This article is from our archive. It was published in 2012.

Shaun Williamson interview

Published November 2012

The Ladykillers. Shaun Williamson. Shaun Williamson - still known to some as 'Barry off EastEnders' - has been touring with The Ladykillers stage show. As his run on the production comes to an end, we thought it a good time to ask him a few questions.

Hi Shaun. When would you say you first become interested in performing comedy?

I think you first get a feel for comedy when you start telling jokes as a child. Some people have a talent for a bit of embellishment, and people will listen and laugh. We all remember the person in our peer group who couldn't tell a joke to save their lives! So, I think it's in-built.

Extras is probably where people became aware of your comic timing, playing a version of yourself, 'Barry off EastEnders'. It worked wonderfully but could have backfired. When Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant approached you, how long did you think about it?

I said 'yes' in about two seconds. I loved The Office and couldn't believe that they were inviting me to join in the cast of their new show. I would have taken the 'joke' further if they'd written it that way. I'd have done anything for them!

Life's Too Short. Image shows from L to R: Les Dennis, Keith Chegwin, Shaun Williamson. Image credit: British Broadcasting Corporation.You're now involved in the Life's Too Short special too. Are you looking forward to getting back with the rest of the gang (Keith Chegwin & Les Dennis)?

I can honestly say that Keith and Les and two of the nicest people I've ever worked with and two of the funniest. I'm sure if they hadn't done so much light entertainment, we would regard them as two of our finest comedy actors. Having said that, they haven't done 'alf bad for themselves.

There's talk of a spin-off featuring you three. Is that true?

Nothing concrete I'm afraid. We'd all jump at the chance!

One subsequent project some readers may not be aware of, but children certainly will be, is your collaboration with Hacker the Dog, seeking out newspaper stories in the CBBC comedy Scoop...

Yes. Kids from 6 to 15 often stop me and want to talk about it. It's a shame it's finished, but we made 39 so that's good. Hacker's wonderful.

One theme running through your performing career is stage work - pantos, drama and musicals. It's clearly a medium you love?

I trained at the Webber Douglas Academy from 1991-1994, in all areas of stagework. Then, six months after leaving I joined EastEnders for 10 years. By the time I left the soap in December 2003, I was desperate to get back on stage. I've been in 20 stage productions since.

The Ladykillers. Shaun Williamson. Talking of which, a couple of years ago you took on the role of iconic comedy character Norman Stanley Fletcher in the Porridge stage show. Was that the most daunting role of your career to date?

No. No-one can fill Ronnie Barker's boots so I just got on with it. I based my physicality on his, but used my own voice. The words did the rest. [Writers] Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais attended some rehearsals and took us out to dinner. They were great!

You're currently taking on another significant comic stage role - appearing in the touring version of The Ladykillers (pictured). Could you tell us more about your role in this show?

I play Louis Harvey. Herbert Lom played him in the 1955 film. He's the only genuine hardcase. He has one flaw... a phobia of old ladies! [Father Ted writer] Graham Linehan has done a marvellous job of re-writing it. Very funny!

What're your plans for the next year - you're working on a film about a TV talent show?

I'm working with Mark Noyce on a film called This Is Jayde: One Hit Wonder. I'm writing a few of the scenes and appearing as a twisted 'Simon Cowell version' of myself. Should be fun! We're filming in March. Mark Noyce is a real rising talent. Check out his film On The Ropes.

The Ladykillers is at the Malvern Festival Theatre until the 1st December. The Ladykillers tour then continues in January, running until April 2013. www.theladykillers.co.uk

 
Bad Education Movie is go

Bad Education Movie is go

Jack Whitehall has confirmed that his hit BBC Three sitcom Bad Education is heading to the big screen. Read

Funz And Gamez on TV

Funz And Gamez on TV

Funz And Gamez, the award-winning live comedy show hosted by Phil Ellis, is to be piloted as a TV show by the BBC. Read

BBC Scotland's 2015 shows

BBC Scotland's 2015 shows

BBC Scotland has unveiled its comedy plans for 2015. They include a full series for Two Doors Down. Read

RTS Awards nominations

RTS Awards nominations

Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse lead the comedy-based nominations in the Royal Television Society Awards. Read

Top Coppers filming now

Top Coppers filming now

Production is underway on Top Coppers, a new BBC comedy series starring John Kearns and Steen Raskopoulos. Read

Matt Lucas interview

Matt Lucas interview

Matt Lucas talks about filming Pompidou, the visual comedy series for the BBC in which he plays an aristocrat. Read

Would I Lie To You? - S9

Would I Lie To You? - S9

Following strong ratings, the BBC has ordered 10 more episodes of its panel show Would I Lie To You?. Read

Do you run a funny blog?

Do you run a funny blog?

Do you write a funny blog, curate an amusing website or joke a lot on Twitter? If so, here's a competition: Read

Rare 1980s photo exhibition

Rare 1980s photo exhibition

Rare images of iconic 1980s British comedy stars are to be displayed at the Museum Of Comedy. Read

Russell Brand's podcast

Russell Brand's podcast

Russell Brand has announced he is to launch a new podcast. The Russell Brand Podcast will be a 24-part series. Read

Tom Little wins competition

Tom Little wins competition

Stand-up comedian Tom Little has won the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2015 competition. Read

I Live With Models interview

I Live With Models interview

The main cast members involved in new Comedy Central sitcom I Live With Models introduce themselves. Read

Getting fit pitfalls

Getting fit pitfalls

Tiffany Stevenson talks us through some of the bad things that occur when you sort out your health and fitness. Read

Rik Mayall snowman series

Rik Mayall snowman series

Radio 4 Extra is to mark Rik Mayall's birthday by broadcasting The Last Hurrah - Interview With The Snowman. Read

Idil Sukan photo exhibition

Idil Sukan photo exhibition

Take a look at some of the iconic photos of comedians that feature in photographer Idil Sukan's London exhibition. View