THEY found fame being followed around by camera crews in the posh parts of London.
Now, Made In Chelsea stars Francis Boulle and Jamie Laing are heading round the country to show off Private Parts – a live show giving glimpses into their lives beyond what’s seen on TV.
Starting at the Edinburgh Fringe with three lives shows over the weekend, the pair are determined to show that there’s more to reality TV stars than meets the eye.
The Sunday Post caught up with the duo just minutes after they’d performed their second and sold-out show of a run of three at the Fringe.
“In our first show there were a few technical hiccups here and there, teething issues I suppose but we styled it out I think,” laughs Francis Boulle as he gets his breath back, fresh off the stage. “Today went a lot smoother. We’re really pleased with it, we came off and thought it was a good second show. It’s a huge buzz.”
We’re sitting in the VIP area next to the huge upturned cow that forms one of Edinburgh’s more unique venues, the Udderbelly, where Francis and best friend Jamie Laing have just entertained over 400 people.
It’s not just the second show of their tour, which takes Private Parts on a journey across the UK, but is really just their second ever show.
“We’ve only done it in front of our agents and producers before,” Francis admits. “The first shows are like our dress rehearsal.”
Jamie then joins us. It’s clear he’s had a blast on stage and his boundless energy carries on as he reflects on the past hour.
Thankfully, he’s got his clothes on now, having performed a Trainspotting-esque dash to the venue with just a towel to protect his modesty in a show opener that comes perilously close to fully living up to the name Private Parts.
The duo have fronted the podcast of the same name for over a year now, having started out recording a show for fun in a cupboard while on a trip to the south of France.
It proved a hit, with celebrity guests including their former Chelsea counterpart Spencer Matthews, comedian Russell Kane and Gavin & Stacey star Mathew Horne joining in the fun.
“The whole point of it is it’s meant to be two friends on stage together having fun,” Jamie says. “What we’ve done is we’ve built from the podcast into something more. I think a lot of people are coming thinking it’s just going to be a podcast but we’re doing a complete show. That’s what I think we’ve achieved.
“We’ve written, directed and done all this show ourselves and it’s the second performance we’ve ever done. We’re proud of ourselves.”
Chatting to them, it’s clear that they are very excited to add another string to their bow.
Most will know them from the dramatic scenes shot on the streets of Chelsea, with break-ups and bust-ups the order of the day.
Although his appearances in the reality series are now fleeting, Francis was an original cast Made In Chelsea cast member – a point he’s keen to stress in comparison with Jamie, who joined the series later and wasn’t the one who accepted the show’s BAFTA.
Jamie remains in the show, appearing in most episodes getting up to all sorts of antics in glamorous settings, and has also been seen on various panel shows and this year’s celebrity edition of The Great British Bake Off.
The pair are acutely aware they’ve got an advantage on other acts performing at the Fringe with their TV background – but don’t want that to be the reason they’re selling tickets.
“We don’t want to con the audience and just sell it on the back of our own names,” Jamie insists adamantly. “In a way it’s slightly embarrassing that we can sell out places without being known to do anything.
“We’d rather not make any money at all but have a great show than make money with a crap show. That’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
Francis adds: “A lot of people go round the country and do the opposite and profit off the fact that people will come and see them no matter what they’re doing.”
Jamie admits that they’ve always been ‘incredibly ambitious’ about what they want to do, and that their willingness to step out of their comfort zone proves a point when it comes to what people might think about reality TV stars.
“There’s a huge criticism towards reality stars, especially Made In Chelsea, where we’re perceived as these people who don’t really do anything, work and live off our parents money,” he says.
“It’s not really true at all. We come from privileged backgrounds of course, but at the same time Francis and I are very driven and work hard.
“We’re both in business [Jamie runs a luxury brand of sweets Candy Kittens and Francis has just launched Yosshi Cider] and we do our own things and we always want to sort of, in the most un-arrogant way possible, pioneers in what we do. We want to be the first people to go and do it.
“Doing this and putting ourselves out there – we could fall on our faces, we’ve no idea – but at least we’d give it a go. As Woody Allen says, 50% of success is turning up.”
Francis interjects: “I think he actually says 70%…”
“We’ll argue about this all day!” Jamie laughs.
They’re both wrong, the quote is 80%.
But what they seem to have got right is the location to launch their new venture, with Edinburgh the perfect destination to give it a go.
It’s where many a career in live shows has begun, and has been the launchpad to success for so many over the years.
And Francis and Jamie have made more than a decent start, selling out the Udderbelly.
View this post on Instagram
If you have been to the Edinburgh Festival before you will know what this place is. This is where @francis.boulle and I will be performing in front of 400 people Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We’ve been working on our show for 6 months and it’s finally time!! I couldn’t be more excited, proud and scared all at the same time. To all of you who are coming, thank you and to all of you who are watching us later down the line, we can’t wait to see you soon. Hopefully we will make you giggle!! #privareparts
“When I said we should take the show to the Fringe I thought it would be like, in the basement of a pub somewhere to twenty people,” Francis admits.
“It’s the ideal spot for it because there’ll be a lot of people who don’t really know what to expect, I guess this frames it in the lens of the festival. It’s a great association to do a show here that sells out and I guess any comedy show does it as a rite of passage.”
Jamie agrees, adding: “Coming here with all its history is pretty insane.”
There’s also another great reason to kick-off the tour in Edinburgh, with Francis having studied at the city’s university, and Jamie having Scottish roots – his dad’s side originating in Perthshire.
But Francis questions his pal’s Caledonian credentials: “He didn’t even know what the national animal was. He pretends to be Scottish. He’s a fraud!”
Jamie, who now knows it’s the unicorn, fires back: “I’m the Grant tartan, my middle name is Grant!”
The back and forth banter is the foundation of the show and where the duo’s comedy potential shines through.
While it was clear in their show that they’re fairly new to this game, there was a charm to their performance as Francis’s dry wit becomes the yin to the bubbly Jamie’s yang.
They’re evidently having fun doing something a little different and have several more dates across the country on the back of what appears to be a successful Fringe debut.
“It’s such an amazing feeling to test something out in an area of our lives which is relatively unexplored and get such a great response,” Francis says. “To get the jokes to hit and get those laughs. You’re walking into the unknown in many ways.
“It’s very encouraging that people actually were receptive to it. I think we were very certain that we didn’t want to do something and put our names to something that we didn’t think was good.
“We spent a lot of time on this show and didn’t just settle for anything second rate. Well we hope it’s not second rate! So far people seem to not think so.”
After their weekend in Edinburgh, Francis and Jamie head back down south to prepare for a number of dates in October.
And they’re eagerly anticipating hitting the road.
“Think the Rolling Stones but bigger, that’s what it’s going to be like,” Jamie laughs. “Francis and I are such close friends and it’s very hard to be with people on the road like that.
“We’ve lived with each other for years we see each other the whole time and it’s just going to be a hell of a lot of fun just going on tour with your mate.”
Francis adds: “I can’t wait. It’s very addictive and moreish, I just want to go and do it right away.
“It’ll be interesting to see how the show plays out to different audiences. It’s like testing it out on a Petrie dish… not that people are like bacteria or anything!”
Jamie concludes: “It’s very exciting because it’s our show and we can mould it in anyway possible. It’s completely our baby and we definitely nurture it like it’s our baby.”
The Private Parts live tour takes place across the UK this autumn, for details visit http://www.privatepartspodcast.com/