Laurence Fox on how he enjoyed playing ‘a complete tool’ in ITV1’s festive tearjerker Fast Freddie, The Widow and Me (Tuesday, December 27)…

What can you tell us about the festive ITV1 drama Fast Freddie, The Widow and Me?
“I play Jonathan Donald. He’s a car salesman or, as he calls it ‘an international broker of luxury automobiles’. He’s a complete tool! He gets caught drink driving and gets served a community service order. He has to help at The Moonbeam Club for young adults with behavioural problems – who he affectionately calls ‘window lickers.’ And he gets struck by this young guy Freddie, who is terminally ill.”

What is it about Freddie that strikes him so much?
“He really likes Freddie. I think he reminds him of himself when he was younger, except Freddie doesn’t have anything at all – not even a family. Freddie is smart and quick-witted and Jonathan really feels for him. He decides to create a perfect Christmas for him – complete with a fake family! When Freddie’s real mum doesn’t want to know, Jonathan rents a mum instead, played by Tamzin Outhwaite.

So Jonathan learns a big lesson?
“There’s definitely an element of him learning his lesson, but it’s not buttered on. He isn’t looking to learn anything; he just really wants to help out Freddie. Jonathan’s not a nasty person just really tactless and politically incorrect!”

Was that fun to play?
“Yes! I was slightly shocked at how much he was allowed to get away with. He’s really, really inappropriate and politically incorrect. He thinks he’s a charmer, but he’s not charming at all, which is quite sweet and funny.

It’s very sad and serious in places too?
“Yes, it’s cleverer than just being a feelgood Christmas thing. It makes you laugh and cry. There’s a huge amount of feelgood in it, but there’s no getting away from the fact that Freddie is terminally ill, which is hardly feelgood. But it’s really well put together. I had tears in my eyes when I was reading the script.”

Are you quite sentimental?
“I can be at times. But I can also be a bit like Jonathan at times as well! He has his foot in his mouth most of the time.”

What’s your idea of a perfect Christmas?
“I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas, but my wife is – she’d have a Christmas tree out from August if she could! My idea of a perfect Christmas is a quiet one with my family and then later nipping over to the in-laws or my family for a bit of Boxing Day banter and, sometimes, physical assault, depending on how much we’ve all drunk!”