Two High-Born Hipsters Are 'Almost Royal'

Almost Royal is a British comedy series that follows the lives of heirs to the throne. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with the show's stars, Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart, who play Georgie and Poppy Carlton.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A new series called "Almost Royal" will premiere tonight on BBC America. It is an almost reality show. Georgie and Poppy Carlton are brother and sister who are as distantly related to the British Royal Family as Queen Latifah is to Queen Elizabeth. And they're on tour in the United States under the eye of a BBC television crew. They stop in Boston, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Detroit, Nashville and other places to fulfill the dying wish of Lord Carlton, their now late father. We are joined now from our Royal studios of the BBC in London by Georgie and Poppy Carlton, played by people otherwise known as Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart. It's very good to meet both of you. May I call you Georgie and Poppy?

AMY HOGGART: Yep, that's absolutely fine.

ED GAMBLE: Yeah, you may.

SIMON: All right, thank you. It's very kind of you. Why are you touring the United States?

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) Well, it was our daddy's wish for us to see some of the places that he really loved. He went to America quite a bit when he was having breaks from mommy.

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) Yeah, he took quite regular breaks. And that was, that was where he used to go, I'm just popping out for a bit. And then he just used to fly to America.

SIMON: Oh, what are some of the favorite stops that your father had and that you tried to seek out?

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) He loved Nashville because he loved country music. So we tried to go there and get a feel for the place.

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) Actually Nashville is one of my favorite places to visit as well because I'm a really, really great singer. And we actually recorded a whole song that I made up with Georgie. And we did a music video and everything. And I played a gig and everyone thought I was really amazing.

SIMON: So, Poppy, could we perhaps have a small sample of your singing?

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) OK, can I warm up first?

SIMON: Yes, of course.

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) What do you need to do to warm up, Poppy?

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) I just want to go (singing) do, do, do. OK? And that's it.

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) You ready?

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) That's probably enough...

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) Perfect.

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) Will you join in, Georgie?

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) Yeah, sure.

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) OK. (Singing) She wakes up. It's the morning again, she can tell from the clock.

(LAUGHTER)

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) (Singing) Facebook, she don't use it so much. But it's still on her phone.

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) (Singing) It's a brand-new day. And she's got to be free.

AMY HOGGART AND ED GAMBLE: (As Poppy and Georgie Carlton) (Singing) And the thing you should know is that that girl is me.

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) Woah.

(APPLAUSE)

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) What did you think?

SIMON: I am deeply moved.

(APPLAUSE)

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) I'm absolutely convinced. I know how talented I am.

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) Yeah, that's one of Poppy's true skills is she knows exactly how talented she is.

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) Yeah, 10 out of 10 talented.

SIMON: I've seen a couple of your episodes.

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) Only a couple?

SIMON: Well (laughing)...

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) There are seven, you should get cracking.

SIMON: Your trip to Boston, for example, you learned about Paul Revere?

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) Yeah.

SIMON: And I must say, Georgie, you had a rather different take.

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) It was interesting to find out that he was a British man. He's just a little bit of a snitch, running ahead, dashing ahead and saying oh, here come the British. A little bit sneaky I think, isn't it Poppy?

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) Yeah, that wouldn't go down very well in England. And Georgie went to boarding school, so he knows all about being punished if you tell on your friends.

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton)Yeah, they should've taken him out into the quad and pulled his trousers and pants down.

(LAUGHTER)

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) And hit his goose and potatoes with a hockey stick.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Let me recover. Well, so far what are some of the things that you have grown to treasure most about America?

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) Umm...

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) It's a tricky one, huh?

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) Yeah, I'm having a little think. I liked how people talk to you quite a lot. Like in England, I don't get approached very much because people are really intimidated by me. In America, they're a lot more friendly. They always come up and talk to you like they've got a right to, which is quite charming somehow.

SIMON: I (laughing) do want to break character for just a minute, if we could. Poppy Carlton's portrayed by Amy Hoggart, an increasingly well-known character comedian, a veteran of the Cambridge Footlight Players. It's good to meet you.

HOGGART: Hi (laughing).

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) This is strange, I'm still in character. OK, Georgie and Amy.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: All right, and Ed Gamble, who plays Georgie.

GAMBLE: Oh, hello. Yeah, all right.

SIMON: So do folks around the rout in America know that you're acting?

HOGGART: I think there are moments during filming when they think this can not be real, but we usually pull it back and become a bit more naturalistic for a while. And I think there's this sort of reverence for the Royal Family and the sense that if, if they really say I don't think you're for real and we are actually members of the Royal Family, that they'd feel really awful.

GAMBLE: And also reverence for the BBC as well. If we say we're making a show for BBC America, I think there's an implicit sort of trust that comes with that. Just trust that we've slowly been destroyed across the country.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: May we speak with Georgie and Poppy one more time?

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) Hello.

HOGGART: (As Poppy Carlton) Hello.

SIMON: Well, it's been very good to speak with you. Is there any place left in the United States that you particularly are looking forward to going to, perhaps sometime in the future?

GAMBLE: (As Georgie Carlton) Canada?

SIMON: (Laughing) Well, I hope your dreams come to be. Amy Hoggart and Ed Gamble, they play Poppy and Georgie Carlton, touring America on "Almost Royal." The series begins on BBC America, 10 p.m. Eastern time tonight. Thanks so much for joining us both of you.

HOGGART: Oh, thank you for having us.

GAMBLE: Thanks for having us.

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