THE Inbetweeners writers have revealed their new sitcom The First Team and labelled it as a ‘spiritual sequel’ to the cult show.
The new comedy series is about a trio of young footballers and is the latest project from the pair responsible for the popular sitcom The Inbetweeners – Damon Beesley, 49, and Iain Morris, 46.
The First Team follows Mattie (Jake Short), Jack (Jack McMullen) and Benji (Shaquille Ali-Yebuah) and their encounters with the imposing team hard-man Petey (Theo Barklem-Biggs) and the rather unconventional chairman Mark Crane (Will Arnett).
But while the stars of E4 series The Inbetweeners couldn’t be more different from the typical professional footballer, the two shows are more closely linked than you would think.
The pair told Radio Times: “It didn’t come from us thinking we want to make a sitcom about football, we were thinking about making a sitcom about young men – the sort of age up from the Inbetweeners.
“The stakes are higher than when you’re in a teenager in terms of what you can say, what you can do, but also you’re still a little bit between an adult and a child, really.”
They explained further how football became a part of the story they were trying to tell.
“The second phase was… where’s an enclosed work environment to explore that, where people are thrust together who aren’t necessarily friends?
“So that was where the football came from – we kind of approached it as a workplace sitcom but the more we got into it, the more we discovered peculiarities about football that we could exploit.”
However, they added that the aspect of football the show highlights is what the players go through mentally.
They said: “We don’t exactly leave the football on the doorstep, but the series isn’t really focused around football.
“It’s more about those internal struggles – where people sit in the hierarchy of the dressing room, and how they’re coping and what’s happening around them…”
Mental health, especially in football has become a more prominent point of discussion in recent times which has been spearheaded by Prince William.
His BBC documentary titled ‘Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health’ which aired last night, shows the future king’s campaign to get British men to open up about mental health issues by using football as a way to get them talking and to break the taboo around the issue.
Beesley and Morris have teased a reunion and admitted they can’t imagine not working with the cast again.
The creative duo made it clear that they are not done with the cast of the hit E4 sitcom just yet.
The pair are keen to reunite with the lads in the future, even if it’s for an entirely different show.
While speaking with Digital Spy, Morris, 46, joked: “We’ve written and shot two new series [of The Inbetweeners] and a film. We just didn’t mention it before. That’s all done. Maybe we’ll release it.”
He continued: “No, we are… I don’t know, really. Again, I love everybody involved in it so much, and we all still talk, and we’ve got a hilarious WhatsApp group. And, you know, I can’t imagine not doing something with them ever again. I don’t know if it would be The Inbetweeners.”