Life af­ter Mars? I’m Liv­ing The Dream...

Philip Glenis­ter has in­ally thrown off the grubby hand­cuffs of DCI Gene Hunt and is play­ing it for laughs on a new beat

The Mail on Sunday - Event - - FILM - IN­TER­VIEW BY EMMA COX

His im­pos­ing pres­ence and in­tense stare have helped Philip Glenis­ter carve out an im­pres­sive ca­reer as a hard man. It made him the per­fect fit for the tough DCI Gene Hunt in Life

On Mars and helped him in­habit the role of vi­o­lent ex­or­cist-preacher Rev­erend An­der­son in re­cent US drama

Out­cast. But his lat­est project fi­nally al­lows Glenis­ter to flex his com­edy chops. In Liv­ing The Dream, by the mak­ers of Cold Feet, he plays doughty York­shire­man Mal Pem­ber­ton, who, with wife Jen (Les­ley Sharp) and their two teenage chil­dren, ups sticks and moves to Florida for a new life run­ning a de­crepit trailer park.

‘Af­ter Out­cast, I said to my agent I would really like to do some com­edy be­cause ev­ery­thing had be­come so dark,’ he says. He will ‘miss the money’, but not the night shoots – and he’s pleased to have fi­nally worked on some­thing the fam­ily can watch to­gether ‘with­out it of­fend­ing any­body’. (Out­cast fa­mously fea­tured a scene where Glenis­ter’s char­ac­ter phys­i­cally as­saults an eightyear-old boy who is sup­pos­edly pos­sessed.)

This is im­por­tant to Glenis­ter, 54, for he is very much a fam­ily man and a staunch fem­i­nist, no doubt helped by the fact he lives in a house full of women: ac­tress wife Beth God­dard, 50, and daugh­ters Mil­lie, 15, and Char­lotte, 12.

‘Beth is in a group called Equal Rep­re­sen­ta­tion for Ac­tresses and they’re gain­ing a voice,’ he says. ‘There’s a long way to go in the in­dus­try but there are im­prove­ments.

‘I also think it’s great that I’m play­ing op­po­site Les­ley and we’re the same age. Usu­ally my wife or part­ner is played by some­body who’s 15 years younger.’ He’s also ve­he­mently vo­cal about the

‘If you want to be an ac­tor and earn some money, be­come a bar­ris­ter’

gen­der pay gap re­vealed by the BBC when it pub­lished the salaries of its stars. ‘There’s no rea­son why a fe­male news­reader shouldn’t get the same pay as a male news­reader,’ he says. ‘They’re do­ing the same job, pay them the same. Sim­ple.’ He’d even be happy be­com­ing a stay-at-home dad if Beth were to get the next big job – ‘as long as she gets equal pay’.

Glenis­ter comes from a fam­ily steeped in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. His fa­ther was a tele­vi­sion di­rec­tor and his brother Robert is also an ac­tor, but he’s less keen on en­cour­ag­ing his own kids on to the stage. ‘I look at my el­dest and think if you want to be an ac­tor and earn some money, be­come a bar­ris­ter – you can still wear a wig and get dressed up but you earn.’

For his part, Glenis­ter spends much of his time away from his fam­ily, across the Pond, yet even there he can’t es­cape the long shadow cast by the show that made his name. He says: ‘It’s been seven years since Life On Mars [and its se­quel

Ashes To Ashes] fin­ished, so it’s weird that peo­ple still go, “Are you do­ing an­other se­ries?” I tell them, “No, the char­ac­ters are dead. It’s fin­ished. It’s over.” But I get it, that show still res­onates with peo­ple.’

Glenis­ter loses no sleep over hav­ing not cracked Amer­ica, es­pe­cially when re­flect­ing on the ‘ab­sur­dity’ of the life­style. He tells an anec­dote – com­plete with un­can­nily ac­cu­rate im­pres­sions – about go­ing to El­ton John’s fa­mous white tie and tiara ball and watch­ing aghast as his pal James Nes­bitt shook Bill Clin­ton’s hand, only to have the ex-Pres­i­dent whis­per in his ear: ‘You’re stand­ing on Uma Thur­man’s dress.’

His every­day life, he in­sists, is pretty far re­moved from all of that. ‘My fam­ily and I were com­ing back from hol­i­day in Ma­jorca on a bud­get air­line when a sweet lady turned to me and said, “It’s very nice to see that you fly nor­mally, like the rest of us. And you have to stop and think, “Is that the per­cep­tion you have of me?” That be­cause I am on telly I go every­where by pri­vate jet? I’ve never been on a pri­vate jet in my life and I didn’t fly any­thing other than cat­tle class till my early 40s. My kids will be do­ing the same – they don’t need the legroom.’

But one sus­pects that it’s Glenis­ter who’ll keep their feet e firmly on the ground. ‘Liv­ing The Dream’ is on Thurs­days, 9pm on Sky 1

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