Neil Morrissey teased Men Behaving Badly return before co-star’s ‘woke’ fears

Caroline Quentin on Men Behaving Badly return

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The 58-year-old is currently among a star-studded cast in the fourth season of BBC drama The Syndicate, which aired last night. Morrissey portrays Frank Stevenson alongside Coronation Street’s Kym Marsh, YouTuber Joe Sugg and Inbetweeners’ actress Emily Head. It follows the journey of a group of five members from a betting syndicate that wins the lottery.

The Stafford-born actor has become one of the country’s most recognisable, and loved, stars, and is known throughout the ages for his roles in shows such as Line of Duty and The Night Manager, as well as voicing children’s TV character Bob the Builder.

During the Nineties, though, Morrissey became a household name as he teamed up with the cast of Men Behaving Badly, during the show’s second season.

Ever since the last season 23 years ago, there has been a clamour for the sitcom to return, and for Morrissey to bring his character Tony Smart back to life.

During an episode of ITV’s Lorraine, Morrissey admitted he was up for bringing back Men Behaving Badly – as were his co-stars Martin Clunes and Leslie Ash.

But Clunes later claimed he wasn’t sure modern society’s “woke millennials” would be ready to watch the antics of the laddish comedy.

Morrissey was addressing demands from viewers, and he told Lorraine Kelly: “If there’s a script – because in my game everything starts with a script – and if the script is good because Martin and I and Leslie have all said of course we’ll do it.

“So we need to get Simon Nye [the show’s creator], nail him down and get him to write a series.”

Morrissey starred opposite Clunes, who portrayed the character Gary Strang in the sitcom, which followed the men and the antics they would get up to in their flat.

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Their two frustrated girlfriends, played by Ash and Caroline Quentin, would often find themselves in the thick of their escapades before the show signed off with three specials in 1998.

Although Clunes would be up for getting the show back on screens, he told ITV’s Loose Women last year that he wasn’t convinced the characters would relate, necessarily, to an audience of the Twenties.

The 59-year-old: “I don’t think that sort of subject matter would go down terribly well with the current woke millennials, especially given that we’ve advanced in years.

“It would just be pretty hideous dirty old men talking about Kylie Minogue’s bottom!”

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In 2019, reports of a possible new season began to gather pace, and in two separate interviews, Clunes and Quentin both addressed them head on.

Quentin told the show: “It was probably about ten years ago I said if it were to happen.

“But I have to admit now I think there’s something rather spooky about four people nearly in their sixties sharing a grotty flat together.

“I don’t know where the comedy would come from.”

Clunes himself joked that the rest of the cast hadn’t aged as well as him, and claimed the reports were “the first he had heard” of a potential reunion.

Nye, who co-wrote the animated film Flushed Away, said in the same year that he would never “say no to the idea of revisiting” it and claimed two older men in a flat could still bring some laughs.

He told Digital Spy: “Men do share flats together when they get older.

“So the idea of these two men circling back and finding each other… there’s a lot to say about that sort of thing.”

However, he was also concerned that revisiting the show could ruin its legacy, but concluded: “Maybe in another form… perhaps the musical is the way to do it?”

The Syndicate aired last night on BBC One and is available on BBC iPlayer.

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