TV Quickfire: Romesh Ranganathan takes comedy into courtroom for new show
All rise for Romesh Ranganathan – the 40-year-old comedian has undertaken to settle spats in new courtroom series Judge Romesh. Gemma Dunn finds out more
WHAT APPEALS WHEN IT COMES TO PLAYING JUDGE?
Zero prep. No, I just thought it was a funny idea. When you watch these other judge shows, you think, 'They've got too much expertise', so it just felt like it would be a good thing to go and rule against people because they've got an annoying voice, or they're just a p**** or whatever. It's such a simple and funny idea.
TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE COURTROOM CASES...
Shaun [Ryder] and Bez [Mark Berry] came on and had a genuine issue. We also had Duncan [James] and Antony [Costa] from Blue. The reason Blue came on was because when they won the Brit for Best Newcomer, Antony was drunk, so Duncan took his award and displayed it in his toilet. Antony was moving house and wanted it back. So as you can appreciate, that's quite serious.
WHAT ABOUT SHAUN AND BEZ?
So basically what happened was they were living together – this is from years ago – and every time they got a giro cheque, one of them would give the money to the other. They would put the money together and alternate payments or something. But while every time Shaun got his money, he would share it with Bez, every time Bez got the money, he would disappear for three days and come back and say he lost it. So Shaun was trying to claim for that, basically.
DID YOU UNDERTAKE ANY LEGAL TRAINING AHEAD OF THE SHOW?
No. If anything, I felt that would damage my ability to do the job, because I wanted to work from instinct. Anything like facts or genuine competencies, I didn't want to pollute my judgment. It's all about having real cases and while some of them were more trivial than others, they were genuine grievances, which makes it more fun.
YOU'RE A FATHER OF THREE – HAS THAT LENT ITSELF TO YOUR JUDGING ROLE IN ANY WAY?
Well actually, being a father slightly inspired me to do Judge Romesh. One of my kids had an altercation at school with another kid and we were called in to deal with it. The teachers were saying, 'We need to sort out what's going on with these kids', so they called all the parents in and called the kids in, and she said to the other kid, 'Did you do it?' And he said 'No'. And then said to my kid 'Did you do it?' And he said 'No'. And she goes, 'Well, what we can do?' I don't understand why we have to rely on evidence, so I thought that's something I would like to take into a court – instinct. Shoot from the hip.
YOU CAME TO COMEDY AFTER EIGHT YEARS OF TEACHING. DID TEACHING HAVE AN IMPACT ON YOU AS A PERFORMER?
I think so. There are loads of teachers that become comedians, but teaching obviously has a lot of parallels. For example, in terms of when I first started doing stand-up, I wasn't as nervous as I otherwise might have been, because if you've done fractions with Year 9s, Friday, Period 5 – those skills transfer across. But coming into comedy from something else, you always feel very grateful to be doing something as much fun as this.
YOU'VE ALSO CO-WRITTEN AN UPCOMING SKY ONE SITCOM. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US?
It's autobiographical. So, my dad passed away seven years ago and he ran a pub that we inherited, so the sitcom is based on that. In reality, my brother and I tried to run it for a few months, and it turns out we're no good at it. But in this, my character tries to give it a go.
:: Judge Romesh starts on Dave on Wednesday August 8.