Ryan Sampson tackles masculinity and family life issues in new series

ACTOR Ryan Sampson is finally getting the “therapy” he has needed since an occasionally traumatic time at school in Rotherham - by writing a TV series about masculinity and the difficulties of family life.
RYAN: With Danny Dyer in Mr BigstuffRYAN: With Danny Dyer in Mr Bigstuff
RYAN: With Danny Dyer in Mr Bigstuff

Masbrough born Ryan, who went to Wales High School in Kiveton Park, has previously spoken about the fact he didn't fit into normal school activities.

Between the ages of 11 and 16, he says, he was an: “Absolute social outcast”.

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Now he has written a Sky Original comedy, which will be aired in spring, which the channel says is “very much based on Ryan’s youth growing up in the conurbations of South Yorkshire”.

The six-part comedy is called Mr Bigstuff and surrounds estranged brothers Glen (Sampson) a weedy carpet sales manager, and estranged sibling Lee, played by Danny Dyer, the Eastender making his TV comedy debut.

The dialogue surrounds “broken families, brotherhood, manhood and carpet sales”, says Sky.

Brassic star Ryan (38) explains: “As a particularly short gay dude, I’m fascinated by masculinity; by all the ways that we’re trying and failing to do it right.

“Maybe it’s because of some unresolved short-man issues.

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“Maybe it’s because of that one time in PE when Mr Walker told me to 'Stop crying and start being a man, Sampson.'

“I probably should have gotten therapy, but instead I’ve written a show about it.

“It’s about fragile masculinity - about men and how f****d up we are. Also about families, and how f****d up they are too. I can’t believe how lucky I am in having Danny Dyer himself joining me for the ride.”

Danny, whose character returns to his "brother's" life after an absence and re-appears bearing their dad’s ashes in a biscuit tin, commented: “Following my nutty exit from Eastenders I feel like it’s time to recalibrate and try something a bit new.“When I read the role of Lee I was honoured to be asked to develop an exciting character and explore his dysfunctional f****d up family relationships.

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“I fell in love with Ryan Sampson while working with him on Plebs (Roman-times comedy in which Ryan played a slave).”

In Mr Bigstuff, Glen and his fiancée Kirsty share a “perfect, perfectly mundane life together”, says Sky,

“Sure, Glen’s got crippling erectile dysfunction and Kirsty (Harriet Webb) has a secret shoplifting habit, but they’re happy.

“That is until Lee comes crashing into their lives, whilst on the run from a past that’s quickly catching up with him.

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“The trio are forced together: a perfectionist, a fantasist and an anarchist all living under the same roof in an Essex cul-de-sac. It’s not long before their ‘perfect’ lives start to unravel faster than the weave of a cheap carpet.”

Joining Ryan and Danny, the cast includes Adrian Scarborough, Fatiha El Ghorri, Ned Dennehy, Victoria Alcock, Geoff Bell, Nitin Ganatra and Judi Love.

The series will air on Sky and on streaming service NOW, sometime after late March.