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Stephen Mangan: If I Ruled the World


1st Jan 2015 Celebrities

Stephen Mangan: If I Ruled the World

Actor Stephen Mangan is best known for his appearances in Green Wing, Dirk Gently and the Bafta-nominated series Episodes. Find out what would happen if Stephen Mangan ruled the world.

No one with clacky mouth would be allowed on the radio... 

You know that irritating sound when someone’s tongue and roof of their mouth stick together and they really need a drink to sort it out? It’s the second cousin to that white goo people sometimes get in the corner of their mouth. I’d issue a warning first—“Get this water down you”—but any persistence would result in being shot. Or a visit to the doctor.


I wouldn’t allow any silly jargon... 

My worst is “End of”, as in “That’s my final word. End of”. There are about 40 ridiculous expressions that I’d happily bring in martial law to eradicate. “Just saying” is another. I mean, has there ever been a more passive-aggressive phrase in the history of the planet? I’m not having it.


I’d give everyone a bicycle...

The bikes would perfectly suit their needs—fast racers or luxurious push-bikes and some with trailers for the wife or kids. We spend our lives going from one little box to another; from our front room to the office, sitting in a car, bus or train and then back again. But it’s joyful to be on a bike in the fresh air and I’d love our cities to be car-free. I’d throw in a helmet, of course.


I’d remind motorists to stay to the left on motorways…

There’s nothing more annoying than someone cruising at 60mph in the outside lane with a three-mile tailback. The French are tremendously adept at getting others to move over; they come right behind you, flash their lights and practically get in your car beside you. But that’s not the way of us Brits so we need to be more aware of how we affect others. I’ve often driven cars that couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding so it’s not like I’m a speed freak. I do have an old classic open- top car, but I don’t get to drive it often because I can’t fit the two kids in—they’re really cramping my style.


…And people to have their chats on the side of the pavement... 

Have your chat, we all want you to chat, but just notice that, if you’re standing in the middle of the pavement, you’re creating a bit of havoc around you. Maybe I’m too aware of how my behaviour affects others, but I find it incredible that so many people live their lives with the blinkers on.


I’d deal with the rampant wealth inequality...

I’d bring in some sort of radical hard-core socialist agenda and take some money off the stupidly rich and give it to help the poor. It worries me that we are allowing this situation to grow; the other day I learned that there are 85 people in the world who, between them, own as much as the poorest half of the population. That’s ridiculous—85 people out of 7 billion? How did we come to that? 


Goats would be set free...

And only their milk could be used—I think goat’s cheese is faintly satanic. As soon as goat’s milk is turned into anything else it becomes goaty and having goaty food doesn’t suggest culinary delights. You might as well go up to a goat and lick it. It’s wrong and unnatural. 


I’d sort out city canals.... 

They have a reputation for being slightly menacing—where people get murdered, shopping trollies go to die and there’s drippy weirdness from the underside of bridges. I live near Regent’s Canal in London and I like the fact that just a few steps down from the street you enter a different world. The towpath is nice and flat to run on and there’s all that great history that goes with them. Let’s zhuzh up our canals, lavish them with love and affection and make them magical places where you can escape the city—particularly within a two mile radius of where I live.

Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan talk Episodes:


An excerpt from Green Wing:


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