Les Dennis, 69, on taking part in Grandad within the musical, engaged on Extras with Ricky Gervais and why he retains going.
You’re taking part in Grandad in Solely Fools And Horses The Musical. Are you excited?
I used to be so excited to get the job. The three characters, Rodney, Del Boy and Grandad, had been just like the holy trinity of British comedy and such an necessary a part of our comedy tradition. It nonetheless not solely stands up as a fantastic present due to the comedy but additionally due to the reality of the characters and the pathos. When Del says, ‘This time subsequent yr we’ll be millionaires’, you actually really feel for them and when that did ultimately occur, all people was in tears.
So that you’re an enormous fan of the tv present?
Completely. On the time that it was actually huge within the Eighties, I used to be recording The Laughter Present with Dustin Gee on the BBC within the studio subsequent to the Fools And Horses studio. We used to say hey within the canteen and Nicholas Lyndhurst and Lennard Pearce really got here in to do a sketch with us as Grandad and Rodney.
Why do you suppose it stays so in style?
It captures that dysfunctional household we will all relate to and their aspirations. It’s acquired nice comedy however it’s acquired nice coronary heart and that’s what we attempt to carry to the present as effectively. Individuals determine with the characters. All of us suppose we all know a Del Boy or we’ve acquired a Grandad in our household.
Do you do any singing?
I do. It’s not like a West Finish manufacturing within the sense that it’s an enormous huge musical. It’s extra a play with songs they usually’re actually integral to the story. Singing isn’t a fear for me.
I did Hairspray final yr and I did my first opera final yr too: HMS Pinafore, on the London Coliseum. That was a brand new factor. It was the comedian patter songs I used to be singing, besides,I used to be working with superb classically skilled opera singers.
Ever take into consideration taking it straightforward?
I’ve simply turned 69 and I maintain going as a result of I maintain getting fascinating jobs that make me need to do them. You possibly can’t simply undergo the motions, you’ve acquired to essentially make investments and need to do it, particularly whenever you’re doing eight reveals per week. After we go into one thing we’re lower than pace with, all of us have a little bit of impostor syndrome, however it’s one thing you combat. Generally it’s important to face your worry and do it anyway.
When are you happiest, on stage or display screen?
I really like a mixture of each. I’ve achieved a few telly issues this yr that I loved. I unexpectedly hosted Countdown, in order that acquired me again to the sport present days and I beloved it. I used to be alleged to be on Dictionary Nook however Colin Murray acquired Covid and I used to be requested to sit down within the seat and ended up internet hosting for eight reveals. I believed, ‘Wow I’ve missed this’. It was enjoyable.
Do you miss stand-up?
I haven’t achieved that form of stuff for a very long time, though final yr I used to be going to do a retrospective tour about 50 years of being Les Dennis as a result of it was my fiftieth celebration. I did Alternative Knocks in 1971. However attributable to Covid it didn’t occur, so perhaps I’ll come again to that as a result of I’ve acquired a great deal of tales and anecdotes.
What’s been your most pinch-yourself second?
Definitely Royal Selection Exhibits. I keep in mind watching these reveals once I was a child, seeing Ken Dodd, Jimmy Tarbuck and all of the Liverpool comedians, pondering I need to do this someday. After which whenever you do get to face in that line there’s a pinch-yourself second. Working with Ricky Gervais [on the TV show Extras] was one other one, the place you’re pondering, ‘Am I actually doing this?’.
What would you be doing should you hadn’t been found?
I keep in mind pondering to myself once I was beginning out doing the golf equipment, ‘I’ll give myself ’til I’m 30 and if I haven’t achieved something, I would do one thing else’. However I don’t know what I’d have achieved. I believe I’d have carried on being a jobbing comic, doing the working males’s golf equipment that don’t actually exist any extra. So it may need fizzled out for me.
I’ve been very fortunate. However I’ve labored very exhausting to be this fortunate. I believe I’ve managed to maneuver with the enterprise, in any other case you’ll simply not be round anymore.
We hear you’re an enormous fan of the sport Wordle…
I’m. I used to be doing a radio sitcom earlier this yr – Kiri Pritchard-McLean’s The Learners – and the opposite actors had been Wordle followers so I believed, ‘Proper, I’m going to do it on daily basis’. And I do. Generally I get up and do my Wordle simply to get it out the way in which. It’s good for protecting the mind going.
Is there something you haven’t achieved that you just’d love to do?
I haven’t achieved Shakespeare, which I’d like to do. I did a season on the RSC in 2019, doing restoration comedy and tragedy, so I acquired fairly shut.
Dennis stars in Solely Fools And Horses The Musical at Theatre Royal Haymarket till January 7, onlyfoolsmusical.com