What convinced you to make a second season of Upright? Was part of it knowing the audience loved it and wanted more?
When you feel like you’ve captured lightning in a bottle, one is cautious about trying to replicate it, especially given Season 1 landed so emotionally heavy. Once we stumbled on the potential story for Season 2, I felt very strongly that we should make it – especially, just recognising how good Milly [Alcock] was and wanting to centralise her, to write a script for her, to push her. But more than Milly, it’s about Meg’s story and what Meg needs. And it’s about Lucky and the unresolved stuff that Lucky has.
Did you enjoy the collaboration of this production, given that you spend a lot of time working on your own material?
Back in 2008, that was when I was taking off in a way, and then Matilda came along and Matilda was such an important part of my life because it reminded me that I don’t want to be a rock star, I don’t want to make it all about me. I actually got such a thrill out of the quite difficult challenge of collaborating with brilliant artists, trying to bring the stories to stage. And the experience of the writers room … I love it all. I love the gorgeous, wonderful, laughing imagination of it and I love the genuine kind of grind of it, the thoroughness of making sure the idea is the best idea.
As you get older, do you feel like you’ve got stuff to do – things that you want to achieve?
The sense that I’m running out of time is quite real. I need to have a think about what’s the game. I’ve already done so much more than I thought I would get to, I’ve already been gifted more opportunities than I could have dreamed of and there’s no awards I want to win.
What do you really like about Lucky?
I like his vulnerability, I like that he doesn’t suffer fools, it’s very fun to play someone who just says what he likes and can’t help but take the piss out of s--t, but it all comes from a place of damage, which is interesting to play. He’s not a hero – he’s an antihero. I hope you want the best for him despite the fact that he’s such a hapless c--t.
So, no Season 3?
I don’t know if we’ll get the Queen of Dragons back! I also think that we’ve done Lucky’s journey to his mum and Meg’s journey to her mum and that the ledger is balanced. I’m very, very proud of this world and I feel very, very emotional about the characters, but I certainly don’t want to ruin it by stringing it out. I think we’ve done really well to try to recapture that lightning in a bottle and it’s been a huge honour to watch Milly. Everyone talks about being a star, I don’t give a f--k if she’s a star, she’s become this mature and passionate and intuitive artist, and it’s been great to bear witness to it. I learn so much every time I do these things, but I’d like to create a different world now.