The Cleaner: Greg Daviess new gore-filled dark comedy series

Trailer for BBC series The Cleaner with Greg Davies

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Based on a successful German comedy, Davies ‑ who also presents Taskmaster on Channel 4 ‑ plays a crime scene cleaner who, among other things, disposes of human flesh. Asked if viewers would be put off, he replied: “I voiced that to my family before I agreed to do it because there is blood in every episode. There’s a crime scene in every episode but then I realised that, in any show about murder, even in Holby City, blood is not uncommon on our screens.

“And with this show, the crime has already happened, so there’s nothing especially graphic. Maybe viewers will get desensitised to a crime scene, the way that Wicky [the cleaner] has.”

Davies said he wasn’t squeamish despite the realism of the sets.

“No, because I know it’s not real blood. If it was real, it would be a different matter. It takes a back seat to the show and you soon forget it and you concentrate on the human stories. And I can’t wait to see it.

“Every week, I walked into the crime scene, I would go, ‘Ooh god!’ because they did such a good job at making it look real.”

But he is nervous about the public’s reaction. “Of course, because I really want people to like it. I’ve become very fond of him. I hope people will go, ‘I wonder what bizarre situation this man will get dropped into’.”

Davies added: “We spoke to real crime scene cleaners to fact-check everything that I’ve written.”

There are six stand-alone stories which, he said, are a combination of “Play for Today & Mr Benn”.

He said: “It’s quite a shocking job that Wicky’s got to do. It’s quite gruesome. It’s important though to normalise the blood and gore early doors, because bloody and death are really background characters. Quite an everyday guy.”

His first co-star was The Crown star, and glamorous film actress Helena Bonham Carter.

“I’m quite baffled why she said ‘yes’. And she’s quite fun too ‑ once you get over the fact that you’re on set with a film star. And it goes without saying that she’s a brilliant actress. 

“She’s mischievous. Plenty of larking about on set. She enjoyed playing a suburban murderer ‑ a woman who’s chopped up her husband.” 

The show marks a change in roles for Davies, who’s famous for shows such Man Down & Cuckoo.

“I let it be known that I didn’t want to play any more middle aged dads. I feel like I’ve done my stint. 

“I see myself now as the emperor of middle aged dads.” 

The Cleaner, BBC1, Friday September 10 at 9.30pm

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