My Chance encounter
Hugh Laurie on playing another doctor in a new us thriller, and his success at home and abroad…
Chance Tuesday / UNIVERSAL / 9.00Pm
Five years after troubled doctor Gregory House rode off our TV screeens on his motorbike, Hugh Laurie returns to the world of medicine this week in psychological thriller Chance.
In the 10-part series, which begins with a double bill, The Night Manager star plays neuropsychiatrist Dr Eldon Chance, whose patients have a range of neurological conditions.
Here, Hugh, 58, tells
TV Times about the role…
Describe Dr eldon chance for us…
He’s very vulnerable. He feels the pain of the world, and the pain of his patients very keenly, and that pain has got to him to the point where it has stripped away his last defences. He’s not cool or tough. He’s a good, kind man, but buffeted by the world in which he works.
Why is his work so difficult?
My father was a GP and at Christmas, his patients would give him a bottle of wine or someone would knit him a pair of socks. Patients were grateful for the things he’d done. I asked a neuropsychiatrist if his patients did the same thing, and he said, ‘No, they don’t’. A neuropsychiatrist doesn’t heal people; they can’t. The people they are dealing with are irreparably damaged. They can manage a problem, but nobody leaves the surgery doing cartwheels and screaming, ‘Thank you, doctor, I’m cured’.
are there any similarities between eldon chance and Gregory House? When I read the script I thought it was about as far away from House as it’s possible to get. Unlike Chance, House had a shield of wit and sarcasm around him – he was a very powerful character. But, of course, it’s roughly the same therapeutic world.
Were you pleased by The Night Manager’s success?
I was very proud. John Le Carré has been a hero for as long as I can remember. I’d actually tried to make it as a producer when the novel came out in 1993. Back then, I dreamed of playing the Tom Hiddleston role. But then, unfortunately, most of my hair fell out!
How often do you see your former comedy partner, stephen Fry? When we can. I was in America working on Chance while he was filming [US sitcom) The Great Indoors. He seems very happy and is working hard.
Do you miss your comedy days? Yes, I do. I miss telling a joke, or putting on a wig and playing a silly character. I think we look back on those days with great affection. Maybe we’ll do it again.
I thought it was about as far away from House as it’s possible to get.
Hugh and stephen in A Bit Of Fry and Laurie