Interview: The Aliens’ Jim Howick talks TV | Virgin Media
Interview: The Aliens’ Jim Howick talks TV

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By now, you’ve probably seen the curious TV ads like the one above for The Aliens, starring This Is England’s Michael Socha and Chewing Gum’s Michaela Coel and starting Tuesday 8th March at 10pm on E4. In the world of this new six-part series, aliens that look and act exactly like humans have been living among us for the past few decades. They’re treated as second-class citizens and forced to live behind a massive wall in a segregated ghetto called Troy.

Socha plays Lewis, an alien-hating border patrol officer who mans the checkpoint of the Designated Alien Zone. In the first episode (don’t worry, this isn’t a spoiler) he discovers that he is, in fact, half alien and is drawn into the criminal underbelly of Troy as he sets out to discover who he really is. Jim Howick (Peep Show), meanwhile, plays Dominic, an alien who works at the check point with Lewis and helps him get into Troy. Top British talent make up the rest of our extraterrestrial cast, including Michael Smiley (Luther), Ashley Walters (Cuffs) and Holli Dempsey (Derek).

We caught up with Howick, who describes The Aliens as an “alternative, present-day, sci-fi crime caper,” to talk telly favourites and who would play him in a film about his life…

Jim Howick Interview

Jim Howick, A.K.A. Gerard in Peep Show

Hi Jim. What’s your favourite TV dinner?

Jim Howick: “At the moment, it’s slow-cooked ribs. It has to be something you can hold in your hand and eat without looking down. It has to be a plate of something and there has to be a lot of it, like nachos.”

And what do you wash it down with?

“On a week night, probably a pint of squash.”

What film have you seen the most times?

“My two favourite films in the world are Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Jaws. I’ve probably seen Jaws more times because my wife Lauren prefers it. It’s good to watch Jaws and eat ribs as well. It makes you feel like you’re there.”

Do you own any film or TV memorabilia?

“I’ve got an original 1981 Raiders Of The Lost Ark poster. My wife and I bought it for about £700 from the gift shop at the Victoria & Albert Museum.”

£700?

“I know. But, you know, it’s art!”

Did you keep anything from the set of Peep Show?

“I kept the tube from Gerard’s nose. [His character was a trifle unwell.] I don’t know where it’s gone. It’s probably in the loft.”

What was the last thing you watched?

“Sky Sports News before I left the house. I turn the TV on when I’m going out because it makes it seem like there’s people in the house and, if it’s Sky Sports News, it makes me feel a bit more butch, so people definitely won’t burgle me.”

Which actor would play you in a film about your life?

“Before his sad passing, I would have said Philip Seymour Hoffman. That would be a dream; I love him so much. Maybe Toby Jones? It has to be someone quite small and relatively rotund. No offence to Toby.”

What was your favourite show growing up?

“It has to be Blackadder, particularly the second series. I watched it all the time and memorised the jokes. I think I wore the tape out!”

What are your TV comfort essentials?

“Whenever I come back from work, I like to put on my favourite, all-grey jogging outfit and my wife says I look like a prisoner. Besides that, my dog. He likes to get on my lap. He’s an all-black miniature schnauzer called Munson, named after William Hootkins’ character from Flash Gordon.”

What is the greatest show ever made?

“That’s a really difficult one to answer. We’re in this golden age of television and, the truth is, I’ve never watched any of these great shows. I don’t know what I do with myself! I gave up on Lost after series two and I haven’t seen Breaking Bad or The Wire. For me, there’s only one that stands out as exceptional. It was pioneering, silly and exquisitely executed… The Day Today.”

Watch Jim in action in The Aliens, Tuesdays at 9pm on E4 (CH 144) and E4 HD (CH 145). Also available after broadcast in All 4 in Catch Up TV

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