What do you think Tom is hoping to discover in researching his genealogy?
I don't know if he has an end game. I imagine that he's feeling very lost and more than anything, he's looking to find out who he is -- looking for direction more than answers. He's going to learn that anything is possible if you're a Chadwick.
Speaking of the Chadwicks, how does Tom feel about his family? He's a bit of an outlier...
It's one of those unusual situations where the entire family are black sheep [laughs]. There are no white sheep in the Chadwick clan. He's especially an outlier because he spent half of his time with his mother and the other half with his father, so he never developed proper relationships with anyone in the family.
And his thoughts on Bea?
He loves her, though I imagine they've had the conversation where he's said, "Listen, you're gonna have to do something about this monkey on the end of your hand." But you can only have that conversation so many times. He feels sympathetic towards her, but I'm sure he also feels that this is what happens in this family -- you end up with a sock puppet.
Do you think he fears the same fate for himself?
More than that, he fears for any of his future offspring. There's no way he's going to have a well-balanced child if they hang around the family too often.
The trunk has a led to a variety of interesting discoveries -- including his actor great-grandfather's role in a pantomime horse duo. What was it like to film the derby?
Sweaty. There's nothing more comfortable than secondhand natural fibers [laughs]. It was a lot of fun though -- luckily, Tom Bennett is the kind of person you don't mind being in close proximity with. Because we're both method actors, we came to work and left in the costume. And then spooned all night.
How does Tom feel about his findings?
It's a wonderful distraction from the failure of his own life. He's having a great time and meeting interesting people. He was stuck in a rut before -- getting busy dying rather than getting busy living. So he's living now, even if it's a falsity.
We know Pete's doing his best to set up Tom with a new girlfriend, but he's not hit it off with any of them. What's his ideal girlfriend like?
Ironically, his standards aren't incredibly high. He just wants someone who's not actually insane - someone nice who won't bite him when he's asleep. And a passable knowledge of the real world would be good.
And his ideal job? Does he have a future in bouncy castle risk assessment?
[Laughs] I wonder what he would end up doing if he could do anything? I'd like to think at the end of his search he comes back to London and becomes a genealogist.
This show is largely improvisational -- had you done that kind of work before?
To some extent, everything I do has bits of improv in it, but it's generally like a bonus at the end of a scene. I'd never done anything where there's no written dialogue, so that was very intimidating. Terrifying, to be honest. You're doing a few different jobs -- you're trying to be funny, obviously, but you're also carrying a lot of story. In this, I'm also playing the straight man. So it's tricky but a great challenge.
Is there a particular scene you've enjoyed playing this season?
I love the dates -- the woman collecting the bones in particular. I loved playing how sad I was that this is what my life is now. Now that I'm single, I'm going to wind up with people who talk about bones all the time. I thought it would be really funny if I just started crying about it, though I'm not sure if it made the final cut.
Do we get to see Tom on anymore dates?
I don't think so, but there may be more of a relationship...he may meet someone more sane later in the season.