Will Smith delighted fans with a Fresh Prince reunion on The Graham Norton Show.
Downton Abbey's Brendan Coyle talks Sky1's Starlings
Brendan Coyle in Starlings - Sky
Downton Abbey's Brendan Coyle stars in Sky1 comedy drama Starlings, which follows the lives of a typical working class brood living in a detached house in Matlock, Derbyshire.
Best known now for his role as Bates in the ITV1 period drama, Brendan Coyle plays electrician Terry Starling alongside Scott & Bailey's Lesley Sharp as his wife, Jan.
The cast includes Alan Williams (of Luther fame), actress Finn Atkins (who had a stint in EastEnders), John Dagleish (E4's Beaver Falls), Rebecca Night (Lark Rise to Candleford), and Ukweli Roach (lately seen in ITV1 drama Eternal Law). We sat down for a chat with Brendan Coyle ahead of the show's Sky1 debut on 13 May.
Why did this drama appeal to you?
I found it very, very funny! I felt great warmth towards these characters - and it just had one of those 'yes' moments that you get with scripts. It made me laugh out loud and I just loved these characters. I felt a great warmth towards them - no anxiety or tension or confrontation. I just thought - this is really lovely.
What's it like having Lesley play your wife?
It's a dream. I always knew I would work with Lesley - our paths have crossed, but I thought it would be some kind of great drama, killing each other, say. And instead it's this - it's a dream. She's a dream.
How do you see yourself as an actor? Dramatic or comedic?
I see myself as an actor. I don't differentiate between those two disciplines at all. I think great humour lies in the truth of playing a situation. Sometimes farce and technique comes into play when it comes to being a comedic actor. But I see myself as just a performer, and that applies to Greek drama or a modern comedy.
Some people say it's harder to play a comic rather than star in a drama.
Yes, timing has to come into play and a certain rhythm. Gags and humour are written in a specific way and it has to be relayed in a certain way. You can't be a casual observer of something humorous; you have to be engaged for the relationship between the actor and the audience to work, so I guess that's where the problem lies. This stuff just works.
Is Terry Starling a breath of fresh air in comparison to Bates, your Downton Abbey character?
I like to think I didn't consciously do this because it's simply very different. But, around the time this came around, I was offered a couple of other moody men; moody man with a cloak, moody man with a knife... I really like Terry Starling so maybe something made my barometer go - let's go that way. Just be around funny people for a while!
Alan Williams as Grandad, Finn Atkins as Charlie, John Dagleish as Gravy, Steve Edge as Fergie, Matt King as Loz, Lesley Sharp as Jan, Brendan Coyle as Terry, Rebecca Night as Bell, Ukweli Roach as Rueben - Image, Sky
What kind of guy is he?
He's big hearted; he's a bit bemused. He sees the world as a kind of gallery of characters that don't see the world he sees. Myself and Lesley are the heart of the Starling family; they're just both trying to put their arms around the family.
There weren't meant to be so many people in the house; we were just meant to have one grown up boy who won't leave. Now we have granddad who, as a result of a court order, has sort of moved in. We have one long lost son looking for his dad and a cousin who's been kicked out by his girlfriend. It all inadvertently comes together.
Talking about comedy, do you think British comedy is in a healthy state?
It's in a very healthy state - I think this country is really, really strong on comedy. With Sky and BBC Three, Channel 4 - there are some great intelligent platforms for stand up movements, which is phenomenal. Let's rock and roll here! Britain's a funny place with a lot of funny people.
What makes you laugh?
Starlings is hilarious! It's the funniest thing on British television. One of the first things that struck me about Starlings was: who's making it? And I looked at our producer, Alison MacPhail of Nighty Night and the Mighty Boosh, and Baby Cow - all that stuff. Steve Coogan and Henry Norman are our bosses!
Why do you think family continues to be such a good source of material?
It's where we all come from and where we all go back to; it's the thing we can't escape, for better or for worse. It's what defines us. It's what we grow up in and from, and also what we go back to. It's what we need. It gives us our sense of community.
Where can you see this series going?
Every episode is pretty much self-contained. It's a different venture for each character throughout the series. The first episode is always tricky because you're introducing all the characters. And it's not a sitcom so it's not about gag, gag, gag! I love it - unashamedly.
Starlings airs on Sky1 from Sunday 13 May at 8pm
related stories on msn
latest tv videos
Saoirse Ronan has revealed she wasn't impressed with the taste of screen blood during her portrayal of vampire Eleanor in Neil Jordan's Byzantium.
Date 14 hrs ago, Duration 2:16, Views 203