Drew Pearce and Ben Gregor on getting slacker superheroes out of the pub and onto the screen.

No Heroics has taken as long to get to screen as any other passion project, in that it feels like it's been forever, but you always need more time. We - being Drew the writer/creator /producer and Ben the director - met in March 2007, as we prepared to shoot the pilot for ITV's first narrative sitcom, about off-duty superheroes in a pub.

We gravitated towards each other because we wanted the same thing from the show - a funny, cool comedy, shot with the best production values we could barter. More importantly, we had a shared belief in how to translate the scripts to screen: to unlock the funny in superheroics, you had to undercut the characters' lives rather than camp them up. It was all about the mundane. Obviously, that clarity of belief would be called into question several zillion times during the following year and a half, but it helped to have a shared mission statement.

The pilot shoot went well, and ITV2 greenlit a full series. So in January 2008, with finished scripts in hand, we went into full production. The trick with No Heroics was always going to be how to bring this believable, recognisable superhero world to the screen with all the ambition the scripts hinted at, but with the money we had in our pockets (it does ITV2 no disservice to suggest our budget was not quite the same as that of Iron Man). We managed this, ultimately, the old-fashioned way - through begging, some blackmail, and by employing literally the best people we could find. From Annie Hardinge on costume to Dick Lunn on design and Lucy Cain doing make-up, all our departments constantly surprised us with the highest quality work imaginable. At which point we'd usually just ask for one or two small changes.

When you're filming up to nine pages of comedy a day, the shoot is always going to be quite tough. Principal photography began with three weeks at Ealing Studios, lovingly hammering out pages of dialogue. We had a wonderful solution to energy dips in the shape of our four main cast members - Nicholas Burns, Claire Keelan, James Lance and Rebekah Staton, comedy's own Von Trapp family. As a team, they were not only pinpoint precise with their comedy, but they also shared the amazing ability to switch in and out of song on the instant that the clapperboard slammed shut. With 1980s pop hits a favourite, it was like having our very own Magic FM on set if Magic FM was constantly asking to go for a fag.

Then, at the beginning of March, we hit the road to shoot our heroes out and about. The usual surprises awaited, not least the fact that superhero costumes, despite their superficial resemblance to wetsuits, appear to hold no heat-retaining qualities: our poor actors admitted that standing in winter winds was “worse than being naked”.

Location also brought the challenge of some much bigger special effects. Though we constantly struggled to find enough budget for what we wanted to do, we mostly achieved brilliant results with loads of in-camera puppeteering and simple masks and plates. Of course, what can seem like a hilariously off-hand visual joke on the page - “then the limousine blows up”, for example - turned out to be a tad more involved in real life.

Post-production transpires to be - surprise! - a similar rollercoaster of emotion and deadlines. On the upside it turns out that having a brilliant comedy editor (in this case, Billy Sneddon of The Thick of It) can make what you shot 10% funnier. On the downside, our brilliant FX company Finish have to implement vaguely Dickensian, boy-up-a-chimney working practices to complete our numerous effects shots, with the loss of only three street waifs. And, as we deliver the shows and wait for the first episode to transmit, we know the only way those poor boys' sacrifices can ever be justified... is if we get that second series order.
No Heroics is a Tiger Aspect production for ITV2. It airs from Thursday 18 September at 10.30pm for six weeks

Drew and Ben: Our tricks of the trade
When shooting a superhero comedy, always keep vintage copies of 2000AD comic near you at the monitor. They alleviate agitation during long lighting set-ups, while also giving you a prop to distract people with annoying notes or questions.

Get a cab to and from the set together - it's a chance to get excited in the mornings, change things round before the shoot gets going, and show a united front on arrival at set. In the evenings, a chance to drink warm lager and drive slowly through Acton while you get the kind of niggly stuff off your chest that nobody but the two of you even cares about.

Finally, assume that from day two onwards, all those promises you made to yourself about eating healthily will evaporate. You are going to get fatter, so face facts and have that cooked breakfast.