Nate has proved himself a cagey coach, but I read that you don’t really care about soccer. Are you more of a fan now that you’ve shot a couple seasons of this soccer show?
Sadly I’m not. I’ve got a newfound respect for the sport — I just wish I could be a little bit more enthused about it. I was brought up in a football household, and I’d get taken to matches, but I just couldn’t delight in it in the way my friends and family could. The guys on the show who are big soccer fans — some of the stadiums that we got to shoot in, they’re just like, “This is incredible!” I try and engage with that enthusiasm for it, but I am faking it, absolutely.
When it comes to acting, particularly when I’m talking tactics, there were scenes when I had to ask Brendan, “Is this a noun or a verb?” Because I literally don’t know what I’m referring to.
Who else on the show is faking it?
Brett, who plays angry Roy Kent — particularly in Season 1 until the mask slipped — I mean, Brett is an absolute sweetheart. We started doing the London comedy circuit around the same time, and so we’ve gigged together a lot. Phil Dunster is so different to Jamie Tartt — really nice, not posh, just a real gentleman. Maybe apart from Phil, actually, everyone’s got an element of their character in them. I can sometimes lack a bit of confidence, or I’m happy to just sit back and not be too vocal.
You performed as a magician when you were young but ended up pursuing a Ph.D. in geophysics at Cambridge. What is the overlap between geophysics, magic and comedy?
I think everyone’s trying to find the missing link. Magic and performing, obviously — I had that performing bug since I was kid. But geophysics? I was all lined up to go work for an oil company, and then I just got bitten by the comedy bug and thought, this is just far more entertaining than drilling for oil.
Your greatest trick was going from a Ph.D. program to an Apple TV program.
No one saw that coming. I certainly wouldn’t recommend that people do a Ph.D. in geophysics to become an actor. I think that’s probably the long way round.