“IT was absolutely misconstrued.
“I didn’t come up with the line at all. It was always their line.
“I’ve never claimed that it was my line in the past and I certainly wouldn’t in the future.”
Philip Glenister gave his side of the “Quattrow” story on BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends programme tonight. (Saturday).
Claiming that an interview reference to a “jokey” discussion about the choice of iconic car Gene Hunt should drive in Ashes To Ashes resulted in a mix up.
Fans will recall that Phil has said on many occasions that he didn’t want to end up driving a 1981 Mini Metro – and approved of the subsequent Audi Quattro choice.
“It’s all a bit of a storm in a tea cup,” he said this evening.
(See also Monday Oct 3 update at the bottom of this blog)
Let’s re-wind to the start of this story:
Phil was quoted in this week’s Radio Times as saying he came up with the Ashes To Ashes line: “Fire up the Quattro.”
His quote read: “The writers maintain ‘Fire up the Quattro’ was their idea, but it was mine.
“They will dispute it but – sorry guys – put it in print.”
I have to confess I was puzzled when I first read that quote.
And it produced a furious reaction on Twitter from Ashes co-creator and writer Matthew Graham.
Who said he had proof the line was his idea – having drafts of the script before Glenister ever saw it.
Having interviewed Phil many times, including over the course of both Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, I simply couldn’t understand what I was reading.
It was always clear that Matthew had come up with the line – and that Phil knew that and fully acknowledged it.
Being careful in every interview to credit Matthew and Ashes co-creator and writer Ashley Pharoah for their work.
I assumed Phil had either been joking or there has been some kind of misunderstanding.
Not so, said the writer of the article.
Who also made clear that Phil had namechecked Matthew and Ashley elsewhere in the interview.
But their names had been left out of the final edit as it was primarily an interview about Phil’s new BBC1 drama series Hidden – not Life On Mars or Ashes To Ashes.
Which is perfectly understandable.
Anyway, I simply report what Phil said tonight, speaking for the first time about the issue since the interview was published.
Here’s the audio of him being asked about it by Loose Ends presenter Clive Anderson:
So Phil claims it was somehow a misunderstanding.
Saying of Gene Hunt:
“You know, he’s a controversial character. If I say something, you know…it’s always quite fun to find a little bit of controversy to go with it…”
Which I understood to be a reference to the media’s attitude to Gene stories.
Not an admission that he had claimed to have invented the ‘Fire up the Quattro’ script line.
It’s a shame that jovial host Clive then interrupted and said:
“OK. So you’re basically saying something to get your name in the papers. That was a shameless bit of self-promotion.”
Then moving on without giving Glenister a chance to clarify – the actor having already claimed that he was misconstrued.
But hopefully this rather daft episode can now be laid to rest.
And we can all move on.
Monday October 3 update:
Although not asked about this “storm in a tea cup,” Phil told BBC Breakfast:
“I often say things that come out in the press that aren’t quite accurate.”
Later asked directly on ITV1’s This Morning if he came up with the line, he replied:
“It definitely wasn’t me. Honest guv.”
Repeating his “misconstrued” claim, crediting both Matthew and Ashley with the line.
Adding: “It’s all silly.”
Here’s the audio clip of the This Morning exchange: