Tuesday 14 August 2018

'Sex is in the air at all times in this series' - Dawn French cosies up to Après Match star Risteárd Cooper for new series of Delicious

Delicious, Sky One
Delicious, Sky One
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

The image of comedy icon Dawn French and RTÉ’s Après Match Risteárd Cooper getting cosy in bed may be a little tricky to get your head around, yet that just one of the delights served up as Sky One’s Delicious returns to our screens this Christmas.

French and Cooper does not have quite the same ring to it as Dawn’s legendary double act with Jennifer Saunders, but the star of the Vicar of Dibley and one of the heroes of one of RTÉ’s cult sketch shows have struck up a wonderful chemistry on camera.

Delicious, Sky One
Delicious, Sky One

With the characters bonded together by the daughter they had together a couple of decades earlier, the pair are reunited at a time when French’s character Gina Benelli is caught up in a swirl of confusion in the wake of the chaos created by the sudden death of her ex-husband Leo Vincent, played by Iain Glen.

It is a perfect recipe for a rekindling romance and after featuring in some steamy bedroom scenes in series one of Delicious, 60-year-old French is clearly reveling in her role as a mature woman eager to express herself in all areas.

“Sex is in the air at all times in this series of Delicious, it’s true,” begins French, with that familiar cheeky smile etched across her face.

“I love the fact that a 60-year-old and a 40-year-old woman are at the centre of this show, there is sex involving everyone and no one is apologising for it.

Delicious, Sky One
Delicious, Sky One

“We shouldn’t be surprised about that or that we should even make this an issue, but sadly it still is in 2017 and hopefully shows like this will help to ensure it is not viewed as unusual in the future.

“What’s lovely about this show is that the men aren’t the focus of this show but they are very important, so we play this story out through the eyes of these two powerful women and the ‘work’ I do in Delicious makes you realise how strange acting can be.

“It’s an odd thing isn’t it to get up in the morning, have a shower, get dressed say goodbye to your husband and then go to work to get undressed and jump into bed with strange man that your don’t really know and slightly fancy.

“You do think…oh I really shouldn’t be doing this. I’m sure this is illegal, but you are in a room full of people clapping and saying how good it is and asking you to do it time and again! Then you get dressed and pop home to see your husband. There are not many jobs in the world like this.”

Delicious, Sky One
Delicious, Sky One

One of the men Gina shares a bed with in this series of Delicious is the wonderfully elegant Cooper, who told The Sunday World's Magazine+ that he is working with one of his own comedy heroes in Delicious.

“I have always been a huge fan of French and Saunders, so it was a real thrill to get the job on this show,” he began.

“The auditioning process was unusual for me. I was on holiday on Corfu with my family and was asked to send in a video audition for a new Sky One show with Dawn French.

“It all sounded very exciting, so I took my burning Irish skin out of the sun for half an hour, made a video on my iPad, sent it off and was delighted to hear I had got the job.

“It was a great set to work on and they tell me the first series of Delicious was the most watched drama on Sky last year, so it was great to be a part of it and my character plays an even more prominent role in this second season.”

Cooper’s acting credits include roles in numerous plays and high profile TV shows, but he may always be associated in Ireland with his contributions to the Après Match madness that has entertained the nation for two decades.

“It’s always a surprise to me that people are surprised when I appear in a TV drama or a theatre performance because I have been an actor all my life, yet I appreciate that most people in Ireland know me from my appearances on Après Match,” he continues.

“Acting is such a precarious profession and you never quite know where the next piece of work will come from, but I have always tried to keep my options open to any projects that come my way and Delicious has been a joy to work on with some many great people.”

After a storming success of the first series of Delicious during the last festive season, Sky were quick to commission a second run of the comedy drama based around the complex personal lives of French’s character Gina and her one-time love rival turned business partner Sam, played by the glamorous Emilia Fox. 

When master chef Gina teams up with Sam to run the high class Penrose Hotel, sparks fly in every direction, with Cooper’s character stepping into the fray at a time when his daughter Teresa Benelli is battling demons that are pushing her emotions to breaking point.

“I remember the wars I had with my own mum and memories of that relationship come through in the storyline of Gina and Teresa,” adds French.

“I felt like I was allergic to my mum quite a lot of my teenage years! And then to suddenly wake up and say; ‘What am I thinking? This is my closest darling, someone I can completely rely on, someone who has always got my back’.

“Risteárd’s character James has returned to claim his daughter and his position a time when Gina is at a difficult moment in her life. She is a strong woman, but is lacking support when James comes back into her life and an interesting relationship develops, so the combination of events makes for what I hope is interesting viewing.”

Irish actor Ruairi O’Connor also returns for the second run of Delicious, with his well crafted English accent disguising the reality that is, in fact, from Meath.

With the beautiful backdrop of the Cornish landscape providing the canvas for the return of this Sky success story, Delicious is another triumph for the new TV double act of French and Cooper.

Delicious will be back on Sky One from December 29th at 9pm.

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