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Ghosts Series Four | Interview with Kiell Smyth-Bynoe (Mike)

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Why do you think audiences find Mike so lovable? 

It’s because he’s so long-suffering. People put themselves in Mike’s shoes and ask, “What would I do in that scenario where I can’t see the ghosts?” The frustration is also something that people love. Mike’s exasperation as he tries to see the ghosts and to be in the same position as his wife is very enjoyable to watch. 

What’s the big storyline for Mike in season four?

Series four is about the guest house and trying to create the perfect B&B experience. Mike and Alison are trying to get the best reviews – that is their main goal for the series. In the first episode, they get their first customers, and we see how Mike and Alison respond in their own different ways to praise and complaints.

Presumably the ghosts aren’t too happy about B&B guests coming to stay?

They’ve only just started to accept Mike and Alison! So the idea of having even more people in the house – for Lady Button especially – is really not what the ghosts want. But Lady Button soon gets involved in the guests’ business and has strong opinions on how they’re conducting themselves in the house. 

The idea of being trapped is very topical, isn’t it?

Definitely. We were very fortunate to be able to get series two in the can just before the whole world shut down. And that meant that it was broadcast in September 2020 when there weren’t many shows coming out because things hadn’t been finished or weren’t being made. Being stuck in the house is the theme of the show, so it’s definitely relatable in that sense. That theme has been a part of everyone’s reality in the last few years. 

Why do you think the show has been such a success?

Because there’s definitely going to be a character in Ghosts that you can relate to. One of the characters will be like someone in your family or someone you live with. There will always be a character that will resonate with you. Everyone’s got their favourites and for their own reasons. The show is also full of so many things – stories, backstories, characters, personalities, jokes, different types of humour – that there’s something for everyone.

Is another reason why Ghosts has been such a hit because you work so well as a team? 

Definitely. I genuinely think this show has some of the best comedy performances in the UK. It’s such a delight that we all get to be in it together. It’s just an incredible ensemble of comedy performers who are intent on finding the funniest thing. No one’s there phoning it in or just there for the day rate. Everyone really wants to do their best work, and that is why the show is so funny. We know that if we genuinely make each other laugh on set, we can bring laughs to an audience as well.

Do fans come up to you and say how much they love the show?

Yes. One of the things that is different to any other programme I’ve been involved in is that fans quite often say it’s the only show they watch as a family. Sometimes adults will tell me it’s the only show that their kids will sit and watch with them. That’s one of those times where you go, “Actually, this job is important.” I toy with that myself. I sometimes ask myself if being an actor is important. Some of these things don’t matter at all. But occasionally, you’ll meet someone who says something like that, and you’ll think, “Yes, this job is actually really worthwhile.”

Can you amplify that?

It’s one of those moments where you’re proud of what you do. I know that there are various people in the industry who have different ideas about awards. It’s very easy to be annoyed if something didn’t get the accolades that you think it should have. But I think someone stopping you in the street to tell you your show brings their family together is as high as an accolade as you can get. 

How have you found it working with Charlotte?

She will eat a lot of Monster Munch if there’s a scene where we have to kiss. She’s going to go through a multipack of Monster Munch. I’m talking all ten of them. Take from that what you will. Everyone says, “Oh, she’s such a nice girl.” But they don’t know how much money she spends on Monster Munch, just to get at me! She doesn’t even like them!

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