Julia Davis: 'I'm worried there's going to be a backlash'

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Sally4Ever, a lurid lesbian sitcom, is her filthiest show yet – but even that’s nothing compared with her extreme agony aunt podcast. The comedy writer and actor reveals how it all helped her deal with the death of her parents

Surrounded by an inordinate number of plates of biscuits, Julia Davis is discussing how it feels to be a controversial comic in the age of moral outrage. “I am slightly worried there’s going to be some backlash,” she admits. She considers her improvised agony aunt podcast Dear Joan and Jericha, which is so filthy it makes Derek and Clive look like Countryfile. “I did feel nervous about one of the episodes where we said: ‘At least your son will always fancy you.’ I thought, God, if my boys [she has twin sons] hear that, it’s so horrifically awkward to try to explain these characters and why I’m saying this. But it must hit a nerve, because for some reason people find it funny. It’s got to be saying something truthful in there somewhere.” She pauses. “Not like people think their sons fancy them, but …”

We are in her PR company’s London offices to talk about her new show, Sally4Ever. It’s about a meek woman (the titular Sally, played by Catherine Shepherd) who leaves her boring fiance, David (Alex Macqueen), for the wild, reckless and worryingly possessive Emma, played by Davis. Throughout the series we encounter fuchsia strap-ons, gluten intolerance-related toilet sounds and regurgitated octopus tentacles. The very first episode features a lesbian sex scene involving thumb insertion, tampon extraction and feather dusters; it’s as cartoonishly visceral as anything Davis has done before, which is saying a lot considering her last series, 2016’s Camping, culminated in death, drugs, abuse and frottage, mostly taking place in a dank outdoor toilet.

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