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TV Interview

Katherine Kelly 'Best Possible Taste' Q&A: 'BBC Four is awesome'

By
Katherine Kelly

© PA Images / Matt Crossick/EMPICS Entertainment

BBC Four's latest biopic Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story charts the astounding life and career of the outrageous comedian, radio DJ and TV host, who is brought to uncanny life by actor Oliver Lansley.

With the BBC tightening its belt and in particular cutting back on its multi-channel drama output, Digital Spy spoke with former Coronation Street actress Katherine Kelly - who plays Everett's wife Lee Middleton in Best Possible Taste - to find out what drew her to the project and to discuss her fond feelings for "national treasure" BBC Four...

How did you get involved with Best Possible Taste? How did that happen?
"Well, I was sent the script, and I've been very fortunate to be sent a lot of scripts since my departure was made public from Corrie. For me, this script just stood out a mile and that's always the most important thing for me - the writing. Before I even got on board and before I chatted to the writer, I could just tell that years of work had gone into this, I could feel the weight of it.

"I was excited when I first got the call, when I heard BBC Four were making a biography and they were interested in me being a part of it. I absolutely love BBC Four - there's nothing [they've made] that I've not enjoyed and obviously I was very proud of The Road to Coronation Street, which was made by ITV Studios for BBC Four.

"So the script had a lot to live up to, because my expectations were high, but I just thought it was awesome. Then when I read the part of Lee, I went and got her autobiography and I just thought, 'I know this woman and I'd love to play her - she is so rock 'n' roll'."

When you're playing a real person, is there an extra weight that comes with that?
"Not really - I think it's just really exciting. I think it's every actor's dream to play a real person. As an actor, you strive to make every [person] you play real, whether they're fictional or not, so I just think it's even more exciting."

The Best Possible Taste: Kenny Everett (OLIVER LANSLEY), Lee Everett (KATHERINE KELLY)

© BBC / Mammoth/Neil Genower



Did you have memories of Kenny Everett from when you were younger?
"Not really - I'm a little bit young for Kenny Everett. My brothers and sisters are younger than me, so it wasn't even like it was on and I wasn't allowed to watch it. I wasn't aware of his TV shows as a child.

"My first introduction to him was through radio because I've got friends who are now radio DJ's and they just adore Kenny - I mean, he is just a god for anyone who wants to get into radio and make a good job of it."

Kenny is still very popular and influential - do you think his fans will be happy with Best Possible Taste?
"I hope so, I really hope so but it's very hard to say. The thing is, when you're trying to show someone's life, the hardest thing is the time constraints - how much can you possibly show in an hour and a half? He lived such a full life, both professionally and privately... you just can't possibly show it all.

"That's going to be the tough thing for people watching it - they'll just want more really because his life was just so rich and full. You just can't possibly show it all."

What was it like for you working with Oliver and building up the relationship between Kenny and Lee?
"Oh, brilliant. The first day is like your first day at school, trying to remember everyone's names, and there's a lot of dialogue going on and costume and make-up. But by day two, I just couldn't see Oli anymore when we were filming - it was just Kenny in every take. The real Lee met Olly - when she came on set, she actually said it was like Kenny was back in the room and it brought her to tears."

Katherine Kelly

© PA Images / Ian West/PA Archive



Your next project is ITV's Mr Selfridge...
"Yeah, I've sort of overlapped every job that I've done really. I'm doing Mr Selfridge at the moment - we're two episodes into a ten-part series, so that will take me to November."

What's it been like working with your co-star Jeremy Piven?
"It's awesome, I love him. He's really generous and it's a fantastic script. I just look forward to going to work everyday - I'm having a brilliant time. The crew and Frances O'Connor are just divine. It's a brilliant atmosphere, it's pretty special."

Did you leave Coronation Street over fears that you would be typecast?
"No, I wasn't even typecast in Corrie so there was no way I was going to be typecast outside of Corrie. Becky was like seven different parts - she was the devil at one point and then an angel at another point. She was Mother Theresa, then she'd be a tearaway teenager. I was everything within that, and I've never been typecast."

Are there any particular roles in the future that you'd like to play, or any type of role you're itching to do?
"I just take every script as it comes along and take it from there. There's no point daydreaming about what you want to play, because there might never be a script with that part in. I'm not like that really, I'm too practical with the here and now."

Finally, what are your hopes for Best Possible Taste?
"I just want as many viewers as we can get to watch BBC Four because this is probably going to be one of the last dramas that they make, because they're cutting funding. So that's why I've taken so much time out [to promote the show] to really get as many viewers as possible.

"BBC Four is awesome and I just can't understand it. There was no funding anyway, really, because we did this on such a strict budget. I hope that, for what we've done on a strict budget, people will enjoy it and I just hope that the viewing figures are really big for this. It's very important - I think BBC Four's a national treasure."

Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story airs on Wednesday, October 3 at 9pm on BBC Four.

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