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Rare clip from The Inbetweeners pilot which creators swore ‘would never see the light of day’

Jess Battison

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Rare clip from The Inbetweeners pilot which creators swore ‘would never see the light of day’

If I say ‘friends! Football friends!’ I bet there’s only one person you’re thinking of.

Jay from The Inbetweeners, of course. I mean, the character’s so iconic people even refer to real life James Buckley as Jay.

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Except the Cameo millionaire wasn’t always Jay. In the original pilot for the Channel 4 show, Buckley played Neil.

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And that pilot is something never to be seen by the public apparently. Although, there’s the odd cheeky little clip showing the star in his original role.

The Inbetweeners, which ended up also starring Simon Bird, Joe Thomas and Blake Harrison as teenage lads, was originally called Baggy Trousers and set during the ‘80s.

But tvtropes.org lists in its trivia page for the show that the reason it’s so hard to find anything else about this pilot is because it’s ‘so reviled by the creators they’ve sworn it will never see the light of day’.

Which is fair enough, as after the rare clip of a fresh-faced Buckley as Neil was shared on social media, users simply called it ‘f**king dreadful’.

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Buckley in the pilot. Credit: Channel 4
Buckley in the pilot. Credit: Channel 4

Another even said it looked ‘like something that would be on CBBC’ as one commented: “I guess this is what unaired pilots are for.”

And others chimed in: “Well, it’s no surprise they recast and tweaked the show this would have flopped hard.”

Buckley previously discussed playing a different character in the pilot, which was 'so bad people weren't allowed to see' it.

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Speaking on an episode of the Big Fish with Spencer Matthews podcast, he recalled: "It was looking like it wasn't going to happen. Then I got some news that it was going to be made but they were going to recast it."

The White Gold star went on: "I got a phone call from my then-agent. She literally said something like, 'I've got some good news and I've got some bad news. The good news is that they're going ahead with The Inbetweeners, or Baggy Trousers as it was called.'

"Then I was like, 'Brilliant, I’m going to be in a sitcom. Absolutely amazing!'.

Well, at least we got this in the end. Credit: Channel 4
Well, at least we got this in the end. Credit: Channel 4
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"She went: 'Bad news is that they're recasting'. I said there's no good news here, it's just bad news. They're making the show, but you've got nothing to do with it."

He continued: "I then got in touch with Damon Beesley, one of the co-creators of The Inbetweeners, and I said 'I heard that that is going ahead, congratulations... and you know, I know you guys are recasting, but if there's another part or if there's one of the parts that are featured in an episode or something like that, like I'd love to come in and do a job for you.'

"And he replied saying: 'No, we want you to be Jay. Did your agent not tell you this? We need to see you tomorrow to talk to you about this and we're going to audition a load of other kids at the time.'"

Well, it’s a good job that was cleared up.

Featured Image Credit: Channel 4

Topics: The Inbetweeners, Channel 4, TV and Film, James Buckley

Jess Battison
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