Just for Dalziel of it

Elise Harris talks to Warren Clarke

Warren Clarke has had an incredible career - from one of Malcolm McDowall's gang of Droogs in A Clockwork Orange in the 70s, violently breaking the law, to the very respectable detective Andy Dalziel in Dalziel and Pascoe.

However, his rehabilitation seems to have completely fazed some poor souls.

"People still stop me in the street and expect me to be on Crimewatch,"he says.

In fact while filming the last series of Dalziel and Pascoe a group of young men decided Mr Clarke might be ready to rumble.

"I was in a bar and some guys just suddenly wanted to have a go. I told them 'I'm in my 50s - I don't want a fight'. They were in their 20s. Eventually they backed down - but it was a bit of a shock."

It's proof that A Clockwork Orange is still very popular, despite or possibly because it was banned for so long. Warren isn't surprised.

"It's nice the response it's having from young people who really truly enjoyed it. It was slagged it off 30 years ago. Now papers like The Mail and The Express are saying serious things about it. It's interesting. Most of the story has come to pass Anthony Burgess back then was so profound."

The near-bar-fight didn't really bother him - he's fairly hardy and has managed to survive far worse situations. He nearly died of hypothermia when filming a film called Gulag (1984) in Norway.

"We were filming on glaciers. It was 25 below zero. Everyone was wrapped up, but I couldn't be because I had to show an exposed bandaged leg. There was a break in the filming and I fell asleep. No one told us it might be dangerous. I had to spend a week in bed to recover.

"Most of the time in A Clockwork Orange we all got injured - just minor stuff though."

In autumn (2000) he appeared in Down to Earth, with Pauline Quirke, about a family who move to the country to live the good life on a farm. Warren calls it "The blobbies go to Devon."

It wasn't his most risky assignment, "The most dangerous thing that happened in Down to Earth was I got stamped on by a cow."

At one point Pauline Quirke and he had to ride a motorbike pillion. "Pauline got on first, only she got on the back, which made it impossible for me to get on. They carried on filming."

Warren's sidekick in Dalziel and PascoeColin Buchanan (he's Peter Pascoe on the series) appeared oon the West End in the long-running and hugely popular play Art. The play has seen a number of high profile cast changes - the three-hander has featured almost every actor in the western world - from Bruce Willis to Patrick Duffy (The Man from Atlantis and Bobby in Dallas - remember him?) So is Warren tempted the smell of the greasepaint?

"I stopped doing theatre about 13 years ago. I don't miss it. I was offered Art but I turned it down. So many people have done it."

When he was first offered Dalziel and Pascoe, he says he was wary. Hale and Pace had already played the pair in a one-off for ITV - and it hadn't been very well received.

He was sent the books just as he was going on holiday and read them while he was away- he soon realised there was something about them he could work with.

"The thing I liked about it was the sense of humour. I don't really like things that are taken too seriously. Dalziel is a bit of a comic without meaning to be. I'm secretly quite fond of him."

Warren is hopeful there will be another series of the show, but there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.

"We're discussing it. It depends on various promises. The BBC, they are who they are, they might change the rules - the goal-posts have to stay in the same place, and we are we going to have to have the same budget. And what are the scripts like? Nothing insurmountable."

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