22 Fresh Meat Facts Every University Student Should Know

While we often find ourselves engrossed in the lives of the dysfunctional Fresh Meat housemates, there's a whole world of creativity, dedication, and hard work that goes into bringing this beloved series to life. We're peeling back the curtain and delving into the fascinating behind-the-scenes stories and facts of the production. Our Fresh Meat facts include which cast member was actually 31 in the first season, which actor actually never completed university and where the gang’s infamous house is located.

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Fresh Meat is a popular British comedy-drama television series that originally aired from 2011 to 2016. The show revolves around a group of six university students who live together in a shared house, navigating the ups and downs of student life. Set in Manchester, Fresh Meat offers a humorous and often chaotic glimpse into the world of higher education, exploring themes of friendship, relationships, and the challenges of transitioning into adulthood. 

The ensemble cast features talented actors who bring the diverse and relatable characters to life. Jack Whitehall portrays the privileged yet awkward and socially inept JP, who often finds himself in hilarious and cringe-worthy situations. Joe Thomas plays the lovable and perpetually unlucky-in-love character, Kingsley. Zawe Ashton portrays the outspoken and assertive Vod, who is known for her wild antics and non-conformist attitude.

Kimberley Nixon plays the compassionate and somewhat innocent Josie, who becomes the object of affection for several of her housemates. Greg McHugh takes on the role of the socially awkward and slightly eccentric Howard, who struggles with his self-esteem and fitting in. Finally, Charlotte Ritchie plays the bubbly and optimistic Oregon, whose dreams of becoming a successful writer sometimes clash with the realities of student life.

Fresh Meat resonates with audiences due to its sharp writing, clever humour, and the authenticity of its characters' experiences. The show skilfully captures the trials and tribulations faced by university students, including the challenges of forming new friendships, dealing with academic pressures, and navigating the complexities of relationships. The characters' flaws and quirks make them endearing and relatable, and viewers can't help but become invested in their journeys.

Fresh Meat, a comedy-drama television series from the United Kingdom, was brought to life by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, the creators of Peep Show. The inaugural episode, helmed by David Kerr, premiered on Channel 4 on September 21, 2011, with subsequent episodes airing on Wednesdays at 10 pm. The second series debuted on 9th October 2012. Fresh Meat was renewed for a third series, which premiered on 4th November 2013. 

Our Fresh Meat facts include which cast member was actually 31 in the first season, which actor actually never completed university and where the gang’s infamous house is located.

1. There Was Nearly A Fresh Meat Film

Inspired by the tremendous response to 2011's The Inbetweeners Movie, Sam Bain revealed that plans were being developed for a potential film adaptation. However, instead of a film, a fourth series was produced, filmed in 2015 and broadcast in February 2016, serving as a conclusion to the series.

2. Fresh Meat Is Inspired By The Young Ones

Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain found inspiration for the first Fresh Meat episode and characters while watching The Young Ones on VHS. 

3. Fresh Meat Was Written By A Team Due To Peep Show Clashes

While the series was predominantly written by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, it was later penned by a team of other writers. Bain explained their decision to involve additional writers, stating that it was partly due to practical reasons since they were also working on the recommissioned Peep Show. As they looked ahead to potential future series of Fresh Meat, they realised it would be challenging to write both shows simultaneously. 

4. Fresh Meat Was Filmed At Manchester Metropolitan University

Fresh Meat is a production of Lime Pictures, based in Liverpool, and Objective Productions, based in London. The show was filmed at The Sharp Project in Manchester, a studio facility worth £16.5 million.

The series is set in Manchester, and certain scenes are filmed on the campus of Manchester Metropolitan University, near the River Medlock. This includes scenes set within the students' union, which are filmed in the actual students' union of Manchester Metropolitan University. 

The characters' local pub scenes are filmed at the King's Arms in Salford. Many exterior shots were captured at the University of Manchester's main Oxford Road campus, particularly outside the library. 

5. The University Of Salford Was Also Used For Filming

In the second series of Fresh Meat, the University of Salford's library and various exterior areas of the campus were also utilised. 

6. The Fresh Meat Gang Live In Whalley Range, Manchester

The Victorian house where the students reside, known as 28 Hartnell Avenue in the show, is actually located at 28 Mayfield Road in Whalley Range, Manchester. 

7. Cast Members Actually Went To University In Manchester

Both Jack Whitehall and Zawe Ashton went to University in Manchester. Jack Whitehall went to the University of Manchester to study History of Art but dropped out after two terms. Zawe Ashton went to the Manchester School of Theatre and gained a degree in acting.

Greg McHugh, who plays Howard in Fresh Meat, studied Business at the University of Stirling and later trained at the Royal Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. He has said in interviews that he originally intended to study Sports Science but found it too difficult.

