He has played Jay in The Inbetweeners and was even the young Del Boy, but now Croydon-born James Buckley is taking on his first solo lead role in a feature film.

In award-winning director Mark Murphy’s The Comedian’s Guide to Survival, he plays a failing comedian (also called James) who comes to a crossroads in his life and is given an ultimatum by his boss – either take a promotion and give up on stand-up or stick to comedy and lose his job.

James, 28, told Vibe: “He is probably one of the most complicated characters I’ve played in recent years. And he’s not really even that complicated!

“I saw the character very much as a sort of “Blackadder”. An intelligent man who is very self aware and surrounded by many people that irritates him or makes his life difficult.

“There’s also the family side, he’s a husband and father, and has to constantly juggle his family life with his dream of being a successful comedian.”

The film co-stars MyAnna Buring (Twilight, Downton Abbey), Paul Kaye (It’s All Gone Pete Tong, Game of Thrones) and Neil Stuke (Game On, Silk). James’ real-life wife Clair plays his on-screen wife and there are cameos from the likes of Jimmy Carr and Omid Djalili.

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James said: “Everyone was brilliant who is involved with this film. I managed to collect a few of my hero’s along the way, Paul Kaye, Mark Heap and Kevin Eldon to name a few.

“There is a car scene with Kevin that is quite special. It was originally a scene with three lines written, but we improvised and it’s become this very long but very funny exchange. I hope they can fit as much of that scene as possible into the edit.”

Having starred in the most successful sitcom of this generation, it is inevitable that James will always be remembered for The Inbetweeners. Far from seeing it as a millstone, James is happy to be associated with the show.

“I don’t see how it is a curse in any way. There are British comedic actors that will go to the grave trying to achieve what we managed, and I feel very lucky to have managed to be a part of something so popular.”

Hailing from a family of south Londoners, James has been a proud Crystal Palace fan since birth. With that in mind, we asked him for his personal highs and lows of being an Eagles fan.

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The Highs
 

Off the top of my head my four best moments would probably be:

1997 play-off final - David Hopkins’s amazing goal.

2004 play-off final - I grew up in Dagenham from the age of two, so all my friends are West Ham fans, which made that day just that bit sweeter.

2013 play-off final - I was at Wembley and felt sick with nerves the whole game until the penalty

And Darren Ambrose’s goal against Man Utd in the league cup at old Trafford. I was supposed to be at that game, but it was a good job I couldn’t make it otherwise I’m sure that goal wouldn’t have happened.

This Is Local London: Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie

The Lows

I don’t want to dwell on negatives, they’re mostly people rather than actual results and I don’t want to upset anyone.

I’m not allowed to criticise Iain Dowie publicly or his son starts sending me prissy twitter messages.

I think it was a shame what happened with Simon Jordan, I know he was very much a Marmite character but I think he was good chairman and clearly loved the club.

For a long time I wished he had just tried harder to sign Tim Cahill, but I understand his problem with paying agents fees, and why he would get fed up investing in a youth system only to have one of the big boys come and pretty much steal your hot prospects.

But it’s difficult to think about negatives right now as a palace fan, we’re enjoying another season in the top flight and have a very good team, with some great players brought in last transfer window. So I’ll leave it at that.

James Buckley stars in The Comedian’s Guide to Survival, which is due for release next year.