Interview: Plebs newcomer Jon pointing (Jason)
Series 4 of PLEBS started with the lives of regular Plebs Marcus (Tom Rosenthal) and Grumio (Ryan Sampson) being thrown into turmoil, as the sudden departure of Stylax is met by the equally sudden arrival of dappy blonde builder and new-Pleb-on-the-block Jason (Jonathan Pointing – Pls Like, The Great Unwashed).
Upheaval gives way to hope when they manage to procure an abandoned toilet from crooked property developer Crassus (Robert Lindsay) which they decide to convert into Rome’s hottest new wine-bar - ‘The Crown and Toga’. With Grumio as head-chef, Jason and waterboy/man Aurelius on drinks and Marcus as manager, this could be the boys’ chance to finally hit the big time and become players in the most exciting city in the world. This status leads to new adventures as they tangle with Rome’s foremost food critic, launch a cabaret night with a scathing satirist, take part in the city’s marathon and host a snail-racing syndicate – before coming up against their biggest challenge so far, an aggressive take-over bid from a local Germanian bar famous for their popular brown-liquid ‘beer’.
Newcomer Jonathan Pointing tells us more...
Were you aware of Plebs before you joined the show?
I was aware of it but I’d never watched it. Obviously when I got the job I binge-watched it all to bring me up to speed. I thought it was great, it’s not what I expected. It’s quite cartoony but so well written and I was instantly into it, it’s right up my street.
Were you nervous coming into a show like this?
The nerves come and go to be honest. The great thing is I got on really well with the other guys quite quickly, so that really helped. I’ve never been on a set for this long, so when I start thinking about how it’s going to be received, that’s when the nerves creep in a little bit, but it’s best to try and not over think that stuff because it stops you enjoying what you’re doing in the moment.
What is Jason like?
Jason’s quite a happy-go-lucky person who really lives in the moment. When I read the part it was when Love Island was on so I instantly thought about all those kinds of people, and then people like Joey Essex. Those people who are quite infectious, just floating through life and happy to be there. So Jason’s very much like that, he’s enthusiastic about everything.
How do the other lads react to him?
Very quickly they just accept him! Also, because he’s relentlessly enthusiastic about things, things don’t affect him as much, so he’s just happy to be around them regardless of whether they think he’s an idiot!
Everyone always ends up naked at some point during this show, was that something you were worried about before you started?
I tried not to think about it too much! Obviously you do worry whether it’s going to be a bit awkward, but then it’s like anything, it’s the job, you just get on with it and quite quickly it feels like any other scene that you have to do a bunch of times.
Did you hit the gym beforehand?
This is the thing, I had all this time before I started and I kept saying that I would go to the gym, but no. It never really happened! When I first got out here I got into a really good routine, I was exercising but as time went on I got more exhausted so I stopped going and things started to wobble a bit more! I wonder whether I am going to look different in every episode and will suddenly look like I’ve ballooned by the last episode!
Tell us about your naked scene….
Well, I’ve had to do quite a few! It actually feels like I’m naked all the time! The first one was with all three of us, we were naked walking through town. I think it actually makes it easier when we’re all naked! It was a really nice day and there were loads of extras there but no one was really bothered about the fact everything was hanging out. It’s just another day at the office for them, everyone’s used to it. It is the thing that people have nightmares about, turning up to work with no clothes on, but it’s all in the spirit of the silliness of the show. There’s no point me worrying about how good I look because it’s not really the point, I just throw myself into it.
What else does Jason get up to this series?
The boys start running a bar together and his goal is to use that to get with as many women as possible! That’s his main objective and the bar is a good hunting ground!
Is he good with the ladies?
I wouldn’t say he’s the new heartthrob of Rome! He’s a bit goofy at times, I think he’s a bit too eager! There are times when I’ve read something in the script and wondered whether he’s a bit creepy, I didn’t want him to come across as gross. But you just have to trust the writing because when you film the scenes and when what he does is in context, it’s actually really funny, Jason’s just a bit keen! He does have a couple of successes in the love department. With one there’s a hint that there are more feelings involved and it’s not just sex.
So you have a few sex scenes?
Oh yes! It’s never really straight-forward in Plebs though! It was actually quite tiring. It was me and Kathryn Drysdale who plays Cleo, it was quite difficult because the position they had us in meant I had to hold her up for an hour. We’re in a gym and basically Jason’s not as fit as he thought he was so he can’t hold her because he’s got no core strength! It was a bit silly, it’s not like you’re going to see this really raunchy, passionate sex scene, in Plebs it’s always a bit awkward or something weird is going on. I think it’s actually going to be a pretty funny scene because while they’re having sex Grumio is sliding in the back of shot trying to steal something while they’re not looking.
How’s it been being the new guy on set, have the others pranked you?
Oh they’ve been so mean, they’ve been bullying me! Nah, it’s been great! There was part of me to begin with that felt a bit awkward because you’re totally new coming into something in its fourth series, but I feel like I’ve slotted in comfortably quite quickly. Everyone has been really supportive. It’s been so nice to have the time to socialise with everyone.
Apparently you’re a machine when it comes to drinking…
I knew Ryan would blurt out potentially damning information! I guess I can hold my drink, shame he can’t! I don’t want to say that I am the best drinker because it’s not a competition. But if it was then yeah, I’d win! It’s nice having weekends off, especially if you’ve had an intense week, it’s good to blow off some steam.
What’s been the best night out?
Well we were shooting during Halloween so we went out clubbing and actually fashioned our own fancy dress costumes while we were out! At one point we were like, ‘We’ll get some stuff from costume and get out’, but that didn’t happen. So we went to the club and everyone was dressed up so we basically went around the club picking up anything we could find to make an outfit from. We’ve had some really good nights out, it’s been great, no one’s been kidnapped or anything so not as wild as some might think, but a lot of fun nonetheless. We had a really lovely weekend away, a group of us went over to the Black Sea. It was boiling hot and we got to sit on the beach, go out for dinner, just chill out really. It was lovely.
Catch Plebs every Monday night at 10pm on itv2. Catch up with previous episodes on demand via itv hub.