Thursday 24 May 2018

Lee Mack: I nearly cancelled Not Going Out over alcohol advertising

The comedian no longer drinks himself, and is concerned about alcohol advertising on TV.

Lee Mack
Lee Mack

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

Lee Mack has revealed he threatened to cancel his BBC sitcom Not Going Out because it gets sponsored by alcohol brands when it airs on commercial channels.

The comedy series, created by Mack in 2006, is originally broadcast on BBC One and is also shown on UKTV channel Dave.

Mack, who is am ambassador for Alcohol Concern, told Radio Times magazine: “We make it on the BBC, but then it ends up on commercial channels, and is heavily sponsored by beer.

“This is my life. I spend 10 months a year doing this, and suddenly I feel like I’m in a brewer’s marketing department, and my work is being used to sell booze.

“I said, unless that stops, we’re not going to make any more.”

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Lee Mack

But, he added, that it then “became complex” and “it turned out we were contractually obliged”.

He said: “So I said, ‘All right, we’ll move it on. We’ll change the name of the show, we’ll make a new one’.”

He added that he would have done it, “but then Dave relented”.

Mack said that he no longer drinks alcohol himself because he “just decided to pack it in”, but that he is “not opposed to the consumption of alcohol” in general.

“I’m opposed to my kids watching TV at seven o’clock and being told to bet and drink,” he said.

Of no longer drinking alcohol, he said: “I don’t miss it at all. It’s funny, because when you tell people you’ve stopped drinking, there’s an automatic reaction. People ask, ‘Was it a lifestyle choice or were you waking up in a skip?’.”

He said that he “would have been regarded as a ‘normal drinker’.”

“I’ve had a few wasted days where you go, ‘I’ll stay in bed today; I had a bit of a session last night’, but I mainly just got fed up with the overkill of it in society, the way it’s thrust down our throats.”

Not Going Out, written by Mack, sees him play a fictional version of himself opposite Sally Bretton, who plays his wife Lucy.

Lazy layabout Lee and his long-suffering flatmate Lucy tied the knot at the end of series seven, and they now have three children together.

The series returns for a ninth series in March.

Radio Times is on sale now.

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