Mr Stink

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - FEATURE STORY - HUGH BON­NEVILLE

Wal­liams’ best­selling chil­dren’s book Mr Stink comes to the screen this Christ­mas Eve as a charm­ing and heart­warm­ing tele­movie with a ta­lented cast headed by Down­ton Abbey’s Hugh Bon­neville.

Look­ing markedly dif­fer­ent to his Down­ton char­ac­ter Lord Gran­tham, Bon­neville plays the ti­tle char­ac­ter, a tramp with a good heart, a se­cret past, a loyal dog named Duchess and a rather nox­ious per­sonal odour. When a lonely young girl in­vites him to spend Christ­mas at the fam­ily home, it prom­ises to change ev­ery­thing for­ever.

Bon­neville spoke with Guy Davis about por­tray­ing the smelly Mr Stink. You must have a great deal of con­fi­dence as an ac­tor, Hugh, to take on a char­ac­ter called Mr Stink. It wasn’t a hard sell, per­suad­ing me to do it, be­cause I’d read the script and David’s book al­most si­mul­ta­ne­ously and I was just cap­ti­vated by the story. I’ve been a big fan of David for some time. Mr Stink is re­ally a very sim­ple and beau­ti­ful Christ­mas fa­ble. So tell us the story of Mr Stink. Our hero­ine Chloe is an out­sider. Her mother is an as­pir­ing politi­cian who is also a huge snob. Her fa­ther is adorable but out of work and hasn’t ad­mit­ted that to his wife. And her sis­ter is this per­fect princess. So Chloe is a bit of an out­cast and rather lonely.

She comes across this tramp and the two of them are cut from the same cloth – he too is ne­glected and jeered at. They have this kin­ship, so she in­vites him to stay in the shed at the bot­tom of the gar­den over Christ­mas. They form a very

Hugh Bon­neville and Nell Tiger Free are an

un­likely pair in touch­ing friend­ship and this act of com­pas­sion on Chloe’s part changes both their lives. What do you hope view­ers take away? I would hope that it’s a re­minder there are peo­ple out there less for­tu­nate than our­selves. And a small act of kind­ness can go a long way. Given you usu­ally ap­pear well- dressed on­screen, was play­ing this char­ac­ter a big change? I have to say, hav­ing a shower ev­ery night was quite spec­tac­u­lar with the amount of grunge that came off. The make- up process was in­ter­est­ing, what with them putting all man­ner of things in the beard.

Al­though nor­mally when I do a project, at lunchtime I have to put on bibs and dress­ing gowns to pro­tect the cos­tumes. Here they were pos­i­tively throw­ing food at me!

Mr Stink, ABC1, Tues­day, 6pm

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