If you are not familiar with Rotherham actor Ryan Sampson’s character in Brassic, the summary of a recent episode just about sums him up: “Meanwhile Tommo hatches a plan to steal some erotic furniture.”
The Sky original is an edgy new comedy drama co-created by Joseph Gilgun and BAFTA-winning writer Danny Brocklehurst. It recently returned for a second series, reuniting a gang of friends for even bigger and bolder misadventures around the fictitious rural Lancashire town of Hawley.
Sampson is already well known for his loveable slave character, Grumio, in ITV2’s sitcom, Plebs, and, as sexually-liberated Tommo, he has earned more storylines and screentime in series two of Brassic.
Here’s an interview with the former Wales High School pupil to promote Brassic 2, which is on Sky One and NOW TV.
Why do you think it has become such a hit?
I think because it feels super colourful and super weird, but real at the same time. The characters feel really real, and I think that combined with the fact that it’s kind of extreme, it’s just a winning combination.
Did you feel any pressure going back this series?
No, it was the opposite because we were really excited about getting stuck in. Also you get the scripts and realise it’s even better than the first series, so it was just more exciting to get started. Series two is more extreme, more dangerous, and more ridiculous!
Tommo is such a random character, how easy was it slipping back into his kinky, sex loving shoes?
He’s sort of based on a couple people I know, so that helps a little bit, and other than that, when you get back in his track suit, it soon comes flooding back to you!
Is he still involved in the sex business or has he changed a bit this series?
Oh no, he’s still into all that kinky s**t! But I’ve brought out this new side of him because when you get with a character like this you can’t just play one side to him. What I think emerges this time around is that he’s got this really angry, sort of repressed rage in him that every now and then flashes out a little bit in a kind of hilarious way. So, comes out really bad on Carol’s gran, who he ends up bumping off and leaving on the side of the road!
Wait, he kills someone?
He’s not gone all serial killer on you, it’s a bit of an accident! He gets a bit angry and something happens which leads to the death of Carol’s gran! I just thought we needed to have this edge to him. He’s this really aggressive businessman who will get there at all costs, and if he doesn’t get there, if there’s something in his way, then he’s likely to sort of explode verbally.
Has he still got his sex dungeon this time around?
The sex dungeon is running as usual, but it’s not featured very much in series two because he’s opened a new venture! Tommo has moved to the strip club market! I mean, there’s boobs everywhere! On the first day I didn’t know where to look. I didn’t know what to do with myself, I was just being way too polite, looking everyone in the eye. Like, “Hello, absolute pleasure to be working with you,” over doing it a little bit. Business mode. Then you just get used to it, like we did with the sex dungeon last series!
Seeing as he’s now running two sex businesses, has he got time to get caught up in all the scams the lads have going on?
Of course he does! He has a lot of plans. He’s a man who has many a plan, and a lot of them go very badly. So at one point he’s doing a booze cruise over to France.
Did you film over in France?
Yeah, I was promised that it was going to be absolutely worth it compared to filming in England. We all thought it would be like a little holiday in the sunshine. For that one week it was just torrential rain, we were so disappointed! That whole week was absolutely miserable! The mental thing was that the night before I had to leave for France I had a massive house party at mine, by the time I get to France, I’ve sobered a little bit and realise that all I’ve packed is two pairs of shorts and three tops. No toothbrush, no underwear, nothing! No pyjamas. So that was a pretty intense week for me. Drunk packing is not great!
Why is Tommo obsessed with erotic furniture this series?
He becomes obsessed with these kinky tables which are based on actual real erotic furniture that I think Mary Antoinette had. It’s beautiful, there’s some resplendent c**k shaped side tables, that sort of thing. Really, classy stuff! The idea is that the strip club’s going to become a very classy establishment. He sees himself as Manchester’s version of Hugh Hefner, he wants his club to be a Playboy mansion. So he starts to invest heavily in smoking jackets, that sort of thing. As he gets carried away he ends up stealing this stuff from a museum to kit out his kinky club. That was one of the most fun episodes ever, there’s this scene where we have to go and try and rob this stately home. It’s like two o’clock in the morning, we’re milling about in the gardens of this stately home, there’s a huge, sheer drop at the end of the garden that we all just sort of lob ourselves over. We were doing actual stunts in a stately home at three o’clock in the morning, I felt like a sort of s**t Tom Cruise! Working on Brassic is always mental, you get the call sheet which always has a list of the props needed for filming that day. You’re like, “What’s the alpaca for? Why have we got 17 pigeons?” That sort of thing, there’s never a normal day on Brassic!
Did you have as much fun off camera?
Actually, more so this time! It’s just so much fun, and I feel like we’re all sort of a weird family now. Like everyone’s got their role they play. Parth is this sort of space cadet who always says some mad one liner that no one understands. Tom is like a poor comic, like he’s always got all these crap jokes, he’s always firing off at you. Aaron has got this secret desire to be a stunt man. So any time he can do any sort of vague shit stunt, he’ll do it. It’s really funny! Michelle is like the biggest lad of all of us! She’s the most down to earth person. So who looks quite beautiful, it’s ridiculous that she can drink you under the table, eat twice as much as you, and then get up the next morning looking absolutely fresh.
Have you been hitting the gym with the others?
Yeah, Aaron decided to help me work out and was like, “Do all this s**t and eat all this food”, which is fine for someone like him, but if you’re like me and 5’5”, you end up looking like you’re a complete sphere. I was like an egg of muscle and fat. You look absolutely terrible. So if notice this series I’ve got no neck, that’s the reason why!
The great news is there’s going to be a third series so what would you like to happen to Tommo?
I want Tommo to make all his dreams come true financially and then blow it all, like absolutely lose everything and be reduced to a rubble of a man. That’d be quite funny!