Interview by Sinead Garvan
Newsbeat entertainment reporter
Shaun Evans (second left) plays Jimmy in Martina Cole's The Take
Shaun Evans, who made his name in Teachers playing John Paul Keating, says he loved working with Tom Hardy in his latest TV programme. He plays a gangster called Jimmy in Martina Cole's The Take and says he and the Layer Cake actor have been meaning to work together for ages.
What is The Take about?
The Take is a four-part mini-series for Sky based on a Martina Cole novel. It's about a family in the east end of London, these two cousins and both of their wives. It's set through the 80s and 90s right up to the early 2000s.
Is there loads of great 80s music and outfits in this then?
There's loads of great 80s music; Malcolm McLaren, a bit of Mister Fingers. There's some great music to it and great costumes, shoulder pads, perms. It's like Ashes To Ashes.
Do you like that era? Do you regret not growing up in the 80s?
Do you know what? I really don't regret not growing up in the 80s. It doesn't seem like it was a great era for fashion. But great music though. It was all stone washed denim jackets.
Tom Hardy's in The Take. What was it like working with him?
Brilliant. Tom's a brilliant actor and I've known him for a few years actually. There's a couple of times we've supposed to have been working together. We're supposed to have done a play and a film as well together and they haven't worked out. So, I was delighted that the two of us were doing this, because we had a bit of history and he's a brilliant actor as well. So yeah, it was brilliant.
Have you been interested in appearing in a gangland or east end drama before?
Yeah. They're iconic, aren't they, east end gangsters? It's such a part of our British culture. To be totally honest with you, that's not what really attracted me to it. I didn't have a massive desire to play a gangster. I was more interested in the story of it really, to be honest.
How is The Take different from other gangland TV dramas then?
As I say, it's not really about gangsters. It's about this family who are in this particular world and about their relationships really and about success or failure and about the relationship between these two cousins and their wives and they just happen to be set in this kind of gangster type culture.
Tell us more about the relationships in The Take. There's your character and the other cousin. Then there's this sort of almost godfather figure isn't there?
Shaun Evans played Pc Kevin Hales in the BBC's Ashes To Ashes
Brian Cox plays Ozzy. Basically his character's in prison throughout the whole story. So he's a lifer. He's kind of managing his business from inside prison and essentially he hands over the reins to Freddie and Jimmy, Tom's [Hardy] character and my own.
And over the four episodes, the four hours, you get a sense of one of them taking control and the other one sort of falling prey to the vices of having a bit of money and a bit of success until it comes to the point where one of them has to take control and be the governor.
What do you think fans of the book will make of the programme?
It's essentially the same story. But that always happens because in your imagination when you're reading a book it's really vivid and then when you see it on screen it's sometimes not as good because it's not the same as you've got in your mind.
But I think with this it's actually a brilliant representation and then it takes it a step further because the screenplay wasn't written by Martina Cole. She's got the basic idea and then another writer takes it on and takes it to another level.
And then the director and all of us, we take it to a different place as well. I think they'd be pleased because it's visual and there's great music but essentially it's still the same story.
What's next for you?
I'm shooting a film at the moment actually. We were doing a night shoot last night. It's a film called Wreckers which is set in the Cambridgeshire Fens and I play the soldier who's back from Afghanistan. It's a great story and another great cast with Benedict Cumberbatch and a bunch of people. I guess we'll be finishing in about four weeks. So I think that'll be out later this year. And then I made a horror movie, coming out around Halloween, called Dread and based on a Clive Barker short story.
The Take starts on Sky1 on 17 June at 9pm.