Interview: Stephen Mangan on Sky One's new comedy drama, Bliss

Bliss follows the complicated double life of Andrew, a successful travel writer who, through extenuating circumstances, finds himself living between two sets of wives and children whose existences are unknown to each other.


Andrew, in a constant state of moral crisis, must find a way to balance his time and energies between his wife Kim and teenage daughter, while travelling back and forth across Bristol to his other family, wife Denise and their teenage son.

As Andrew's two worlds become ever harder to contain, so does his sanity. And he finds himself going to increasingly drastic lengths to protect the two families he loves.

Stephen Mangan  tells us more... 


What appealed to you about this job?

I’m a big fan of David’s. I love Arrested Development and his stand-up. He is all over my favourite films. He is a very interesting guy. As an actor, you’re always looking for an original voice. A lot of the most successful things I have been involved with have had a unique voice – whether it’s Armando Iannucci or Chris Morris or Victoria Pile or David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik. They all have a very specific world viewpoint and strong direction. I also love scripts that combine drama and comedy, and this does that perfectly. 


Did you enjoy working with Heather?

Absolutely. Heather is great. She’s a fabulous comedic actress. It’s been like having two separate jobs. I’d say goodbye to Heather, have a cry for 10 minutes and then do my scenes with Jo.


How has Andrew got himself in such a pickle?

He’s made a lot of small decisions which are motivated by a desire not to upset people. It’s a kind of cowardly niceness – we’re all guilty of that from time to time. 16 years ago, he took the easy route rather than fessing up. He told a series of white lies; now 16 years down the line, he has two partners, two children and a hellishly stressful existence. I’m not trying to condone it, but it must be so exhausting!


Tell us more…

It’s not a “wey-hey, I’ve-got-a-harem” thing. Andrew is just someone who got a couple of women pregnant and didn’t confess to it at the time. That’s what I love about the way David has written this. Andrew absolutely loves both women – he’s not lying about that at all. When he leaves each woman, he’s heartbroken. He goes around the corner and cries because it’s so stressful. He feels that confessing now would hurt them very badly. But of course, the problem is simply getting bigger and bigger. He is just kicking the poo down the road.


What sort of mental condition is he in now?

He is almost in a psychotic state where he is trying to keep things afloat. In his two secret offices, he has backdrops of different cities, so he can take photographs and pretend to his partners he is in Bratislava or Barcelona writing travel books. He never leaves his office – he just Googles everything so he can write his travel books.


Do you think we will all be able to relate to Andrew’s dilemma?

Absolutely. We all make choices in life, and however much we love someone, we all still sometimes wonder, “What if?


Bliss starts Wednesday at 9pm on Sky One and NOW TV