If you’re a comedian trying to make a name for herself in the business, it must be quite handy when Ricky Gervais calls and asks you to be in his show.
That’s what happened to Kerry Godliman, a woman who may well be one of Britain’s best-kept secrets.
Kerry has starred in several TV shows, had an award-winning show at the Edinburgh Festival, supported Mickey Flanagan on tour and in 2012 got the call from Gervais, who asked her if she fancied a part in Derek.
Yet despite this, no-one I spoke to ahead of this interview recognised Godliman’s name.
I took a risk and told her that at the start of the interview. She could have gone all diva and put the phone down. Thankfully she isn’t that type.
“I know, it’s quite nice being a bit of a secret,” she agreed. “I can walk along the street and hardly ever get recognised. In fact sometimes I think ‘hang on, I’m in Derek, surely someone knows who I am?’
“But the stage my career is at now actually suits me just fine.”
Godliman is heading out on her first ever headline tour of the UK as a stand up with her show Face Time.
She is playing 21 dates across the country, including a night at 53 Degrees in Preston on March 22.
Strictly speaking now she’s properly got a break on TV she doesn’t really need to be doing stand up. But she thinks she owes it to her trade.
“It was through being on stage that Ricky got to know about me,” she explained.
“I had a little part in the Extras Christmas special and a scene in Life’s Too Short.
“Then when he was looking for someone for the part of Hannah in Derek, he came to me. I went in, we improvised a scene, and he gave me the role.”
The obvious question is what is Gervais like? “Exactly like he is on screen,” Kerry said. “Most people in the public eye have a public persona and a private persona but not him.
“He is just a very relaxed, happy bloke who loves what he does. He’s also at that stage where he is so famous, both here and in America, he has complete creative control over everything he makes, which is a lovely position for someone in our industry to be in.”
Kerry, a Londoner who has two children, aged seven and four, has, shockingly, never been to Blackpool before.
“It’s bad isn’t it?” she said. “I must be the only person who has never seen the Illuminations.
“I’ll have to pop over while I’m in Preston.”
As for her show, Kerry’s humour is observational. “People who’ve seen me tell me seeing me live is like going to the pub with a mate,” she said.
“Obviously I do most of the chatting but hopefully it will feel relaxed and like we’re having a natter.
“The only thing I’m slightly worried about is that people will turn up expecting to see my character in Derek. I’m not Hannah – I need to announce that now. She’s a lot kinder than me!
“I just hope people enjoy what they see because it feels great to be doing a stand up tour again and getting back to something I love.”
Tickets for Kerry’s show in Preston on March 22 are available from www.53degrees.net