Interview extra

Craig Charles, Coronation StreetSeptember 6, 2012

Craig Charles

The discovery that he has a long-lost daughter comes as a shock to Coronation Street cabbie Lloyd. But he soon warms to the idea of being a dad. In real-life, Craig Charles, who plays him, is a happily married family man — even if his kids do take the mickey out of him!

Do you enjoy your scenes with Simon Gregson, who plays Steve McDonald?
I love working with Simon. We’re best mates off the set as well as on. We live quite close and our families socialise. We have a kind of telepathy — a shorthand — when acting together. A lot of actors have plenty of ego and they want the best lines. But if you have the feed line, say it and let the gag work. Don’t try to make the feed funny because it spoils the gag. But Simon understands all of that.

You have been in Corrie for seven years now. Has that gone quickly?
It’s flown by. I didn’t think I was going to be in it this long but, you know, Corrie is a very difficult place to leave. The cast and crew are great and I’m happy in my work. The writing is beautifully scripted. I love the way they can juxtapose high drama with slapstick comedy. There can be one scene where people bawl their eyes out and then they cut to another with Norris in the corner shop which will make you laugh. And Granada has been very nice to me in letting me go off to make a new series of Red Dwarf.

So are you getting lots of people asking you about Red Dwarf?
Yes, but I haven’t really given much away. I’m really pleased with it. The writing is right up there with some of the best ever written for the series. It’s exceeded my expectations. And of course with technology moving on so much, it makes it look spectacular.

You’ve been quoted as saying that it’s grumpy old men in space and that there’s a lot of middle-aged spread. Is there any truth in that?
They’re all so ancient now! I’m the only one who’s got a bit of youth left. Kryten [Robert Llewellyn] is crammed full of software these days and if Cat [Danny John-Jules] wasn’t wearing a wig he’d just be a balding old man, believe me, and Chris Barrie [who plays Rimmer] can’t remember a line! My shoulders are killing me from carrying the three of them for the whole series. My character, Dave Lister, might be middle aged these days but his hair-cut is still that of a 21 year-old!

You have two daughters aged 14 and nine, and a son of 24. Do they ever see any old footage of you on TV?
Sometimes there are clips of me as a 17-year-old on BBC reciting poetry and my kids are always shocked by how strong my Scouse accent was back then. They then start taking the mickey by walking around all day with really strong accents saying things like, ‘Dad, do you want chicken? Or do you want turkey? Chicken, dad, or turkey?’

That’s kids, for you…
I’ve got posh kids. They are the type of kids me and my mates would punish when we were coming home from school and see them at the bus stop!

ITV1, Monday, Wednesday & Friday

Jim Maloney

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