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Wednesday 19 March 2014

Coronation Street Blog interview with Les Dennis

There can’t be many people who have not heard of Les Dennis, long time host of Family Fortunes and  all round  terrific entertainer and actor.

I had the pleasure of meeting him in London at ITV Towers, Southbank, at a press round table event last month.

Of joining Coronation Street Les said, ‘I am so thrilled to be joining the cast of Coronation Street. It has always been my favourite television programme, mixing high drama with some of the best comedy on television.’ Les made mention of Raquel and Curly to provide an excellent example of how Coronation Street succeeds in mixing comedy with heartbreak.

Les said that joining his and our favourite Street all happened very swiftly. One Monday, early this year, he got the call, the following Monday he did a daunting screen test and the Monday after that he was actually filming.  Les says he thrives on pressure and believes that it brings out his very best work.

Les is most impressed by Coronation Street’s new set and said that for the rest of the cast it was a little disorientating being on the new set after having been on the old one for so long. Of the current cast, Les knows Helen Worth (Gail) well, but was sorry that Sue Johnson (Gloria) has just left as he was at her 70th birthday bash just before Christmas.

Les was sixty years old  last October and yet has the energy of a toddler on a sugar rush. He’s here there and everywhere. He has two young children too and anyone who has looked after young children knows how exhausting that can be. His children are 3 and 6 but he also has a 34 year old son.
Les started filming on January 27 and he will appear on screen on March 24. He will play a character called Michael Rodwell, who is a petty criminal, and like most petty criminals, Michael is down on his luck.  He will appear in two episodes at first, then not again until June.

In his first appearance, Michael breaks into the Platts’ house, but is disturbed by Gail and Kylie. He then dashes down the cobbles to his van. Michael wears a cap and has very large pockets which help him when he’s taking things from other people.
 When Michael reappears in June, a restorative justice storyline will be explored. So, we must imagine that Gail and maybe other members of her family will come face to face with Les, in his role as Michael. Les says that he personally believes in restorative justice as it removes the fear and the idea that the intruder is a monster.  It also makes the perpetrator realise the psychological damage he’s done. Michael, Les added, is not a career criminal; he’s just down on his luck after family troubles. There but for the grace of God…

 Following on from the restorative justice story line, a fascinating friendship develops between Michael and Gail, much to the annoyance of her family. People have been saying for a while that Gail needs a new man in her life. Could her next romance involve Michael or does their relationship veer towards the platonic? Whatever happens, this is undoubtedly a thrilling story line and Sally, now smugly shacked up with Tim, may have her opinion to share with her best friend Gail, as to the wisdom of such a friendship.

As mentioned earlier, Les is a busy man and here is the proof. This year Les is on tour at major UK theatres starring in award winning writer Shaun McKenna’s stage adaptation of bestselling author Peter James’ novel - The Perfect Murder.

Added to this, last Christmas -2013 -  Les guest -starred in ITV’s Midsomer Murders. This followed a fifteen week season at The Playhouse in London in which Les starred as King Arthur in Spamalot.
There’s more – Les finished joint runner-up in the 2013 Grand Final of Masterchef and subsequently made guest appearances in the Masterchef  Masterclasses at the BBC Good Food shows at Olympia and at the NEC.

He also appeared in a Life’s Too Short Special for BBC2 which was written by the brilliant comedy writing team, Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant of The Office and Extras fame. Les also played a hugely deluded actor in the brilliant series Extras, who was convinced that his much younger and very attractive girlfriend really loved him.

There is still more, because in 2012, Les played the role of Jigsy , the name of the character and also the play, written by Tony Staveacre and directed by Hannah Chiswick . Both were at The Edinburgh festival and in Bristol. Jigsy is a one-man play about a man who has never made it and as a result is embittered.

Les also starred in Certified with Christopher Timothy at the Curve Theatre in Leicester, and in the October of 2012, Les played Jigsy at The Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool. There he won The Liverpool Post’s Best actor award for his performance which must have been extra sweet, for Les, as Liverpool is his home city.

Lazy, self-important, arrogant and rude – the exact opposite of what Les Dennis is. He greeted everyone with a handshake and a smile and thanked us for interviewing him. I for one will tell anyone who asks and for that matter, anyone who doesn't ask, just what Les Dennis is like. My reply will be that he is an absolutely lovely man, who smiles ansd laughs a lot and who has ‘no side’ to him. His feet are firmly on the ground. – all that despite being a versatile and excellent actor. He will be a brilliant addition to Coronation Street.  
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Rebecca said...

I'll be the first to admit that I've never heard of him! LOL! Oh well, sometimes that's for the best anyway. Hope the writers do something with the character.

Hoon Han Hung said...

Get me get this right - a bloke breaks into your home where you have a small child with intent to rob you and you end up with him as your new boyfriend? Have the writers taken leave of their senses? Not looking forward to this as it will mean more of the Platts who I prefer on the back burner.

abbyk said...

Oh dear, another plausible romance. Maybe Gail can compare notes with Sophie. *sigh*

Ruth owen said...

Les used the word friendship regarding Gail - it may or may not develop into a romance.

Zagg said...

Hey wait a minute....haven't we seen this story line before? Uh...yeah....right NOW with Sloppie and Maddehhhh.
What is wrong with these writers?

Anonymous said...

Oh no! Not the greatest actor ever. Do they really need a bit of publicity so badly?


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