Comedian Alan Davies returns as Jonathan Creek in a one-off Easter Monday Special on BBC1, which co-stars Sheridan Smith, Joanna Lumley and Rik Mayall this week. We talked to him about the latest case and his beloved duffle coat..
Jonathan Creek has got a new job since we last saw him?
“Yes he’s taken the shilling. I don’t know what his job title is, but it’s high-powered. He’s smartened up, got the suit on, got the corner office – it’s supposed to be a view of the city from the office, but the budget means it was a view of the Westway from a disused BBC building!”
Does the duffle coat come back at some point?
“Oh yes the duffle coat comes back! It really helps me to get into character. Once I get the black plimsolls and the duffle coat on then I look in the mirror and away we go!”
Is it true that he has a new love interest?
“Yes Jonathan’s got a new love interest! She’s very good looking – he’s possibly punching above his weight – and it’s her father’s firm that he’s working for. She’s groomed him in the classic ‘I love you, you’re perfect, now change’ scenario. But he can’t resist the mystery when it’s presented to him. Joey turns up in his office one day and she manages to lure him in.”
Did you ever think Jonathan Creek wouldn’t come back?
“David (Renwick) could have killed off Jonathan Creek as he did with Victor Meldrew, but he obviously still has things he wants to do with him. You can’t expect him to do a series year-in year-out, because he writes every syllable of it and he can only think of so many mysteries! Anyway I got a call last summer saying he’d done another script, but I was on holiday and I knocked the phone down the toilet – which I hasten to add, only had water in it at the time! When I got it out, it had died so then I couldn’t get back to him for two weeks, by which time he was thinking that I hated it and didn’t want to do it! Now we are doing three more!”
What is it about this case that intrigues him?
“Well it really is impossible! A body disappears from a locked room, so there’s no way he’s going to walk away from that. Then other things crop up and it transpires that there are three mysteries going on! It’s all quite spooky and scary – his cases seem to get darker as he gets older!”
Rik Mayall made an appearance in the 1998 Christmas Special, was it good having him back?
“Yeah it was great working with Rik again – he keeps everyone laughing all day on set. There’s a little bit of a rivalry between Jonathan and Gideon Pryke, but they also have a respect for each other. He’s in a wheelchair now though and only has the use of one finger!”
Do they complement each other?
“Yes they do because Gideon is very flamboyant, confident and loud, while Jonathan is very quietly spoken and introverted. They are equals intellectually, but you can rest assured that Creek will uncover the clue that turns the whole case.”
It must have been good to be back working with Sheridan again?
“Yes we’re good friends. There’s lots of texting and tweeting – she loves a tweet! – and we did each other’s stories for Sky’s Little Crackers – she came into mine and I was in hers. But now I fear we’re going to lose her soon as she may well be off to Hollywood. Hopefully we’ll be able to rope her in to Jonathan Creek again at some point.”
Did you receive a lot of messages from fans after this special was confirmed?
“Yes there’s a lot of love for Creek out there! With box-sets and Netflix there are loads of people discovering it for the first time and watching it in one big go as well! Quite often I get somebody who says ‘I’ve been recovering from an operation I’ve watched every one’ and then they associate you with a period in which they began to feel well – which is nice! But we’re the same in our house, we love watching stuff in one go.”
If you could have anyone as a guest star on Jonathan Creek, who would it be?
“Hmm.. Maybe Stephen Fry, but he’d be playing someone really stupid and I’d have to be able to roll my eyes and tut at him all the time! Creek is au fait with Latin and Greek and all of that so he would run rings round him!”
How do you think Creek would get on on QI?
“I don’t think sitting there and showing off like that would be his cup of tea at all. He would sit back and let Bill Bailey and Sandi Toksvig get on with it.”
Are you excited to be doing three more Jonathan Creeks?
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the scripts. I’m as intrigued as anyone. I won’t see them until they are finished I don’t know what he is doing – he never rings up to say what do you think of this?”
As an Arsenal fan, do you think Jonathan Creek would be able to sort their team out?
“God knows that is a mystery beyond even him! They’re one of the richest clubs in the world, but they’re shopping in Poundland. You buy cheap you buy twice that is what he would say!”