Kimberley Nixon, who plays Josie Jones in Fresh Meat, studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

8. Zawe Ashton Has Children With Tom Hiddleston

After starring with each other in the 2018 West End and 2019 Broadway production of Betrayal, Zawe Ashton and Tom Hiddleston began dating. They now have one child together.

9. Charlotte Richie Filmed Fresh Meat While Actually At University

Charlotte Richie, known for playing Oregon in Fresh Meat, went to the University of Bristol to study English and Drama. She also filmed Fresh Meat in her final year of studying.

10. Zawe Ashton’s Grandfather Was Prime Minister of Uganda

Zawe Ashton, who plays Vod in Fresh Meat, is related on her Mother’s side to the former President and Prime Minister of Uganda, Paulo Muwanga.

11. Joe Thomas Attended Cambridge

Joe Thomas studied at the University of Cambridge and read history at Pembroke College. It was here that he met Simon Bird, who played Will in The Inbetweeners, at the Cambridge Footlights. The pair served as President and Secretary of the Footlights in 2005 - 2006.

12. Joe Thomas Felt He Was Like His Character Kingsley At University

In an interview with the Radio Times, Joe Thomas discussed how he felt very like his Fresh Meat character Kingsley at University stating, “I never really recovered from the fact that the lecturers weren't paid to be nice to me. Or that the carrot-and-stick thing that happened at school no longer occurred. If you do quite well, nobody's that bothered; and if you really fuck up, nobody's that bothered. It has to be from you and I was easily distracted.”

13. Fresh Meat Has Been Compared To A Smelly Version Of Friends

Zawe Ashton has remarked in interviews that the Fresh Meat characters, “were basically like dirty, smelly Friends”

14. Kimberley Nixon Auditioned For The Role Of Oregon

Kimberley Nixon auditioned seven times for the part of Josie and six of them were actually auditions for the character of Oregon.

15. Zawe Ashton Auditioned 6 Times

For the part of Vod in Fresh Meat, Zawe Ashton auditioned 6 times. Ashton and Kimberley Nixon previously knew each other because they shared an agent.

16. Joe Thomas Was Reserved About Playing Kingsley

Initially Joe Thomas was concerned that the part of Kingsley in Fresh Meat was too similar to his other well known role of Simon in The Inbetweeners.

17. Zawe Ashton Has Taken Some Of Vod’s Wardrobe

In an interview with NME, Zawe Ashton revealed that she took some of Vod’s clothes from set including her iconic leather jacket. She said that she took it on holiday with her and almost got into trouble when she found some prop marajuana in the pockets at the airport!

18. The Cast Lived Together While Filming

The Fresh Meat cast actually lived together while filming the series. The production of season one took five months to film over the summer in Manchester and the cast lived together in the same building for 12 days to create a real on screen bond. In an interview with NME, the cast discussed having breakfasts together, girls nights and dinner along Canal Street.

19. Tony Gardener Emailed The Cast After The First Episode Aired

Tony Gardener who plays Professor Shales in Fresh Meat wrote to the whole young cast after the first episode aired stating that the show was very special and to get prepared for their lives to change. You also may remember Tony Gardener as playing Brian, the Dad, in My Parents Are Aliens on CITV in the early 2000s.

20. Greg McHugh Was 31 In The First Season Of Fresh Meat

Although Fresh Meat revolves around first-year university students who are typically 18 years old, the actors portraying these characters were older during the show's first season. Charlotte Ritchie was 22 years old, Jack Whitehall was 23, Kimberley Nixon was 26, Zawe Ashton was 27, Joe Thomas was 28, and Greg McHugh was the oldest among them at 31.

21. An After Graduation Deleted Scene Exists

In the final episode of Fresh Meat, there is a deleted scene in which the group reunites via a Skype call three months after their graduation to catch up on their lives. During the call, it is revealed that Howard ended up moving in with JP and Kingsley because his potential flatmates were deemed too "weird." 

However, most viewers agree that the decision to remove this scene was appropriate, as they prefer the melancholic yet realistic open-ending final scene featuring Josie.

22. Fresh Meat Comments On The UK’s Large Increase In Tuition Fees

The protest depicted in Series 1 of Fresh Meat appears to have been inspired by the real-life student demonstrations that occurred in response to the Conservative Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron, announcing an increase in the cap on university tuition fees. This decision drew significant criticism from English and Welsh students, particularly directed at Cameron and his deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. The Liberal Democrats, Clegg's party, had previously made a promise to abolish tuition fees, which added to the outrage. 

In Fresh Meat, glimpses of protesters carrying signs expressing opposition to Cameron and Clegg can be seen in the background, reflecting the influence of these real-world events on the show's storyline.

In 2011 tuition fees for UK universities would be around £3,000 a year and in the subsequent year they were raised to a staggering £9,000 a year.

Fresh Meat Facts - 22 Fresh Meat Facts Every University Student Should Know

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