MY first encounter with Kevin Whately was on a dark and wintry night the best part of 20 years ago.
He and Manchester star John Thaw were promoting a new series of Inspector Morse films. It was to be one of many meetings with the pair.
Never quite at ease at being interviewed – well, who in their right mind would be? – Kevin nevertheless always answers questions as openly and honestly as he can.
He still misses his former co-star and friend John, who died of cancer in February 2002.
I spoke to Kevin again at a service to remember the Burnage-raised actor later that year, when he recalled Thaw’s “mischievous sense of fun”.
The Geordie actor was naturally nervous about returning to the role of Oxford detective Robbie Lewis for a pilot film last year, this time as the leading man.
Now he’s back next Sunday in the first of three more Lewis stories, as you can read in today’s MEN TV feature.
Speaking at the launch of the new films a few weeks ago, former Auf Wiedersehen, Pet star Kevin was still refreshingly honest about his doubts
“John had an attack in his voice, which I’ve never got. So you have to find a different way of driving it along.
“He just had this extra gear in his voice, which was really impressive. And nobody ever mentions it because he was such a fine actor and the voice was all part of it – a really important part for Morse.
“He could steam into somebody and reduce them to wreckage in one sentence. A very powerful voice.”
Lewis again co-stars Laurence Fox as sidekick Det Sgt James Hathaway, who gets some of the best lines in the new films.
“Part of Lewis’s function originally in the Morse films was the audience viewed this strange Morse character though his eyes sometimes, because he was the normal, down-to-earth, everyman character. And we can’t change that too much,” added Kevin.
“We’ve got the Hathaway character in now who’s almost a kind of prototype Morse – a brilliant Cambridge student with a spiritual side.
“I think Lewis has always been a good cop, but we can’t suddenly turn him into Sherlock Holmes.”
Click here to read today’s TV feature, with more about Whately and Thaw, and also check out the links below.
In The Footsteps Of Morse
Final Round Of Applause For Morse
John Thaw Site
John Thaw Forum
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet