Mr Stink: Interview with Johnny Vegas
Tell us about your character, Dad?
My character, the dad, is a lot closer to Chloe, the older daughter, who being largely ignored and passed over by the mum. Dad finds out Chloe is hiding Mr Stink in the shed and she discovers he is also hiding a secret. I think that Chloe and Dad are each other’s support networks within the house. We are both keeping each other’s secrets, but my character learns through Chloe, to stand up for himself and stand up to Mum.
You get the feeling that the dad was a wild one in the past. But that’s been terrorised out of him and now he is the yes man, no man to his wife - he’s almost like the third child in the family. He’s become very subservient and doesn’t want to rock the boat. I think he appreciates that the election is very important to Mrs Crumb so he’s trying to be supportive, although I don’t think he believes it is the best thing for her or the family.
Were you already familiar with David’s books?
I’d already read Gangster Granny with my 9-year-old son. I’d never seen quite a reaction like it to a book. I was reading it and my nephew was staying as well and both my son and nephew were in tears, genuinely bawling their eyes out at the ending. It was quite a surprise to have him do that. We are going to read Mr Stink together before we watch it on TV. It’s really nice to be doing something that we can all sit down at Christmas and watch. There’s quite a broad scale to what I do and my son isn’t at an age where he can watch most of it yet. So it’s lovely, a real added bonus coming up to the holidays that we’ll all sit down in front of the TV and watch it.
Have you worked with any of the Mr Stink cast before?
I know David from our stand-up years. David Matt Lucas and I were all out in Montreal in the late 90s doing the comedy festival and we had a scream. I know Sheridan as she did a series of Benidorm, so we’d already met out there. I’ve known her off and on from various projects over the years - she’s lovely. It’s daunting when you come on a project like this that’s going to be a part of peoples Christmas and have the responsibility of getting it right. So it was a big relief for me to know that I was going to be acting it opposite someone I knew, she’s an amazing actress.
Mr Stink will be shown over mas. What’s a typical Xmas in the Vegas household?
Christmas, over the last few years, has been hosted at my house. I’ve had a huge extension over the kitchen table, so we can seat 16 – 20 people around it. All the family come round. We’re very traditional in our house. I make soups as starters and then we have turkey, lamb and ham, the three good meats. My mum’s trifle is also a favourite, no Christmas pudding - we go hog wild on the main course so need something a little bit lighter afterwards. Then there's the tradition of three hours sleeping it off and trying to get active enough so we can eat again and put out the Christmas buffet later. The cheese board is my big treat at Christmas that I have to deny myself during the rest of year. I am a big fan of smelly cheeses but the rest of the family don’t seem to be particularly keen on them.
I get obsessed with decorations and decorating the house. I keep it tasteful outside, but when you get inside it is a bit like Blackpool illuminations, I go bonkers!
Related posts: Mr Stink: A heart-warming and funny tale adapted from David Walliams’ best-selling children’s book, Interview with David Walliams, Interview with Hugh Bonneville, Interview with Sheridan Smith.