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TV Interview

Robert Vaughn ('Hustle')

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Robert Vaughn ('Hustle')
People of a certain age may know him best as super slick spy Napoleon Solo from The Man From U.N.C.L.E., but in recent years Robert Vaughn has won a whole new legion of fans for his portrayal of the loveable grifter Albert 'Albie' Stroller in Hustle. We caught up with the legendary Hollywood actor at a recent convention in Birmingham to discover what the future holds for the BBC con drama.

Do people mostly know you for Hustle nowadays?
"Whenever I used to come here, which was many many times, cabbies would always say 'Hey Napoleon, how are you?' Now since Hustle came on the air, I give cabbies a fiver, they hold it up to the light and say 'is this any good mate?' That's the main difference."

Are you still enjoying doing Hustle?
"I love it. Most of all because the cast all have great senses of humour. I've always wanted to surround myself by people who are funny. Both the original cast and this new cast all think funny. So I know I'm going to have a couple of good laughs before 12 noon every day."

How do you think it worked with the two new cast members last series?
"I think the girl, Kelly [Adams], was wonderful. I haven't seen the episodes yet but I think both of them are really good additions. My heart will always will be with the original cast, with Marc [Warren] and Jaime [Murray], because we became very good friends socially also. I haven't had quite the same chance with the new ones yet but I'm sure I will."

Do you miss Marc and Jaime?
"I miss them just because we used to have dinner almost every night. It was a team of people who got together very regularly after the show. We haven't been able to sit down and become friendly with these two new people socially for various reasons. It's nothing to do with anything about them, our schedules have been different."

You've recently been picked up for a sixth series...
"... and it's going to shoot all six episodes in Birmingham. I think this will be the first time Birmingham has ever had a top notch show film here."

Seriously - in Birmingham?
"One of the responsibilities coming here is my wife said 'you've got to find out where I'm going to live'. So tonight I'm going to something called the Rotunda, which is inside something called the Bullring, which I guess is, or was, a mall of some kind. It's the best place for apartment-type living, so I'm going to take a look at some apartments there tonight to see if it will satisfy my wife!"

How long does it take to film a series of Hustle? It's only six episodes but they're all quite intricate.
"The commitment is for six shows, so anywhere from twelve to sixteen weeks, depending on where it's done and so on. For example we shot in Las Vegas and Los Angeles one season. This season we're going to shoot the six episodes in or around Birmingham, but that's not my worry. It's much longer filming days than in America though. I get up at 5.30 every morning and get home about 8 at night. Also it's six days a week instead of five days in America."

How long do you see yourself doing the show for?
"As long as I'm vertical and able to remember lines. It's great fun. My wife and I have always been Anglophiles. We always felt we were born in another life in England. I was in the Elizabethan era and she was from the Norman conquest."

For more on the Memorabilia convention visit memorabilia.co.uk.

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