Recommended second chance
Wild At Heart
Veteran star Warren Clarke pops up in Wild At Heart as Danny Trevanion’s estranged dad. TV Choice caught up with him to hear about his trip to Africa and his varied career.
Was this your first time filming in Africa?
I had been to Africa before, on holiday to Cape Town and filming in Zimbabwe about 20 years ago. I made the film Mandela, while he was still in prison. Where Wild At Heart is filmed reminded me of where we filmed that.
Did you enjoy being around all the animals on this set?
You do get to be close to animals — I remember stroking a giraffe on its nose, then when you turn away he’d bang you with his head to say, ‘I’m still here!’ And if I ignored him again he’d lick my neck and follow me around. There were zebras, warthogs, elephants… I got quite close to them but didn’t touch them all. I left that to Stephen Tompkinson as he knows them — you do still have to be careful.
I heard that Stephen was filming recently and a zebra kicked him and sent him flying through the air. Fortunately it kicked him where his radio transmitter was, or he could have been seriously injured. And unfortunately they didn’t get it on film as that would have been quite spectacular! I remember years ago in Zimbabwe going to a private farm and meeting a lion that was tame and used to play with the family dog. He’d come up and you’d think you were stroking the dog then look and see it was the lion…
You’ve got a very long list of credits behind you, but which programmes do people mention to you most?
I suppose it's Dalziel And Pascoe more than anything else, but people mention all sorts. I don’t care what people know me for. As long as they aren’t insulting about what I’ve done.
A lot of people probably don’t know that you appeared in the cult film A Clockwork Orange…
Actually I met some guys down at my local pub recently who were film students. One of my pals told them to Google my name and when they realised I’d been in A Clockwork Orange they were open-mouthed.
Your first TV credit was Coronation Street. What are your memories of being on the Street?
I was in it three times, as three different characters. The first time was as a student who kidnapped Annie Walker for Rag Week. The second time I worked at a factory with Lucille Hewitt and Julie Goodyear was an extra, as was Elizabeth Dawn. I did a few films at Granada and Liz seemed to pop up in all of them!
The other character I played was Elsie Tanner’s nephew, as they wanted to fill a void when Philip Lowrie (who played Dennis Tanner) left. I knew a lot of the cast and Doris Speed, who played Annie, used to say, ‘Now when you finish work I want you going straight home on that bus with me, I don’t want you going down that bar with Peter Adamson.’
When I played the nephew I decided to play him as being from London, not Mancunian, as I thought that was too bloody easy. Everyone went mad. Pat Phoenix said to me, ‘Why are you doing that? Don’t you want to stay in the show? Because they won’t keep you on if you play it Cockney.’ I said, ‘I don’t care, I want to do different things.’ And Violet Carson came up and said, ‘Well done Warren, you are doing the right thing.’ So I played it London and everybody hated me. I remember getting attacked by two old women with umbrellas at a bus stop in Manchester as I’d stolen all of Elsie’s money. That’s how much people believe it.
Are there any parts you regret not getting?
I used to get bugged, but not now. There’s nothing you can do about it. I don’t get down about it. When you are younger it gets to you. But it’s a waste of energy. So what? It’s just the way it goes.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I play golf, but I'm turning into a fair weather golfer, the older I get. And I watch football, Man City. They’ve been my team for 55 years since I was a nipper. And I enjoy just being with my family.
You’ve had a go at directing too, haven’t you?
I have directed and that is great, but whether I will do any more I don’t know. Stanley Kubrick told me I should direct as I was curious, and Clint Eastwood said the same. And the opportunity came along. I enjoy the whole process, it’s about getting the team together, where no one person is more important than the others.
By Tricia Martin