The third and final instalment of Guilt – the award-winning comedy drama written by Neil Forsyth (The Gold) returns to BBC Scotland, BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.
Starring Mark Bonnar (Catastrophe, Line of Duty, The Rig and Unforgotten) and Jamie Sives (Chernobyl, Frontier, Game Of Thrones), the final part of the trilogy sees the brothers back together but enemies old, and new, cause them to seek ever more desperate solutions to their problems. Digging deep into their past, Max and Jake hope to finally find a future free of danger… and each other.
What has Max been through, and more to the point, done, to get to this point?
Max has spent the last year sleeping above the pub in Chicago, with the resident mice, wishing for better things. For him, it’s a pauper’s existence and that’s not something he’s used to. So of course, there’s always something on the back burner with Max. And it proves so – as we find out very quickly.
How has it been playing Max over three series?
It’s been an absolute joy, a total gift to play. I’ve said this before, but Neil Forsyth writes the words that I love to say. He’s not only an incredible storyteller, but a wordsmith as well – they feel amazing in your mouth. He has a knack of doing all these separate fascinating strands of a story and managing to tie them all together in a really funny and dramatic way.
When he first started out with the show, he said there was a lack of anything like this on British television, a ‘dramedy’ – like the Americans do so well, where the show is very serious, but has a lot of funny moments in it. Before, we didn’t really do that – a crime drama was a crime drama; a hospital drama was a hospital drama – there were very few jokes. I think Neil’s broken the mould.
Max and Jake were estranged for most of last series, having both been revealed to betray each other. How does Max feel about being in the same boat as Jake again and being forced to work together?
I think Max loves Jake and I think he wants better for him. Not for Max but for Jake, he wants Jake to just, bloody concentrate and step up to the plate! To get his head out the clouds! I think he finds it difficult but it’s a labour of love.
In his quest for revenge, Max went through somewhat of an emotional awakening in the last series. Has this changed him at all?
I wouldn’t say it’s changed him. I would say when he’s in the company of that particular person who got under his skin, then he changes but I don’t think it’s changed his behaviour on a daily basis. I think he’s still out for number one.
The three themes of Guilt are guilt, revenge and redemption… which one do you think is most befitting of Max and why?
I think if somebody does Max wrong, he finds it hard not to seek some kind of reparation, so I would probably say revenge. I think guilt is a bit too self-aware for Max. I think he needs something more sociopathic for revenge.
And do you think Max and Jake can redeem themselves?
Definitely – I think they’re capable of it. But I don’t think Jake needed to redeem himself, actually. Jake’s just caught from the word go. From the very first series, he’s caught in a situation that’s not really of his making. He’s gaslit and harried and herded into this corner that he doesn’t really want to be a part of. But Max has just got such a forceful and strong and quick personality that Jake goes along with it. So I think that Jake never really needed redemption. I think he’s just trapped!
The series kicks off with Max and Jake up to their eyes in… cow’s muck, what was it like filming that scene?
It was great fun. Who can’t enjoy crawling through muck? It was our Shawshank moment!
Guilt has been received so well by audiences and also won several awards. Are you proud to have been a part of this story, and specifically this Scottish success story?
Absolutely. The wonderful thing about it is Scottish people getting in touch and you can sense that feeling of pride that they have for something that is totally homegrown. And it still has that human aspect to it so it can cross borders, which is why it’s on in God knows how many countries: Sweden, France, Germany, Russia, as well as the Indian version that they did themselves. It’s a universal story but something that we made in Scotland with Scottish writers, Scottish crew. It was a bunch of Scots that made it and it showed the world what we can do. So I’m overflowing with pride about that. To be a part of that is incredible.
We’ll see lots of familiar faces returning to this final instalment. How was it reuniting with these actors on set?
It was really great. No spoilers! But I mean, it was fantastic. It was really nice to grind some old hatchets!
Will you be sad to say goodbye to Max and why?
Of course. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to the show. But I think what Neil has done is absolutely right. It was time and I think the mark of a class act, as Neil is, is knowing to get out while we’re on top.
And finally, what can audiences expect from the finale of Guilt?
I think it’s the perfect meld of the two series actually. It’s got a very serious heart but it still retains its humour, so it’s the best blend of it all.