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Les Dennis: 'Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant rebooted my career'

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Les Dennis has claimed that he owes his career turnaround to his work on Extras and Life's Too Short with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

Dennis, Shaun Williamson and Keith Chegwin all star in the Easter special episode of Life's Too Short this weekend, and the trio said that they were all incredibly grateful for the generosity of the show's creators.

Keith Chegwin, Warwick Davis, Shaun Williamson, Les Dennis in 'Life's Too Short'

© BBC

Keith Chegwin, Warwick Davis, Shaun Williamson, Les Dennis in 'Life's Too Short'



"They put me in nine Extras, a Christmas special and three Life's Too Shorts," said Williamson. "You keep thinking it will be the last time, you're really grateful and then they call you back."

Chegwin said: "It gives us lots of credibility. What I find amazing is that they trust us with their material. It's a heck of a responsibility. We are professionals, but these are two of the biggest writers in the world."

Dennis claimed that getting a call from Merchant and Gervais for Extras had acted as "a regeneration" for him.

"It totally rebooted my career. And that's what everyone is looking for if they're totally honest. That's why people do reality shows like Big Brother. They say they're doing it for charity, but people want another 15 minutes. And we've had more than 15 minutes with this and we're working with two of the best writers in the world," said Dennis.

Williamson admitted that all three actors had suffered low points in the TV industry and said that he owed his post-EastEnders career entirely to his work on Extras and Life's Too Short.

"Keith did the Naked Jungle, Les did Big Brother and I did something called Gender Swap. It was with Carol Smillie. I was on the first episode and I looked awful," said Williamson.

"I just thought, 'What am I doing?' I think we've all had those moments in our careers."

Shaun Williamson, Les Dennis, Keith Chegwin in 'Life's Too Short'

© BBC

Shaun Williamson, Les Dennis, Keith Chegwin in 'Life's Too Short'



The trio confessed that they had considered taking the "twisted, demented versions" of themselves that they play on tour or turning them into an Edinburgh show. However, the show's success hasn't stopped cases of mistaken identity in the street.

"I've had so many congratulations for Dancing on Ice," joked Dennis, who said that he is often stopped by people who think he is Chegwin.

Williamson joked: "People still think I'm Barry... or Dean Gaffney. I get that quite a lot."

Life's Too Short returns for a 60-minute special on Saturday (March 30) at 10pm on BBC Two.

Life's Too Short special - photo gallery:

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