So filming got underway for the new series of The Armstrong and Miller Show last week when our director Ben Kellett, cameraman Martin Hawkins and I hopped on the Eurostar and shot some titles for a new character, “Simpkins Of France”, an ex-pat Brit who pretends to be so immersed in French culture that he can no longer speak English.
The main body of the sketches will be shot in the studio in a Parisian brasserie-style set in front of an audience, but we wanted to spice them up a bit so persuaded our producer Caroline Norris that she should let us shoot some titles out and about in downtown Paris.
We arrived mid-morning and spent a couple of hours filming down by the Seine, where I accosted an unaccountably Dutch portrait artist in character. He turned out to be a worthy sparring partner and in the end I insisted we move on because he was being far too funny.
Lunch – in the form of a heart-stopping steak – was followed by more filming at the Eiffel Tower and then up at Sacre Coeur, where I sniffed oranges in suitably Gallic fashion outside the famous cafe from Amelie.
Maybe it was because the sun came out for the first time in 2010, or maybe because we had such an effortlessly charming Fixer in the shape of Christine, but the Parisians we met completely undermined the curmudgeonly stereotype and were grace and humour personified.
I only hope they feel the same way once they’ve seen the sketch.