Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon

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  • The hint of romance is only bolstered when you ask how they met. It all started with a crush from afar, albeit a professional one: in the early ’90s Brydon had performed improv with Julia Davis (who later made ‘Nighty Night’); by 1998, she was on tour with Coogan who, Brydon says, ‘was doing exactly what I wanted to do. I mean, I was doing voiceovers and there was this man doing character comedy – and doing it brilliantly well – and I just thought, “Well, this is what I want to do”. I’d already bought tickets to go and see his show and I went and saw Julia afterwards, went to the hotel and met him. And it was a big deal. I should really play this down and appear cool but it was a big deal, I must say, to meet him.’ Coogan was less impressed. ‘I don’t remember him,’ he deadpans. ‘I bet you don’t, do you?’ Brydon laughs. ‘I bet you genuinely don’t.’

    Coogan demurs: ‘No, I do remember meeting you, I do. I do remember Julia introducing me to a friend of hers who was Welsh, and about your height…’

    RB There’s a fair chance it was me… Then I contrived a meeting with you where I met you in the pub.

    SC Yeah, that was weird.

    RB Yeah. Well, no, it was industrious on my part. ’Cos I’d given Julia this tape of different characters that I’d done…

    SC Oh, that’s right. I was going to the toilets and you came round the corner and went, ‘Oh, hi!’

    RB I did not do that! I did not do that. I used to do a radio show down the road from where he was…

    SC Came out of the cubicle – ‘Oh, hi!’

    RB …and I hadn’t heard anything back after she gave him the tape, and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll go and put myself in a place where I might see him’. So I went to the pub, ’cos I knew he would be at the pub ’cos this was in the days when he still had a bit of a…

    SC Pub thing, yeah.

    RB And anyway, he came over to me and said he’d seen the tape and that he really liked it. And again, I should play this down but it really meant a lot. Because once you have a little bit of success you kind of forget, but in those days it seemed impossible to be in that kind of comedy world. I used to watch the Comedy Awards and go: ‘How on earth do you get into that world?’ It just seems completely inaccessible, like another planet. So it was a big deal. So he came over, said he’d seen the tape, la-la-la, and it all kind of went from there, really.

    The next project?

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