Al Murray is leaving the comfortable surroundings of the pub behind for a new sketch show on ITV 1 called Al Murray's Multiple Personality Disorder. It sees the comedian as a west country dad who's a little too interested in his daughter's sex life and a camp Nazi officer dressed in a pink rubber suit who's only out-camped by a John Barrowman cameo.
You're best known for The Pub Landlord. This is quite different. Why did you decide to do Al Murray's Multiple Personality Disorder?
I'm a character comic. I'm known for The Pub Landlord but I am a character comedian. So this is actually an extension of what I do, rather than something completely different. I've had all these ideas kicking around and in the stand-up shows I do as The Pub Landlord I've done different voices and personas while he's telling stories and he's illustrating things. So it just seemed like the logical thing to do next. And it's been brilliant to do something completely different.
How hard was it changing from what you were doing with The Pub Landlord to this?
Al Murray's character Peter Taylor is only interested in one thing
The tricky bit is if you give me someone to interview as The Pub Landlord, like we do on Happy Hour, I know exactly where he'll start and what he'll do. When I've got to be like the Horst Schwull, who's our gay Nazi character in a rubber, pink outfit, first of all you're thinking, 'Is this funny? Does this work? How does this work? How do I do this, that and the other?'. So it was really exciting to have to take on a whole new set of challenges as a comic actor. It's cool.
How did you come up with the characters in Multiple Personality Disorder?
We commissioned a load of writers and they'd come and say, 'Can you do this kind of thing? Do you think you can do a character like this?'. And we'd tune it. We spent a great deal of time on the script actually. That's been the thing that we put the most work and effort into, which hopefully shows, is the writing. Because if it ain't on the page it ain't on the stage, as they say.
Were there any characters and ideas that the writers came up with which you didn't agree with?
No. No. That doesn't happen. I'm not like that. I'm a very agreeable person to work with. The thing with doing the new characters is, until you actually put it in front of an audience you're never quite sure how it works or why works or if it works at all. That was always exciting as each time we'd bring a new character out, finding out whether it was funny, and where it was funny and how to tune it. That's brilliant fun.
Did you find any characters more challenging than others?
No. Not really. I had a very long make-up for one of the characters, this guy called Peter Taylor who's like this west country father who's a bit too interested in his daughter's sex life, or concerned that she's having a good sex life.
He loves sex and I was in make-up for an hour-and-a-half to get the face, because it was a nose and then chops and teeth and hair and everything. That was the most involved bit of getting ready for a film.
Have you got a favourite character?
I really like him but I really like Barrington Blowtorch, who's our Victorian gentleman thief. He's always caught red-handed and he can talk himself out of anything. He's like Sherlock Holmes in reverse. He can persuade the police he's there in the wrong but he's actually helping out. In the first show he's caught robbing a bank red-handed and explains that he's actually testing the security at the bank because he was going to leave a deposit there in the morning. And they believe him and he's really good at that, mainly because he's posh and he's a gentleman and they believe what he's saying.
There are lots of different outfits in Multiple Personality Disorder. Do you have a favourite outfit?
Al Murray has one character called Horst Schwull, Hitler's advisor
My favourite costume, because we had brilliant wardrobe people, was one of the really simple ones. He's this guy called Wayne Upman, who's always done something better than you. We've got a sketch where his mate's had a kid and he's going, 'I'm so proud to be a dad'. And Wayne goes, 'Well, I've got two kids. Until you've got two kids, you don't really understand'. He's like that.
We had a costume for him which was just a shirt from Marks & Spencer and it was exactly the right shirt. I'd walk through the door, the other actor Colin would open the door, and there I'd be and people would know exactly what that bloke was like, almost more precisely than the rubber, pink Nazi outfit.
How did you come up with that character?
I didn't feel very comfortable wearing it. It's this character called Horst Schwull who is one of Hitler's close advisors, who's a really, super camp gay guy. Hitler just can't see it and Hitler's always asking him for advice and it's all really over the top and camp and terrible entendres and really lame jokes. I got very hot in this rubber suit. It was really unpleasant. You get all sweaty. I got these rubber riding boots and they'd end up full of sweat. Sweat would run down into the boots. Disgusting.
Al Murray was talking to Newsbeat entertainment reporter Sinead Garvan.
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