Published: 11:00, 06 August 2014
For writers Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, the world was their oyster.
The Inbetweeners film debut was the surprise box office smash of 2011, so when it came to the follow-up, they could have dropped anchor anywhere for creative inspiration.
They might have chosen Jamaica, where Fleming wrote Bond, or Spain, a favourite of novelist Ernest Hemingway.
But Iain and Damon plumped for Sheppey, where for two weeks last year they began piecing together the long-awaited big screen return of one of the biggest TV comedy successes of the last decade.
It turns out the Island has become an integral part of a winning formula that the pair are loath to change.
Iain said: “We’re quite superstitious. We wrote a bit of the second and third series on Sheppey, and a bit of the first film.
“There’s definitely something about the estuary air which helps with the writing process.”
Long-time friends of adopted Islander Will Palin – son of Michael – the pair stay at his Georgian home in Naval Terrace, Blue Town, for scriptwriting sessions.
The process has stayed pretty much the same for the four years they’ve been coming here, as Iain explained.
“We arrive, we go straight over the road to Tesco and buy a lot of comfort food like Jaffa Cakes and crumpets.
“A regular working day starts with breakfast, then I might go for a little run along the front then we really get our heads down and try knocking a first draft together as quickly as we can.
“At the end of the day we get together, look at what we’ve done, have a few beers and might go out for dinner somewhere.”
But where to go on Sheppey for a pair of Bafta-nominated writers, also celebrated for their work on two other huge TV comedy hits, Peep Show, and Flight of the Conchords and for whom glitzy awards evenings are a matter of course?
“The Red Lion in Blue Town is a favourite,” Damon said.
“And there’s a café near there which serves the best Thai food I’ve ever had in the whole world.
“I remember asking for a curry, and the waitress saying, ‘Do you want the vegetables in it?
“I said ‘Of course I want the vegetables in it’.
“She said a lot of regulars take the vegetables out, ‘cause ‘they don’t like the vegetables’.
The Aviator, the Ferry House Inn and the Briny Chip Shop in Minster are all regular ports of call during their stay, although Iain’s days of travelling to the Island via Sheppey’s “Pony Express” might be numbered.
“The Sittingbourne-to-Sheerness service is the first time I’ve seen people smoking on a train for about 20 years,” he said.
“It was about three in the afternoon, and I thought, ‘is anyone else going to mention this, or is it clearly too terrifying’?
Whatever the film’s fate at the hands of the critics, Iain and Damon gave an emphatic, unified “no” when asked if an Inbetweeners 3 or another TV series was on the cards.
But they will return to Sheppey.
Iain, who has bases in London and the US, and Damon, a former Gravesend native, now living in Sevenoaks, say the Island’s influence should not be underestimated in helping them achieve their big screen, big break.
“Sheppey has rightfully played a very important role in the two movies,” Damon said.
The Inbetweeners follows the lives of four sometime school mates, not cool enough to hang with the in-crowd or mean enough to mix it with the rough boys.
There’s Will (the geeky one), Jay (the gobby one), Neil (the goofy one) and Simon (the wet one). All four share an endless teenage despair of unfulfilled carnal desire, vomit-inducing drinking games and weird, embarrassing parents.
This time the boys are on a road trip through Australia. Inbetweeners 2 is in cinemas from today.
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