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...
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.”