Following on from the cult-like success of his first lead role sitcom, Cuckoo, Greg Davies hit back back in 2013 with another comedy story to tell in his latest offering, Man Down. The show gets even larger than Greg’s significant frame and writing talent when you take into account the fact that he also managed to get legendary comedian Rik Mayall to star alongside him as his dad in the series.
Having been described by many as “the fat Rick Mayall” or “the oversized Bottom love child” (OK, that last one is a rumour we’re spreading), the long standing joke finally turned into a sort of perverse reality as the vague lookalikes played father and son. With a BAFTA nomination already in the bag for Best Male Performance In A Comedy Programme for Cuckoo and subsequently with the added clout of Richie in the show, Man Down had a lot of positives to go on to be as outlandishly big as Greg’s mammothian rotund.
The show was commissioned by Channel 4 for a 6 episode run in the first series in 2013 and was added to by a seventh episode in the Christmas special that aired on the 25th December 2013. Filming began half way through the year, so we all had to wait until the colder months to get a glimpse of the two behemoths of the comedy world working together.
We had our hearts set on at least one occurrence of Rik inadvertently smashing Greg in the chops with a heavy frying pan and while that didn’t ever come to pass, we did get to see him mauling Greg in a bear suit, but you can read our Man Down review to find out more about what we thought of the show overall.
As well as writing the sitcom, Greg is also the main character, starring alongside Rik Mayall. The story surrounds his character, Dan, a teacher who still struggles with the realities of grown up existence as his love life falls apart. He hates his job to the extent that he’s genuinely unable to remember ever applying for the role, and if that isn’t enough, he also has a set of “problem” friends, Jo and Brian, to contend with, played by Roisin Conaty and Mike Wozniak, as well as his incredibly flawed relationship with his difficult dad (Mayall).
A lot of people will recognise Greg as the surly teacher from The Inbetweeners, but you may also know him as one of the three brilliant comedy buffoons that make up We Are Klang. There’s definitely a schoolyard theme to Greg’s comedy, but the fact that his first career, before he began in comedy, was as a secondary school English and Drama teacher explains a lot (surely, he must have eaten at least a few of the kids whole).
During the same year, the man mountain was also on tour with his solo stand-up comedy show, The Back of My Mum’s Head, which had been announced to feature four new London shows to extend the run of his stand-up tour dates in Autumn 2013 at the London Southbank Centre. The additional dates took place between the 16th and the 19th December 2013.
On a deeply sad note, Rik Mayall died at the age of 56 on the 9th June 2014, making Man Down one of his last comedy productions. However, the show continued with a Christmas special, called Finding Nesta, on the 23rd December 2014 and Channel 4 aired the first episode of the second series on the 1st June 2015.