32 | BIGISSUE.COM 05-11 AUGUST 2019
INTERVIEW isling Bea is hungover
when she welcomes The
Big Issue to Channel
4 headquarters in
London. But this is not
just any hangover. It has
beenyearsinthemaking and is of the
The previous night Bea, writer-
actor-comedian with sellout stand-up
shows, a Netflix comedy special, roles in
high-profile dramas The Fall and Hard Sun
plus numerous panel show triumphs to
her name, unveiled her new series
This Way Up in front of friends and family
for the first time. Afterwards, she was
aided and abetted in her celebrations by
Derry Girls stars Nicola Coughlan and
“Full disclosure: Siobhan kept on
forcing red wine into me and I’m blaming
her,” says Bea. “It was not a late night,
but it was intense. When you drink
because you are emotional it is a different
hangover. I can feel it in my heart.”
This Way Up is new territory for Bea.
Not only did she excavate her own life
for the series, but she is also the beating
heart as Aine, a fast-talking, funny, warm,
language tutor looking to recover and
regain her happiness after a breakdown.
“When you are a stand-up you write
something then get to show it to people
that night or at your next gig,” says Bea.
“This has been years in the making. For
it to be going out to the public is grand.
But my friends and family know how
important this has been to me. So to be
able to show my thing to them was a really
special feeling. This is the biggest deal ever
Was the feedback positive? “I don’t
know if people are going to tell the truth to
me. It is like if you have chosen the wrong
dress on your wedding day, no one is
going to tell you.”
Bea is sharp, engaged, witty, warm.
And her new series is the same. Following
on the heels of Fleabag’s triumphant
second series, This Way Up, though
entirely different in tone, is another look
at serious, complex issues – in this case
grief, mental health, parent loss, women
in business, chosen family – through the
lens of comedy.
Aisling Bea’s new comedy is all
about what happens when life
knocks you sideways. It’s personal...