Jason Sudeikis had reservations about whether a whole TV series centred around Ted Lasso - a comedic character he created for NBC Sports back in 2013 - would work.

But while making two successful commercials about the hapless football coach, the 44-year-old writer and actor "unlocked this childlike wonder and enthusiasm and eternal optimism to the character that just resonated to me".

"I was like, 'I think there's a place for this'."

So, he wrote a pilot, with his "buddies" Brendan Hunt and Joe Kelly (Hunt also stars in the show as Coach Beard).

A week later, they had 10 episodes down - which have become Apple TV+ comedy, Ted Lasso - and any concerns were quashed.

Here, Sudeikis and his co-stars, Juno Temple and Hannah Waddingham, tell us more.


The endearing and hilarious show - which is also produced by Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence - follows Ted, a small-time college football coach from Kansas who, despite having no experience coaching "soccer", is hired to coach AFC Richmond, a struggling Premier League team in England.

Other brilliant characters include Jamie Tartt and Roy Kent, who are the team's two most famous players (and they really don't like each other); the club's new owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), who is desperate to get back at her cheating ex and WAG Keeley Jones, played by Juno Temple (she describes her character as "a bright, spunky young woman").

At the beginning of the show, Keeley happens to be dating Jamie.

But as the series goes on "she ends up having this good disco dance, romantically, with Roy", reveals London-born Temple, who grew up in Somerset, and also stars in new Sky Atlantic series, Little Birds.

"She has got a good brain on her and a good pair of shoes on; she can walk the walk and talk the talk, and that's something that I really loved about her," follows the star, 31.

"She benefits a lot from Ted Lasso arriving on this side of the pond because I think she really enjoys his positive attitude. I think she has that in her own way as well - a more English version of it."


Keeley also develops a really spectacular relationship with Rebecca, explains Temple.

"That is a really cool thing to be part of on a TV show, I think; two women, really strong female characters, really supporting one another and making both characters even better by being around each other. That was really special for me."

The main thing that attracted London-born Waddingham, 45, to Rebecca, "was the fact that on the surface, as soon as you meet her, you think crikey, she's a force to be reckoned with.

"But actually, she's an absolute house of cards; you pull one card away and the whole lot comes down.

"It was just a gift to play in terms of I just don't get to play that fragility, and then suddenly having a killer funny line, it's a real rarity for me and so I hope I've done it justice because they gave me something to play with that was vast and layered."


It was very simple for Waddingham to base Rebecca on a real-life person; she just looked to 51-year-old Karren Brady, who is currently CEO of West Ham United Football Club, and at just 23, was made managing director of Birmingham City Football Club.

"I've followed her unswerving power through a man's world for years," notes the actress, best known for her stage work on the West End.

"And yet, she never for a second loses her femininity or chooses to hide it. I think she's a wonderful role model for young women who must get sick and tired growing up seeing overly glossy, plastic women on the front of women's magazines, and I just think she stepped into that world and because she doesn't question it, nobody else does."

Discussing if she drew on any public figures for the role of Keeley, Temple quips: "I had a bit of Cheryl Cole, for sure."

As for the inspiration behind Ted Lasso in general, the star says, when she first spoke to Sudeikis, he said the show is a mix of The Office (the English version) and Friday Night Lights, a comparison she enthusiastically agrees with.

They are "both genius TV shows" she adds, "but for such different reasons. So combining the two is really smart comedy".


The basis of the series is that Ted finds himself in a very unfamiliar situation; a new country and culture, and a job where he has no idea what he's doing.

As the creator of the story, can Sudeikis recall a time in his life when he felt similarly out of depth?

"A big one for me that really pops up in my mind was when I moved from Kansas City to Chicago," reflects the star, who is married to actress and filmmaker Olivia Wilde (they have two small children together, Otis and Daisy).

"I was an athlete all through high school, and college a little bit, and at some point, I stopped doing that; I knew I wasn't going to do that for a living. I was like, 'I think I wanna try acting'.

"So moving to Chicago, I was very lucky because I got to live with my grandmother and I didn't have to pay rent - although I did have to make sure I was sweet to her, which wasn't difficult. I drove my car that my uncle had in town there, so I was ahead of the curve as far as rent and transportation went.

"But still, moving to a city that I only knew one person in, to try and work in a place called the second city, was scary and daunting and I just sort of focused on one little goal at a time, taking theatre classes and improv classes and writing classes along the way."

What he wants is for his own children to be able to do something that they truly love, something "that they would do for free"," he says.

"I certainly had to do it for free a long time - a lot of the time!"

Well, Sudeikis may have been unsure if things would work out, but it would seem so far, so good.

Ted Lasso is on Apple TV+