graduate, who possesses one of the poshest voices in comedy, was known to his school friends as Gary (the character played by Martin Clunes in the Nineties hit sitcom) and admits to a singleton lifestyle for a few years after university. He adds, however, that it was merely to serve his devotion to cricket.

“When I moved to London I shared a flat with a few others and someone would turn on Sky at 7.30 in the morning and it would stay on until 2.30 the next morning,” he says. “I wasn’t working very much then so sometimes I watched a match from first to last ball. Yes, I admit it was a life of takeaways and box sets, but hardly laddish.”

Now Jupp, 34, and his wife, Rachel, whom he met at Edinburgh University, don’t even own a television and, as the father of four young children (including twins born during the London Olympics), the comic’s days of ball-by-ball viewing are long gone, even during the recent Ashes series in Australia.

“I’d like to be able to stay up all night watching but when you have young children that’s not really an option. I can’t sacrifice sleep at the moment.”

He’ll be wide awake, though, when he brings his new comedy show Miles Jupp Is The Chap You’re Thinking Of to the Kenton Theatre, which he describes in typically deadpan style as: “Just me telling stories in a needlessly wordy 90 minutes.”

In it Jupp covers the joys and tribulations of parenting in the modern age — “people describe it as child-centred, but is there any other kind?” — hot drinks, the ageing process, other people’s pants and “things that make me angry”.

That last one comes as a surprise as Jupp is softly spoken and affable.

“My default setting is pretty calm,” he agrees, “but my emotions are quite near the surface and all sorts of things can bring the anger out. It comes from nowhere and goes back to nowhere within five minutes.”

So what sets him off?

“Silly little things. Trying and failing to speak to a human being on the phone when I’m calling a business. Pointless honking by drivers. People who dawdle. Objects being in the way of something I’m reaching for.”

That last one may be something to do with the fact that Jupp recently had to visit hospital after a rough encounter with a phone charger.

“I yanked at it and the metal bit at the end sprang back and hit me in the eyeball. It was like being shot. Now if my wife hadn’t left something on top of it.....”

By the time he gets to the end of the story, though, any irritation has passed and he’s laughing at the memory.

Jupp is known to a generation of children as Archie the Inventor in CBeebies’ Balamory and was named comedian of the year at the 2001 Leicester Comedy Festival, the same year he won the So You Think You’re Funny competition at the Edinburgh Fringe.

He was last on the comedy circuit in 2011-12 with a nationwide tour of Fibber In The Heat, his hit show about how he accidentally came to be a reporter for a newspaper, covering — what else? — an England cricket series in India.

He has been busy, though, in acting roles — in The Thick Of It on the BBC and in Alan Bennett’s People at the National Theatre, and in films, including The Monuments Men, directed by George Clooney. The comic admits to being starstruck: “I thought he might be stand-offish as he’s such a big Hollywood star, but he wasn’t. He was just like everyone else.”

Another project occupying Jupp’s time has been recording the latest series of Rev. He appears in the ecclesiastical comedy as Nigel the lay reader with Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman and it will be shown soon on BBC1. Also coming up in 2014 is the television pilot (on BBC4) of Jupp’s sitcom In And Out Of The Kitchen, first heard on Radio 4, which he wrote and stars in as Damien Trench, a fussy culinary writer.

Is he a foodie?

“I’m into food but I’m not a serious cook,” he says. “Eating and drinking with people you like is one of life’s great pleasures, and when I’m in town I like to find somewhere nice to eat. I’m not the sort to bring sandwiches to work.”

Back to Miles Jupp Is The Chap You’re Thinking Of and the comic reveals that some of it is about his take on current affairs, although, he says, people shouldn’t make assumptions about his views because of the way he speaks.

He also says he dislikes making politics personal. “Calling someone posh as an insult seems to me rather unfair. By all means hate David Cameron for his policies but not because he’s posh,” he says. “Play the ball, not the man.”

• Miles Jupp will be at the Kenton Theatre on Sunday, February 9. To book, call (01491) 575698 or visit www.kentontheatre.co.uk

COMEDIAN Miles Jupp proved so popular in Henley that his one-man show at the Kenton Theatre in February sold out within days. Having announced a second date, he talks to VERONICA LEE about his show, life, loves.... and cricket.

PUBLISHED 27/01/14

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