June 26 2015
Liked and remember TV comedy “The Office”? A new Channel 4 comedy drama focuses on an imaginary government office and the people who are forced to work together and have very 21st century responses…
HE TELLS everyone he is Muslim – so he can get more time to indulge himself and routinely turns up to work, drunk, drugged up or shagged out.
It’s no surprise this character, ‘Danny’ played by Sacha Dhawan appears in a new Channel 4 TV comedy drama series, called “Not Safe for Work”.
Oh, and he’s the boss of this fictional government department, known as ‘Immigration Pathway’ and it’s been moved out of London to Northampton because of the cutbacks and has been there just a year.
Dhawan is the main character alongside ‘Katherine’, played by Zawe Ashton, who won plaudits and quite a cult following her portrayal of ‘Vod’ in the Channel 4 hit comedy about students, “Fresh Meat“. In this, she plays a recent divorcee whose past catches up with her very quickly and unexpectedly because of the move.
In essence, all the action and characters are centred around the government office and the transition some have to make from working in London to working out in the sticks.
Dhawan, who isn’t giving interviews to the media, told Channel 4 press: “Danny’s heart is actually in the right place, even though he’s just pretty much ‘wasted’ most of the time. He’s an addict: sex, pills, ketamine, coke, alcohol, weed, sweets, chocolate…the list is pretty endless; you offer it, he’ll probably take it. Giving himself an Islamic name that he can’t even pronounce, he pretends to be a devout Muslim so he bunk off to ‘pray’…in a pub.”
Written by DC Moore, who came through Channel 4’s new talent strand “Coming Up“, the new six-part series is described by the broadcaster as a, “deft portrait of a generation struggling with the realities of 21st century work life and a warm exploration of the camaraderie and friendships that can bloom in times of difficulty”.
Dhawan says his character has a particular depth that may not seem very obvious at first and encapsulates both the comedy and drama of “Not Safe for Work“.
“The comedy comes from the awkward and often uncomfortable situations these characters find themselves in. And the drama comes from the individuality of each of the characters and their own personal journeys,” Dhawan explained. “You’ll laugh at Danny and the situations he finds himself in, but as you step more and more into his world you’ll start to uncover the root to his problem, and the reality of his situation. It’s incredibly moving.”
Dhawan, as with the other characters, was given a lot of leeway in building ‘Danny’ as a credible person.
“(Directors) Kieron Hawkes and Robbie McKillop are talented filmmakers who’ve taken the show to a completely different.
“They were brilliant about giving me the space to be spontaneous, and instinctive, which is important with Danny as he’s so unpredictable,” Dhawan revealed.
There are half a dozen characters whose fates we follow in the new TV series and Dhawan already had a strong rapport with Sam Barnett, who plays ‘Nathaniel’, probably the most normal and undamaged of the group.
Dhawan said: “I’d worked with Sam (Barnett) before in ‘The History Boys’ (a a very successful West End play) and he’s a dear friend of mine.
“The problem with that is when we came to do film our first scene, we just couldn’t hold it together, we couldn’t even look each other in the eye! It was ridiculous! It just felt so weird after doing The History Boys for so long!”
Dhawan can next be seen in ITV’s “Mr Selfridge”, writer Paul Abbott’s new series, “No offence” and “The Interceptor” for the BBC.
Commissioned by Channel 4 head of drama, Piers Wenger, “Not Safe for Work” is made by Clerkenwell Films.
• ‘Not Safe for Work’, the six-part series starts at 10pm, Tuesday, June 30, Channel 4 (UK only).