Interview: Greg McHugh, comedian, actor

Gary: Tank commander

Gary: Tank commander

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THOUGH currently in the middle of filming scenes with Hollywood star and fellow Scot Brian Cox, actor and comedian Greg McHugh has one thing on his mind - the new series of Gary Tank Commander.

Back for season three, episode one has already seen Gary waging his own Battle of the Bulge, when a failed fitness test threatened him with demotion. Thankfully our hero lived to fight another day and writer and star McHugh assures us there’s plenty more laughs to come.

“Gary is going to be put in control of some rather important scenarios, which is, of course, the worst possible situation for him to be in - not that he realises that himself.

“There’s one episode where an MP - played by the brilliant Jack Docherty - comes to visit the barracks at a time when budget cuts are being considered. Sergeant Thompson is meant to be showing him around, but gets injured, leaving Gary in charge of this crucial, crucial visit.”

And there are also some surprises in store, with a “shocking” event in the last episode of the season.

“I can’t wait for it to be on, it’s probably my favourite so far,” promises McHugh. “It’s set at Halloween and the costume department did a brilliant job of making us all look idiotic.

“My costume especially is extremely unflattering, but it will probably raise the biggest laugh of the series. That episode has potentially one of the most dramatic moments too. It’s super-frightening - I think people might be quite shocked. But I’m saying no more - they’re just going to have to wait and see.”

Three years on from the show’s BBC debut, McHugh still can’t believe the response it has received.

“I get tweets all the time from fans of the show telling me how much they enjoy it, or asking when they will be able to see all the seasons where they live. It’s amazing, people have been so nice.

“I still get nervous before the episodes go out. I just really hope people enjoy them. But I never thought I’d be doing more with the character than me and Will Andrews (who will be back again this season playing Cammy, with more Shark World related shenanigans) messing about in my mum’s car. So to be putting out season three is pretty surreal, but in a good way.”

It’s not the only strange experience McHugh has had recently.

“I’ve got a small part in an upcoming BBC comedy series called Bob Servant Independent which stars Brian Cox. I’ve already done one day of filming and I’ve got three more coming up. I can’t wait.

“Doing scenes with Brian Cox is quite something, I was totally blown away. When you’re sitting opposite him you do have to pinch yourself a bit. He’s such an inspiration and a really funny guy too.”

An official screening date for the series, which will be broadcast on BBC Four, is yet to be set, though it is expected sometime over the winter.

However, before that, Greg will also be returning to our screens in the second series of Channel 4’s hit comedy Fresh Meat.

“Another thing I can’t wait for. There’s some absolutely brilliant scenes and storylines. Again I don’t want to give too much away, but I can tell you that Howard gets a new job in an abattoir, decides to do a bit of amateur sleuthing and also may get a little bit of loving... maybe.

“And there’s going to be a new housemate, but the details of that are being kept completely under wraps for now.”

Gary: Tank Commander, BBC1, Monday, 10.35pm