Like my previous interview with Jack Whitehall, about a year ago I had a Q & A session with James Buckley, famous for playing foul-mouthed Jay in E4’s The Inbetweeners. At the time, James was frequently in the press as he had been filming for the prequel to Only Fools and Horses, ‘Rock & Chips‘, playing a young ‘Del Boy’, a role made famous by David Jason. Here’s what he had to say:
How long have you been acting?
I got my first professional job when I was 11.
Has acting always been what you wanted to do as a career, or did you have anything else in mind when you were younger?
I didn’t ever really decide on one thing I wanted to do as a job. Working never really seemed worth thinking about when I was mucking about with my mates at school.
What was your first acting job?
My first job was in the West End Musical ‘Whistle Down The Wind’ at the Aldwych Theatre.
How did you get the part in The Inbetweeners?
I auditioned for a pilot called ‘Baggy Trousers’, which is basically the Bunk Off episode of ‘The Inbetweeners’. I played Neil in the pilot though.
Do you have any say in any of the storylines of ‘The Inbetweeners’? How involved are you creatively?
We have a couple of little meetings before discussing ideas and us boys are close to the writers so we’ll email or text them funny stories that happened to us while we were at school but it’s mostly down to the writers. They deserve a lot of credit I think.
How did the part in the ‘Only Fools and Horses’ prequel come about?
Again, I just auditioned with everybody else. I wasn’t given any special treatment for already being on TV or anything.
How does it feel to be involved in such a huge programme, with such reputable actors?
It’s a great feeling and something I’m very proud to be involved with. Working with the likes of Phil Daniels and Nick Lyndhurst is a dream come true to a young actor. I made sure I listened to every word they had to say.
Do you have any stories from the set to share?
I did start singing Park Life to Phil Daniels one day, it didn’t go down too well.
How did it feel meeting David Jason? Did he offer you any words of wisdom?
It was a dream come true meeting David Jason. I was in absolute awe. He didn’t offer any wisdom specifically, but having lunch with David Jason, Nick Lyndhurst and John Sullivan and listening to them talk about how they made the original show was so interesting and I’m very lucky to have been in that situation.
You always seem to be busy, what do you do to relax in your spare time?
My spare time is just spent with friends and family. I’m lucky enough to have the same friends from Dagenham since I was about 4, so it might be lunch with David Jason one minute and them lot bringing me right back down to earth the next.
Finally, so many people ask whether you’re similar to Jay, do you ever get offended by that?
I don’t get offended at all. I’m so pleased to be a part of ‘The Inbetweeners’, I just take it as a compliment that my performance is so convincing.
‘Rock and Chips’ was picked up for a series, which James is now filming and there are plans for an ‘Inbetweeners’ movie, so it’s safe to say this Essex boy will be on our screens for some time.