This Country returns #BigUpTheCotswolds


Words & interview by Gina Akers 

This Country’s new series premieres on BBC 3 today. Our intrepid features writer Gina Akers made her way to a special preview event for the new season and managed to blag an interview with that scamp Martin Mucklowe

It may be cold outside but no need to worry as heart warming comedy is soon to arrive in the form of season 3 of This Country.

A special preview event recently took place on a chilly evening in Cirencester for This Country, but that didn’t the stop over 25,000 excited viewers applying for that all important early glimpse of the first two episodes of the new series.

Only 400 tickets were available and the lucky successful applicants were firstly greeted and introduced to the event by Stephanie Marshall, Head of the BBC in the West and South West.

The audience then got to preview the first two episodes, with a special additional treat of a Q&A session with Daisy-May Cooper (Kerry) and Charlie Cooper (Kurtan), Simon Mayhew-Archer (producer) and Tom George (director).


Now, we’re not supposed to be giving anything away about the new series but what Daisy did say is we can to expect to see more of our favourite Vicar. We can also expect to see one or two new characters including a new best friend for Kerry ‘Griff’.

DIY tattoo fans will pleased that Big Mand is back and rumour has it she’ll be running ‘Big Mand’s Book Club’!

A character very much missed will be Slugs. During the Q&A session Charlie and Daisy both talked about what a loss they feel, and how Slugs became such a big part of the show. Daisy was particularly emotional and it was clear there must have been some very difficult times making the new series. The opening episode of series 3 will feature a “fitting and funny” tribute to Michael Sleggs (Slugs) who sadly passed away last year.

We got to meet some of Michael ‘Slugs’ Sleggs lovely family at the preview evening, who were of course very proud of him, and confirmed that he was just as much a character in real life as he was on screen. They also confirmed that to their knowledge he never did carbonate a cup of tea!

We also met Paul Cooper (Charlie and  Daisy’s Father) who plays the role of Martin Mucklowe (Kerry’s Dad) in the series.

Before the new series starts we caught up with Paul Cooper for some special This Country insights:

So Paul, where did Martin Mucklowe learn his building skills?

From his Da. The only man other than Fred West who could carry 4 bits of 4×4 single handed.

What is Martins favourite TV show?

I’m afraid you will have to wait for series 3. It’s a factor in one of the episodes. He gets very emotional at this popular 90s series.

What is Martin’s favourite cake?

Anything crafted by hand with love and devotion. He has a secret passion for Dundee cake.

He’d clearly make a good Bake Off judge, is he a fan of Bake Off?

Actually, I would disagree with that. Being an alpha male he would hate the opinions of Paul Hollywood and ask him outside ….gypsy rules of course!

He likes seeing how people craft their cakes but switches over when the judges….”spew their waffle”…Martin’s words.

Do you think Kurtan will ever go to college? If so will he be able to avoid TK Maxx on the way there?

Nah, Kurtan had his chance, he’s a loser which is why he hangs around Kerry.

Does Martin Mucklowe believe in random acts of kindness?

Yes, to himself!

Will Martin be leaving prison a new man?

I can’t divulge any spoilers HAHA!! The producer and director would kill me. But Martin’s attitude to Kerry is pretty much as it has been if not worse.

If the Vicar reformed his Christian boyband would Martin want to get in on it?

If there was money or women involved. But I think the vicar’s Christian boy band will be bereft of both

What does the future hold for Martin Mucklowe?

Hopefully he will have his own spin off series called Martin’s Marauders where he and his posse make it their mission to destroy every shop bought cake in the county. This will lead to a closed market which Martin can exploit with his oppo Dan and provide exquisitely baked lemon drizzle and Victoria sponge cakes county wide.

Have you ever tried a carbonated cup of tea? What was it like? Do you recommend it?

It’s the only way to drink tea. If you have never had PG Tip bubbles go up your nose you have not lived!

Does Charlie like ferfaffle or does he actually think it is peas that taste like s**t?

Its not his food of choice but if there was nothing else in the house and Storm Martin was blowing a force 10 outside, he might have a nibble

Do you like ferfaffle?

Would not buy shop bought but the homemade, street food ones at Stroud market are unbelievable!

Have you ever seen the Fox Twins?

There are twins who have been to a couple of the This Country events who are identical, have red hair and look exactly like a pair of foxes so yes!

I heard you were in a band once, can you tell us about that?

From 1975 to 1981. We were called Relay. I was lead singer and bass player. We mainly played around Reading and London. The trouble is we were 20 years ahead of our time and no one understood us. To be fair we didn’t understand ourselves either.

If you hadn’t been working all this time on This Country what would you have been doing? (Don’t say ‘peepin’)

I only do -5 days filming a year if there is a series. The rest of the time I have a day job which is working with people with hoarding behaviours. In my spare time I am a director of a children’s football charity

What will you miss the most about This Country?

Everything, the brilliant script, the fabulous cast and crew and dipping my toe into a fairy tale world for a few days a year. I keep having to pinch myself thinking, is this real?

What’s next for you Paul Cooper?

Well I would LOVE to do more acting but realistically that won’t happen unless Daisy and Charlie cast me in another comedy they might write in the future.

As well as the hoarding and charity work, I am helping set up a mental health football project in Cirencester and Stroud.

The new series of This Country is available on BBC iPlayer starting today.