Quattrow: Philip Glenister

Philip Glenister on The Alan Titchmarsh Show earlier this week

“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:

9.06 Time to fire up the BBC spell check.

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.”

On This Morning: "It's all silly."

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:


Loose Ends

Hidden: Philip Glenister

Follow Ian Wylie on Twitter



Filed under Ashes To Ashes, News

14 responses to “Quattrow: Philip Glenister

  1. Not really worth getting into an argument over is it ?

    Long live the guv (whatever temporal plane he’s on)

  2. Thanks Ian, for confirming what I always suspected, this was a huge misunderstanding and a prime example of how some words in print are no match for real emotions and reactions.
    I hope that Phil, Matthew and Ashley can move on from this and resume what I thought of as a beautiful friendship.

  3. Ian – is it me, or has the Radio Times changed approach recently, or got new PR people?? I always think of it as a fairly middle of the road listings magazine, but recently lots of celebs have got into hot water over comments made in RT interviews. Joanna Lumley saying we’re a nation of shoplifters. The Midsomer Murders race thing. David Mitchell wrote about being “stitched-up” by the RT… Did a search and found this: http://themediablog.typepad.com/the-media-blog/2011/03/david-mitchell-radio-times.html Would be interested to know your thoughts.

    • Hi Kirsty – new editor Ben Preston was appointed last summer and is, I understand, keen on interviews that generate headlines elsewhere. Nothing wrong with that, of course, if the stories are accurate and fair. And I must stress that I’m making no judgement whatsoever about this one, simply reporting what Philip Glenister said last night. But you’re right – it has changed the feel of the magazine’s features.

      • I’d be interested to know whether that approach really did increase circulation. I don’t rush out to buy the RT when a celeb has said something “controversial”… if it’s reported elsewhere I can read the offending quotes online for free! Thanks for your response, Ian.

  4. jaceybatts

    Many thanks Ian for your report – I thought it was a lovely relaxed interview, Phil’s (and Clive’s) sense of humour to the fore as ever. I’m very disappointed with how the Radio Times has handled this affair altogether, to be truthful, making it much more than it ever needed to be.

  5. v86

    Cheers for that Ian! I was, as you say, ‘puzzled’ by that quote (read: horrified and disbelieving) as every interview I have read/seen with Phil has portrayed him to be the opposite of of how that part of the interview construed him. But he has explained it quite reasonably. And considering that many other interviews he has done have been nothing but praise for ‘the writers’ (I will namecheck Ash Pharoah, only) , I am more than happy to believe Phil’s version of events.

    And even if Phil did say what he did, I still do not believe it excuses MG’s twantrum one little bit. Shame on you, Matthew, and maybe you should study up on the definition of ‘professionalism’ as you appear to be extremely lacking in the execution of it. I don’t care how good a writer you are, that was completely inexcusable and if that is the level of control you have over the filter between your head and your keyboard then Twitter may be better off without you.

    And now I am moving on.


    • Kat

      I’ve had several similar rants myself, v86, ever since Graham’s hissy fit on Twitter. Shame on him for going publicly on a matter he should have just picked up the phone and call Glenister (it wasn’t as if Glenister publicly challenged him ow swore at him, etc, so that it required an equally public tantrum), and the rest of his childish antics (refusing to respond to people’s logical questions after HE STARTED ALL THIS AFTER ALL and then cancelling Kudos’ twitter account altogether). Glenister had proven, once more today on ITV, that he is a relaxed, decent person who refuses to go into publicly embarrassing, sensationalist rows. I sincerely hope Graham accepts this “peace offering” but, until then, I am very sorry to say I have lost all respect for him, trying to become the centre of attention when his ex-star is promoting his NEW work. I will forever admire him as the creator of LoM and Ashes but the respect is gone… (MY rant over as well!)

      • v86 / Kat – While I understand the strength of feeling on this, it’s been a totally daft saga under which I hope a line can be drawn. I feel uneasy about personal attacks on Matthew Graham, who is a fine writer and a very decent chap. You are, of course, entitled to your views, which is why I have published them here. But my own hope is that – after Phil has done this round of interviews and said what he wants to say – we can forgive everyone involved in this affair (whether they’ve done anything wrong or not!) and forget the whole thing. As Phil said today: “It’s all silly.”

  6. Hi Ian

    Thanks for the very clear and non-partisan account. If only every journalist took as much care and consideration as you do in their craft. I’ve listened to the Loose Ends interview and agree with you in that Phil was simply trying to say that the press have a tendency to look for an angle when interviewing him – ‘Gene Hunt says xxx shocker”, etc. My view is that Phil did want to get across the point that it was a misquote – but without actually accusing anyone directly, hence the ‘misconstrued’.

    As for the original RT interview, let’s hope that this was simply a regrettable misunderstanding on the part of the journalist. The other conclusion that one could draw – namely that the UK’s oldest TV listings magazine is now looking to sensationalise and distort in its showpiece interviews – is something that leaves a very bitter taste indeed.


  7. Coyote

    If the reporter taped the interview, perhaps the tape could be released. It might clear up the matter.

  8. Kansas

    If I was Mr Glenister and a journalist made up a quote that was hurtful to people he has worked with I would demand a published apology or sue her. To my knowledge, he’s done neither. Let us indeed see the transcript of the interview.

  9. Hi Ian thanks for this………

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