The great British Countryside, a place that more and more of us are turning to for a holiday as we are trying to find that relaxation and comfort at home without leaving the country. Well The Green & Pleasant Guide is the brand new animated comedy web series by Junior Productions. I spoke to the creators, writers and producers Will Noble and Joe Reaney to find out more about it
Tell us all about The Green & Pleasant Guide?
It’s a series of short animations, telling people about the joys of the Great British Countryside™. We cover things like how to go rambling (wear good boots, murder kingfishers for sustenance), meet deranged farmers who breed cows with sheep, and learn what the hardback version of a tent is (spoiler: it’s a caravan).
How did you get the idea for The Green & Pleasant Guide?
We were walking in the Chilterns, saw some cows, and started coming up with stupid nicknames for them like ‘beef on sticks’ and ‘Bovril in waiting’. We thought this was the best idea we’d had for a while, so we should probably do something with it. Also, no one’s allowed to leave the country right now, so the show really fits in with those ‘staycation’ vibes.
Why did you choose that name?
It’s got that kind of middle Englandy sound to it, which could be the name of a Sunday afternoon show on BBC2. Hopefully it’s not.
How did you get into animation?
Ben Satchel (aka Benpics) does the animations. He’s worked with comedy heroes of ours like Athletico Mince, Adam Buxton and John Finnemore, and we’d admired him from afar for a while. We asked him if he’d work with us, and for some reason he said yes.
How long does it take to animate an episode?
Ben works exceptionally quickly. Then we get pernickety and indecisive about stuff, so everything takes about five times as long as it should.
Where does inspiration come from for the show?
Shows like Countryfile, where you get all those filmic sweeping drone shots of the Dales, followed by a three-minute segment on foot and mouth disease. The screwy ‘explainer’ sider of things (e.g. ‘cows that eat oat produce oat milk’) must have been inspired by Look Around You. And we ended up getting quite violent in parts (even a ghost gets hurt at one point), so that’s almost South Park-esque.
How long does it take to write an episode?
Will works exceptionally quickly. Then Joe gets pernickety and indecisive about stuff, so everything takes about five times as long as it should.
Who does the voices?
The main presenter is voiced by Celeste Dring, who’s appeared on some of our all-time favourite things like This Country, The Windsors and The Sink. Amy Gledhill (who does the A Lovely Time podcast) is also half of sketch group The Delightful Sausage, who are just hilarious. Luke Rollason is usually doing about 17 critically acclaimed fringe shows at once – so we thought we’d try to kill him off by giving him one more job to do.
Where do the ideas come from each episode?
The four episodes of the first series are: ‘Rambling’, ‘Cows’, ‘Campsites’ and ‘Stately Homes’. So we basically threw all of our knowledge about these together, then disregarded it and wrote a load of bunkum instead.
What has the feedback been like for the show?
Decent! None of our friends have told us they hate it yet.
What are your plans for the show in 2021?
Once the series has run, we’ll look into making a second one. It’s very good fun. Really we’d like to get a producer or broadcaster to come along and commission a series of 10-minute episodes. So if you’re from Netflix or BBC Sussex, give us a call.