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Cult Interview

'Misfits': Q&A with Robert Sheehan

By
Robert Sheehan

© WENN

Hurrah, it's finally BAFTA day! Yes, the Philips British Academy Television Awards are being held tonight, and one of the nominees crossing their fingers will be Robert Sheehan, who's been recognised for his role in Misfits. When Robert announced that he'd decided to leave the show earlier this year there was a little bit of an uproar, so we gave him a ring to chat about the BAFTAs and why he decided to hang up his community service jumpsuit for good...

Congratulations on being nominated for a BAFTA!
"Oh stop! Let's leave it there, that's good. Thank you, thank you very much."

How does it feel?
"It feels very, very tingly. The tingle starts very much near the ankles and works its way up into the kneecaps and then slowly but surely towards the crown jewels and then up into the brain. That's usually how thoughts work in my body anyway - they go the opposite way."

If you're feeling like that now, how will you feel at the ceremony?
"Oh God. You know the way they say a pig can orgasm for half an hour? That's probably going to be me on the red carpet, writhing around, just causing havoc. Causing a scene down there on Park Lane or wherever it is."

How are you rating your chances - do you think you've got it in the bag?
"Very much I will have it in a bag at one point, because I'm going to steal it even if I don't win it. No, I honestly don't care if I win. A nomination is lovely, and that sounds like a big fat cliché but it's true. When you hear news of the nomination, it feels like a victory in itself, so I'm happy with that. If I win it'll be a nice bonus for the evening, you know? But we're all together - we're one big Misfits collaboration."

That's lovely now, but what if Misfits star Lauren Socha wins and you don't?
"Then I won't speak to her for several months out of spite!"

You're up against Brendan Coyle, Martin Freeman and Johnny Harris. Who do you think is your biggest competition?
"In a fight? Oh, you mean the BAFTAS."

How about both - who's your biggest competition in a fight, and in the BAFTAs?
"I think Johnny Harris - he'd definitely be a good scrapper, I'd say. That's based on his terribly rough character I saw on This Is England '86. He's probably not like that at all, he's probably a very nice gentleman. But yeah, I'd probably be more scared of him. And BAFTA-wise probably the same - I think he'll probably win, Johnny Harris."

Have your practised your gracious loser and gracious winner faces?
"They're exactly the same! They're just a big, stupid smile. No, I've not. I should really come with a few words of eloquence. I should practise, but I haven't really thought about it to be honest with you."

So you haven't got a speech yet?
"Last year when we won, [writer] Howard Overman had written a speech and I read it off a piece of paper. It was wholly unprepared of me."

But you'll be preparing something this year?
"Of course, yeah. 'Thank you' would probably be the start of the speech. And then, 'I deserve this' would be somewhere in there! And, 'Look at how significant I am - thank you all'. Something along those lines, just bordering on the arrogant and pompous. That's what I'm aiming for."

As well as your nomination, Misfits is up for 'Best Drama Series' against Sherlock, Being Human and Downton Abbey - do you think it could win for the second year in a row?
"Yeah, possibly. I think so, yeah. I saw Sherlock, I didn't see the other two, and Sherlock was absolutely magnificent. On second thoughts, that will probably win! It's brilliant, it's absolutely brilliant. It's very unique. It's a serious challenge for anyone to adapt Sherlock Holmes into a modern world and they did a f**king outstanding job. And [Benedict] Cumberbatch was just incredible as Sherlock Holmes. He's so cool. You know, I don't know. Last year I was pretty sure we weren't going to win, so whatever I say, probably the opposite is going to happen. I'm rubbish at betting."

Are you looking forward to seeing the other Misfits stars?
"Yeah, I haven't seen them in ages. I think the last one I saw was Lauren. We were on the Isle of Wight, funnily enough. I'm looking forward to seeing them. We all scattered like cats once our work obligations were finished, we all went our separate ways, and in this crazy world of ours it's hard to meet up at times, so it's nice to have these occasions where we can all reunionise."

I've got to ask - why did you decide to leave Misfits?
"[I decided] well before we finished series two. There's a strange kind of a theme of... There's a few articles I've seen on the internet or whatever about how I've left Misfits to go off and do films and that's all so bulls**t, that's complete nonsense. I left Misfits to go off and do other stuff, completely unspecific. I just left because a rolling stone gathers no moss, as they say, and I just wanted to p*ss off and do other things, you know? It's nice that the show's successful but it doesn't mean complete blind and unadmonished loyalty - 'If something is very successful you should stick to it like a barnacle!' That's definitely not my thinking."

So it's just that you wanted to try new things?
"Yeah. If something's good I'll do it down the back of a pub, you know? It doesn't matter if it's on a big cinema screen."

Were you surprised by the outcry from fans when you announced you were leaving?
"Well, they're very internet active, fans of Misfits. Their outcry was probably displayed across the web very dramatically but I think it's only because they're very, very internet friendly. They tweet and Facebook all day long. But yeah, I was flattered by the outrage and the shock. It means they'll miss me! But I'm sure as soon as episode one of series three starts they'll have forgotten all about me because old Joseph Gilgun, who's brilliant and funny and hilarious, is coming in and he's doing a part. He's the fifth member of the gang now."

Do you think he'll be a good addition to the show?
"Yeah, he's brilliant. He's absolutely brilliant, that guy. So they've cast well. They're lucky to have got him, I think."

Now that filming on the new series of Misfits has started, do you have any regrets, or do you definitely think you made the right decision?
"I think I've made the right decision, yeah... I think they started filming last Monday but I've not been involved so I've not been anywhere near the production. I was involved in one online film but that was just me so I didn't come across any of the others in the midst of filming."

It's just you in the online film?
"Yeah, it just involves me and also Joseph's character a little bit."

Can you tell us anything about it?
"No, because they'd probably cut my head off!"

You're not working on Misfits anymore, you can do what you want.
"[laughs] Yeah! Bad blood, bad blood! But yeah, it's a film to give me a fond and comedic farewell, I suppose. And not make the show too much about me leaving, at the same time."

Obviously we don't know what happens to Nathan in the film, but if it was possible would you ever return to Misfits for a guest appearance?
"Ah, you never know. There's no point in saying never. It holds a very fond little place in my heart. No, it's been a great big part of my life and there's no point in turning your back on something completely. I'm not doing that, I would never say never. But I suppose it depends how many series of the show there's going to be. I suppose there's room for many more."

What's next for you?
"I am - apart from sitting around and scratching myself for a couple of weeks, which I'm very much looking forward to - I'm doing a movie for the BBC, a TV film called The Borrowers with former director of Misfits Tom Harper. That starts in June. And then there's a film I'm doing called The Wayfaring Strangers in France, and that's with Cillian Murphy and Michael Gambon. Yeah, it's going to be lovely. And that's a very local story set in World War II, so that's something completely out of left field for me, I suppose. That's by an Irish writer-director called Stephen Bradley, who's written a beautiful script. And there's a kind of a slew of projects coming to the end of the year but you know how these things are - it's always very chaotic, they can either land or not land or get pushed. So I suppose for now they're the two I'll talk about."

That and scratching yourself.
"Scratching myself, mainly. Even during my working day."

Anyway, good luck for the BAFTAs!
"Thanks a mill! You'll have your fingers crossed and your bets placed, yeah?"

The Philips British Academy Television Awards will be held today in London. The ceremony will be broadcast on BBC One from 8pm.

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