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Les Dennis talks about his play at The Swan and his new role in Corrie
AS Les Dennis planned "The Perfect Murder" on stage, he found out back stage that he had bagged a regular role on one of the most famous streets in the UK- Coronation Street.
The actor, who starred in Ricky Gervais' Extras, said it has been a whirlwind, as two weeks into the tour of Peter James' The Perfect Murder he went for a screen test for Corrie.
He managed to fit in a bit of filming at the end of January which will appear on our screens at the end of March. And meanwhile he continues to play Victor Smiley in the crime thriller, which is coming to the Swan tomorrow.
Claire Goose (Casualty) plays his wife, Joan, in the show while Steven Miller (Casualty) plays Detective Roy Grace. Gray O'Brien and Simona Armstrong finish the five strong cast.
Les had read a couple of Peter James' novels and was thrilled to be offered the part. Peter James has sold more than 15 million of his Roy Grace series.
And Les said it is a real treat for fans of the novelist to see Roy Grace brought to life on stage.
The story follows Victor Smiley and his wife Joan who have been married for a long time. When their marriage reaches crisis point Victor decides there is only one way to get her out of his life forever, but he's about to get a nasty surprise.
But what does he think of his character, Victor? He said: "I have got to make him sympathetic, in a way. At times he isn't- he is boarish and brash.
"He is a chauvinistic pig and we have got to somehow keep the audience interested in him having this plan to commit the perfect murder.
"But Joan might have other plans."
And he said there is a lot of comedy in the show.
He said: "He is great fun to play. There are times with Joan, remember she is played by Claire Goose who is gorgeous, she says 'I am still attractive' and he says 'Only to flies' and you can hear the audience go ooh."
And he thinks this is because many people in the audience can relate to the mundanity of a married couple on a Sunday afternoon- he said they can see character traits in themselves.
He said: "Even though it is called the Perfect Murder it is a black comedy. In a sense it is a comedy thriller.
"It is a really entertaining evening. I know that from audience reaction. We have had some great comments on Twitter and the reviews have been good."
He will be in the tour until April, which is when he will return to Coronation Street for filming. He has already done a bit of filming which will appear on our screens in late March.
Les will be playing petty criminal Michael Rodwell, who will find himself caught up in the lives of a family on the street after breaking into their house.
He said: "He's going to be a regular character at the heart of one of the families on the street.
"I am absolutely thrilled. It is a dream job. I have always loved Corrie.
"The acting is brilliant- the writing is fantastic, it has really interesting storylines- as we have just seen with Hayley.
"It has also got some of the best comedy writing in Britain. It has got everything for me."
When he first stepped foot on the street he said he was awe inspired. It has just moved into new studios so it was new for the other actors too.
And it is perfect timing for the former Family Fortunes presenter as he has just moved up to Cheshire with his wife and their two kids, aged six and three.
Before the tour Les was playing Arthur in the Monty Python musical, Spamalot.
He said:"That was a great job to do. I know Bonnie Langford really well but I hadn't worked with her before.
"I worked with Warwick Davis in Life's Too Short. It was just a lovely job."
He had the pleasure of doing a Children in Need special with Eric Idle who came to see the show, so he is hoping he might get tickets for the Monty Python reunion tour.
And will he do any more work with Ricky Gervais? He starred in Extras, and then went on to do Life's Too Short.
He said: "Ricky came to see the play in Brighton with his partner, Jane. I know there was talk of doing a spin off [of Life's Too Short] with myself, Shaun Williamson and Keith Chegwin"
But he said he would have to wait and see on work schedules and what's coming up adding of Ricky: "He's always loyal to people who have worked with him before."
And of course many may have seen Les in last year's Celebrity Masterchef.
He made it to the final and viewers watched him improve massively throughout the programme.
He said: "There were times I wanted to run away. I had a bad start.
"Viewers seemed to love my journey and to see how much I improved. I got to the final and to be in the last three.
"It was a fantastic experience. I have realised as I have just turned 60 I can cook. I didn't realise."
The Perfect Murder is at the Wycombe Swan from March 10 to 15 at 7.30pm with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm.
Tickets range from £18 to £27. To book call 01494 512000 or go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk
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