Carrie Fisher’s role in the third series of Channel 4 sitcom Catastrophe will be a “fitting tribute”, say its makers.
The Star Wars actress died on 27 December, days after filming had wrapped on the show.
Sharon Horgan, star and co-creator of the comedy, says Fisher, who played her mother-in-law Mia, has a “bigger, chunkier part” in the third series.
She described Fisher as the “sexiest, funniest woman”.
It is thought to be the last television appearance for Fisher, who also stars in the new Star Wars film due out later this year.
‘We really feel privileged’
Horgan and Rob Delaney, her co-star and co-creator, are yet to decide how the show will deal with Fisher’s death.
Catastrophe – which tells the story of an American man and Irish woman who deal with a number of disasters after a one-night stand turns into a full-blown relationship – has become a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
It was nominated for an Emmy for outstanding comedy series writing last year.
“The first and second series, we didn’t have her for very long,” Horgan said. “She flew in and did her bit in about a day and a half.
“We wanted to get to know her better. We idolised her.
“In series three, we wrote a bigger, chunkier part for her in episode six and got to spend time with her. She was part of the gang.
“All of the cast got to spend time with her. We really feel privileged. She was funny all of the time. She was incredibly witty company.”
‘Tribute to Fisher’
Asked how Fisher’s character would be written out of the show, Horgan said: “It’s a bit hard to think about yet. I hope time will pass and we’ll think of a fitting finish to that story.”
Channel 4’s head of comedy Phil Clarke said Fisher would be seen in “very emotionally powerful scenes”, adding: “We think it’s a fitting tribute to her.”
Fisher has appeared as Mia since the first series, having first been approached over social media to take part in the show.
Delaney contacted Fisher on Twitter after he and Horgan saw her give a lifetime achievement award to Graham Norton and make an “amazing” speech.
“Sharon said, ‘I wonder if she’d play your mum’. I said, ‘Sharon, you’re crazy’.” he said. There was no response to the tweet, but after they approached her agent and Fisher read the script, she agreed to join the cast.
“She was a really lovely, kind, supportive person,” added Horgan.
The third series sees the characters Rob and Sharon dealing with the fall-out of yet another catastrophe – her spending the evening with another man, a student in a band.
It goes on to deal with Rob, a recovering alcoholic, turning to drink.
Asked why it strikes such a chord with viewers, Delaney said: “We’re very grateful it does. If it has a secret sauce, it’s that every episode is written by two people – one of them is a man, and one of them is a woman. That’s my theory.”
‘Filth finds us’
Horgan added: “I think maybe they (the audience) sees terrible things happening to people, and people not always figuring it out – and it’s not the end of the world. Terrible things happen, and it’s fine.”
One episode deals with another parent at the school gate making a complaint about their son, Frankie.
Asked about their inspiration for the show, Horgan explained: “It’s a little bit from looking around us, at the school gates and in our own homes.”
Catastrophe also doesn’t shy away from topics some might consider crude – and is very, very rude in parts.
But, said Horgan with a smile: “We don’t look for filth. Filth finds us.”
The third series starts on Channel 4 at 22:00 GMT on 28 February.