MICHELLE KEEGAN and Joe Gilgun have provided a rare insight into life behind the scenes of the hotly anticipated third series of Brassic – much of which is filmed across Lancashire – ahead of its launch on Sky Max tonight (October 6).

Chorley-born Gilgun has been open about his battle with bipolar disorder in the past and – in a self-deprecating interview – explained how these traits are reflected in both his character, Vinnie, and in the show overall.

He said: “It’s loosely stories about my life. It’s my dad, it’s my mental health, it’s the pills I’m on. You know, it means a lot.

“And the big fear for me always is, are people going to understand this, or do I just come across as a t**t? You can’t control what people think of you.

Lancashire Telegraph: BREAK: Joe Gilgun takes a break from filming in East LancashireBREAK: Joe Gilgun takes a break from filming in East Lancashire

“And it’s one of the worst feelings as a human being, it’s that thing of just wanting to be liked. I just want people to like me even though I’m messed up. Do you know what I mean? It’s an ego thing.”

Filming during the pandemic was a challenge for all involved, but Manchester-born Keegan says she felt ‘lucky’ to be able to work when much of the country could not.

She said: “Obviously we were working during the pandemic and we felt very lucky and fortunate to be able to do that. We were each other’s port of call, I’d say, because we didn’t see anyone else during that time.

“We hadn’t seen our friends and families for such a long time but our escape was work. So, it was a mad experience to work during those times but it also felt so special to be able to mix with all these people for the first time in months.

Lancashire Telegraph: LUCKY: Michelle Keegan said she felt 'fortunate' to be able to work during the pandemicLUCKY: Michelle Keegan said she felt 'fortunate' to be able to work during the pandemic

“It definitely brought us closer as a team both in front of the camera and behind.”

Vinnie will return to the screen freshly out of prison and is jubilant to be reunited with his gang of mates, though dismayed to learn that he now has the newly promoted Detective Carl Slater watching his every move.

Vinnie knows he needs to keep out of trouble but playing it safe has never been his strong point.

Soon, he and his lifelong friends will be back to their usual tricks with a ‘hilarious’ new onslaught of wild and wonderful heists on the horizon – something Gilgun says are based largely on true events.

“To an extent, they’re all kind of true. Apart from finding body parts. I have never found a body part. But like, a lot of the theft, the stealing of objects, it’s all happened in some shape or form.”

Viewers will also enjoy a scene that shows most of the male cast naked together in an episode that also features ‘bull semen’, and Gilgun has mixed feelings about the logistics of the episode.

Lancashire Telegraph: SPERM: Gilgun said bull sperm was being passed around the houses for weeksSPERM: Gilgun said bull sperm was being passed around the houses for weeks

“It was a bad job. We had frozen sperm being passed to different houses for weeks and weeks and I’m not even joking.

“We actually decided to do that [get naked] on the day, it just felt funnier! I was like, ‘Look. We all hate our bodies, it wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t, right?’

“Well, apart from Damien [Moloney], who’s ripped! He is a beautiful man! You know, I look like E.T. now.

“Like, my body’s gone all E.T. because I’ve put on a stone over the pandemic. Corona curves!

“Anyway, we all did it. Do you know what? There’s something really liberating about having your bits out in public and no one can arrest you for it!”

At the end of the second series, Vinnie was arrested and sentenced to six months in prison just as things were ‘hotting up’ between he and fellow-lead, Erin, portrayed by former Coronation Street and Our Girl star Keegan.

Fans are waiting to find out if a relationship will blossom after several intimate scenes between the two ‘friends’, with both actors saying they’d like to see the characters get together.

Lancashire Telegraph: HOME: Vinnie sitting outside his Lancashire based home in the woodsHOME: Vinnie sitting outside his Lancashire based home in the woods

Keegan said: “I think there’s always going to be a simmering romance between Vinnie and Erin.

“They’ve got a lot of history, they’re best friends as well. So, they are either going to end up together or are they going to stay as friends.

“I think that’s why people love them because they just don’t know which way it’s going to go. I will say, as a spoiler, that you do find out what Erin whispered to Vinnie in this series. You do find that out, but I’m not going to say what is, you have to watch!

“I love a happily ever after and I do think they would probably make each other happy. Whether or not it will last, the happiness, I don’t know. I think they’re both at different stages of their life, if I’m being honest. We’ll have to see!”

Keegan, who is married to former The Only Way Is Essex star Mark Wright, was also pleased that Erin, Sugar (Joanna Higson) and Carol (Bronagh Gallagher) – the three female leads in the show – have their own dedicated episode in the new series.

Lancashire Telegraph: TRIO: Characters Erin, Sugar and Carol have their own dedicated episode in series 3TRIO: Characters Erin, Sugar and Carol have their own dedicated episode in series 3

She said: “It’s great! I think it’s really important to show that relationship. I think a lot of the time, especially in northern gritty dramas, you get a lot of women that are pitted against each other or fighting for the man.

“Whereas with this, they’re actually just good mates who support each other. You saw elements of that in the first two series but we didn’t explore it. Whereas this time, you get to see their dynamic as a trio. And it’s actually really funny.

“It’s not just about the boys, it’s about what they’re getting up to and them being naughty. The girls have also got that side to them as well, not just the lads. I think it’s really funny that we could show it this season. I hope people like it.”

It has not always been easy to stay focussed on set, as the close-knit cast are always on hand to make each other laugh throughout filming, known in the trade as ‘corpsing’.

She said: “Yeah, there is a lot of corpsing. Joe ad-libs a lot, he changes it up every single take.

Lancashire Telegraph: PANDEMIC: Crews enjoyed filming the series while taking precautions to keep the cast safePANDEMIC: Crews enjoyed filming the series while taking precautions to keep the cast safe

“I don’t know what’s coming, so I’m fighting to keep a straight face. I need to try to remember my line, keep a straight face, know my cue.

“So, when he’s constantly changing it up, all these things get tossed in the air. I have no idea about what’s coming because it could be something completely new. Last time I filmed with him, he sang Take That. He just dropped that in out of thin air!”

The new series promises to be bigger, braver and more bonkers than ever in a hectic world of bulls, snakes, kidnappings, betrayal, and this time, a full-size horse.

All episodes are available tonight (October 6) on Sky Max and streaming service NOW.