Ask any Britcom star and they’ll tell you just how hard it is to make the transition from domestic TV to the silver screen. At its simplest level there’s just something about the structure of a great sitcom that often makes it hard to translate to a more epic, standalone project. We’ve had some notable exceptions to that rule in recent years – In the Loop, Alpha Papa – and of course the beloved teen comedy The Inbetweeners.
After a few years as comedy idols to the generation that adored their show, the cast have struck out alone, and the latest project to boast their involvement is The Festival. It is, in short, The Inbetweeners at a festival. It even features Joe Thomas (aka Simon) as its lead, and is directed by Iain Morris, the man who wrote and directed The Inbetweeners 2. With Thomas’s perpetually distraught face popping up again on billboards and cinema screens near you, we thought it was the perfect time to check in with the rest of the Inbetweeners gang.
Thomas took arguably the safest route after The Inbetweeners wrapped up, sticking to home turf with roles in several major British sitcoms. His best role was as the hapless Kingsley in Fresh Meat, the uni sitcom created by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain of Peep Show fame. He also appeared in White Gold, a BBC sitcom about double-glazing salesmen, also starring…Ed Westwick from Gossip Girl?
Buckley also cropped up in White Gold, a reunion that proves to be a common theme for the Inbetweeners boys (see Bird below), and he’s managed to nab a few film roles along the way too. Buckley was the lead in The Comedian’s Guide to Survival, taking on a slightly more nuanced role than the juvenile antics that made his name, though the film received poor reviews all round.
He’ll undoubtedly be much happier with his appearance in one of the most underrated comedies of recent years, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Buckley played Sponge, the aptly named member of Conner4Real’s entourage, cropping up in several key scenes along the way.
Harrison has always been the dark horse of the group, going from playing by far the stupidest character to arguably having the best career since. He was a regular in David Cross’s cult sitcom The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret alongside Will Arnett and Sharon Horgan, and best of all he landed the iconic role of Pike in the big-screen adaptation of Dad’s Army in 2016.
It may be surprising considering the character he played in The Inbetweeners, but Harrison has also dabbled in more serious roles, appearing as DS Spencer Gibbs in Prime Suspect 1973, and clumsy hitman Andrew ‘Gino’ Newton in Russell T Davies and Stephen Frears’ acclaimed series, A Very English Scandal.
Bird may have been the lead of The Inbetweeners, but he hasn’t had much luck finding major roles in recent years. Straight after the end of the TV series he scored another regular role in C4 sitcom Chickens, about a group of conscientious objectors in WWI, but other than that his most well-known appearance is in long-running sitcom Friday Night Dinner.
The most notable thing about his career is his frequent collaborations with Joe Thomas, showing that the on-screen friends have stayed close in real life as well. They’ve partnered up in several shows since, including apocalyptic romcom The Darkest Universe and Drunk History, where Thomas played Alexander Graham Bell and Bird played Winston Churchill.
Greg Davies AKA Mr Gilbert, may not really have been part of the gang, but he was one of the most memorable parts of The Inbetweeners, with Davies milking his real-life teaching experience for all it was worth. Davies hasn’t gone onto film roles like the boys (other than a little vocal performance as Balloon Man in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies), but he’s dominated the small-screen to make up for it.
He’s starred in Cuckoo alongside Andy Samberg and then Taylor Lautner for the last six years, and Man Down, the sitcom he created and stars in, is now on its fourth season as well. Of course, those shows are small fry compared to his most iconic role so far, as the Taskmaster. Fans of Dave (yes American readers, we have a TV channel called Dave, we know we’re a cliché) will know all about the simple genius of this show where five comedians compete in ridiculous tasks to win Davies’ approval, and if this is the first you’re hearing of it you can begin making amends right here, right now.