There’s an element of ease, because I’ve played [Maurice] for a while, so I have a sense of what the writer wants me to do with the character. I don’t really think about challenges, I just think about the pleasures of working with Pete Bowker’s writing. Obviously, Maurice is a bit of a departure for me: a broader, more comedic role than I’m known for, and I’ve really enjoyed trying to learn and understand comedy, because it’s a huge element in playing Maurice. I don’t think I’m a naturally gifted comic, so I’ve had to work hard to understand how that works.
And I think one of the virtues of the piece, certainly for audience members who have people in their family with autism, is they’ve been grateful that it’s not been treated in a very poker-faced, sanctimonious way, that we’ve normalised it with humour and lightness. It’s just a pleasure. It’s just a pleasure to have a job again, and a character that I love playing and a character that I’ve played for so long. No challenges, just all positives.
New interview! A career highlight for me, this – it probably would not surprise long-term readers of this blog to know that I am quite fond of Christopher Eccleston as an actor, so it was very exciting to be able to talk to him about The A Word. (Quite nerve-wracking, too; I think this might be the single interview I’ve been most nervous about, across the past five years or so of doing this.)
Got another interview about The A Word coming tomorrow, this time with writer Peter Bowker (who Chris spoke about at length in our interview). That’s another great one, I’m looking forward to sharing that one with you all.