TV Times talks to Laurence Fox about the new series of Lewis – screening on ITV1 on Sundays – and working alongside Kevin Whately…

So what can you tell us about the storylines in the new films? “We find out more about my character’s past. The back-story is that Hathaway grew up in the country house where a murder took place when his dad worked there. He also meets his first six-year-old love again. I get a love interest at last!”

How do you feel about the audience discovering more, considering that in the past you’ve said you’d prefer Hathaway was an enigma?
“I do mind. I find it irritating when they give lots of back-story. It’s better when you don’t know. It’s like with gratuitous horror films – it’s the bit before the guy jumps out through the door and hacks you to death that’s compelling. The other reason is I try to spend as much of the wardrobe budget as possible, solely to annoy Kevin. He’s always saying: ‘You can’t afford that on a policeman’s salary!’ At the moment I can reply: ‘Yes, but Hathaway could be wealthy!'”

You clearly get on well off-screen. But how is the relationship between Lewis and Hathaway developing?
“We just do the same relationship we have in life on screen. It’s more authentic than making one up. I’d describe our relationship as I annoy him, he forgives me!”

What are the secret ingredients to Lewis’s success?
“A lot of it is that people loved Morse, but also because people like to see justice done and moral dilemmas.”

During filming the last series, you became a dad for the first time when your son Winston (with Billie Piper) was born in October 2008. At the time, you mentioned there had been a few sleepless nights…
“Yes, I’m sleeping better now. Winston sleeps very well, too, and he always comes to visit me.”

Is it true your dad, James Fox, was the one to first suggest you became an actor?
“Yes. I was quite directionless when I was younger. For a while, I was going to be in the army. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but then no one really does, do they? And then you either like what you end up doing or you don’t. I like what I now do so I’m lucky. My eldest brother runs a landscape gardening firm, though, and we’re all jealous of him because he seems to be richer than the rest of us!”