TWO DOORS DOWN

Co­me­dian Kieran Hodgson — Gor­don in Two Doors Down — tells At­ti­tude that cy­cling and 1970’ s pol­i­tics can be funny, and about how he hopes to be the first gay owner of a cer­tain sonic screw­driver...

Attitude - - Contents - Words Dar­ren Scott

Co­me­dian Kieran Hodgson comes a- knock­ing

“ALL I WANT TO BE, IN MY CA­REER, IS THE DOC­TOR ONE DAY”

Co­me­dian Kieran Hodgson will be back as Gor­don, Ian’s boyfriend, when Two Doors Down, the sit­com about neigh­bours in Scot­land, re­turns in the New Year.

But play­ing Gor­don — Ian’s third love in­ter­est since the show first aired in 2016 -— comes with its draw­backs. “There’s a lit­tle voice in your head go­ing, ‘ You’re bor­ing com­pared to him’,” Kieran says of Ian’s ex, Jaz. “There were a few peo­ple on Twit­ter ex­press­ing how much they missed my pre­de­ces­sor.”

“But,” adds the 30- year- old Ox­ford Univer­sity French and his­tory grad­u­ate, “You take that on the chin, it’s in­evitable.”

At­ti­tude meets the fun­ny­man at Lon­don’s Soho Theatre, where Kieran Hodgson: ‘ 75 has a four- week res­i­dency in Jan­uary be­fore tak­ing in the rest of the UK in the spring. But be­fore we talk stand- up, we sit down with a cup of tea and dis­cuss play­ing one half of a very nor­mal gay cou­ple on Bri­tish tele­vi­sion.

“I some­times won­der whether we should be all over each other a bit more, to demon­strate that we’re a cou­ple,” Kieran says. “But no, we’re in his par­ents’ house with all the neigh­bours, so we would act like any other cou­ple would in that si­t­u­a­tion.”

That’s not to say Gor­don doesn’t have his mo­ments, in a com­edy filled with large char­ac­ters.

“Gor­don has a lit­tle side that I try to let out oc­ca­sion­ally,” he smiles. “Slightly flam­boy­ant, the odd ex­pres­sion, the lit­tle ges­ture to in­di­cate that there’s some­thing un­der­neath the sur­face. But most of the time, as Cathy of­ten de­scribes him, he’s quite bor­ing. Like me, he’s into trains.”

Grow­ing up in York­shire, Kieran mem­o­rised com­edy shows such as Black­ad­der, Fawlty Tow­ers and The League of Gentle­men to amuse his par­ents and fel­low pupils in the play­ground. But it was a less- con­ven­tional co­me­dian who led him down his fu­ture ca­reer path.

“My sis­ter got an Ed­die Iz­zard VHS for Christ­mas one year, and that was the first time I’d ever seen stand- up. It just blew me away,” he re­calls.

“My cheeks went red be­cause he swore so much. But mum was laugh­ing, so it didn’t seem to mat­ter. That opened my eyes to what stand- up and live com­edy could be, hav­ing only had this un­der­stand­ing of sketches on telly. He was do­ing stuff about the Sec­ond World War, Euro­pean his­tory and pol­i­tics. I was a nerdy kid so I just lapped it up.”

This prob­a­bly ex­plains his heav­ily re­searched lat­est show.

“It’s pri­mar­ily about 1970’ s pol­i­tics and politi­cians.”

He flashes a large grin as he re­alises how that may sound. “A huge chal­lenge was find­ing a way of mak­ing the per­son­al­i­ties com­mu­ni­ca­ble to an au­di­ence. There’s a bit in this cur­rent show where I do a RuPaul im­pres­sion, which is prob­a­bly some­thing I would not have done five years ago.

“It con­trasts with my – as you’ve prob­a­bly gath­ered – sort of bor­ing, nor­mal per­sona. It’s quite fun to burst out of that into some­thing ridicu­lously grand,” he adds.

If you’ve ever wanted to see Charles de Gaulle mashed up with “the sur­real vo­cab­u­lary of RuPaul”, now’s your chance. But Ru isn’t the only bit of gay cul­ture in there.

“There’s a whole speech I do as ( the then Home Sec­re­tary) Roy Jenk­ins in which he’s com­par­ing the per­haps un­pop­u­lar­ity of go­ing into the Euro­pean com­mu­nity with the un­pop­u­lar de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion [ of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity] in 1967.

“[ My char­ac­ter] makes the point that some­times it’s the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to lead pub­lic opin­ion rather than to fol­low it. I think if there had been a ref­er­en­dum on de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion in ’ 67, the Bri­tish pub­lic would’ve said, ‘ No way, lock them up’. For that to have an ex­tra poignancy, I think it’s im­por­tant for the au­di­ence to know that is a de­ci­sion and a view­point that has af­fected my life and is part of my his­tory.

“At the speech in my civil part­ner­ship, I made a point of rais­ing a glass to the gov­ern­ments of Harold Wil­son and Tony Blair for mak­ing this event a le­gal pos­si­bil­ity.” And be­ing able to re­fer to his other half “as in­dif­fer­ently as I would re­fer to my wife” is some­thing that Kieran says is nice, but a great lib­erty to be able to do — some­thing he didn’t con­sider when he was younger.

“I didn’t know what was what,” he laughs. “I thought Lord of the Rings was the great­est lit­er­a­ture ever cre­ated un­til about the age of 19. As a teenager I was mainly think­ing about Star Trek,” he says. Deep Space Nine, if we’re go­ing to be spe­cific. “Or how good I was on my moun­tain bike, or how Birm­ing­ham City were do­ing that sea­son. Those were pre­oc­cu­py­ing me, and I’m glad that they did, re­ally. But then ev­ery­one’s dif­fer­ent.”

As well as ap­pear­ing in a num­ber of com­edy series and be­ing nom­i­nated for awards left, right and cen­tre ( and hav­ing great hair) he’s also ap­peared in a Doc­tor Who spin- off series’ on au­dio.

“It’s a dream come true,” he grins, ad­mit­ting to be­ing a life- long fan who used to watch UK Gold om­nibus edi­tions in his py­ja­mas.

“All I want to be, in my ca­reer, is the Doc­tor one day. I know that my re­sem­blance to a cer­tain former oc­cu­pant of the Tardis may do for that…”

Is it time we had a gay Doc­tor Who? Kieran puts his hands to his chest. “I’m sure that time will come. As in­evitably as a fe­male Doc­tor came, so will all dif­fer­ent types of Doc­tor. Be­cause it turns out that that char­ac­ter can become any­one or any­thing.”

Some­one at the BBC, please take note. Un­til the day he switches his mi­cro­phone for a sonic screw­driver, Kieran, who also played Ian Laven­der in We’re Doomed! The Dad’s Army Story, is al­ready think­ing about his next standup show.

“It’s good to start from things that you care about. If you demon­strate to peo­ple what it is you love about them, why you care, they will go with it.

“I did a show about cy­cling, a show about clas­si­cal mu­sic and now one about 1970’ s pol­i­tics. You don’t have to know any­thing about them, just so long as you find the RuPaul that peo­ple can latch on to.”

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