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Dalziel and Pascoe's Colin Buchanan makes his Birmingham stage debut in JP Priestley's Dangerous Corner

Colin Buchanan tells Roz Laws why he disappeared from our TV screens but is back on stage in Dangerous Corner at the Birmingham Rep.

JB Priestley's Dangerous Corner featuring Michael Praed and Colin Buchanan
JB Priestley's Dangerous Corner featuring Michael Praed and Colin Buchanan

Ask actor Colin Buchanan what he gets up to these days and he says: “Oh, I just muck about. Even when I’m working, I just muck about.”

Colin admits he is still on the sabbatical which he took after his hit series Dalziel and Pascoe finished.

One minute he was regularly on TV as one half of the crime-fighting duo, along with Warren Clarke.

The next, he seemed to just disappear.

The detective series ran for 12 series before ending in 2007. Although set in Yorkshire, it was filmed in and around Birmingham.

That was handy for Colin, as he moved to the city during the making of series three and has never left.

Colin has hardly been on television since, except for an episode of Casualty.

He dabbles in the occasional theatre work, the latest of which is a UK tour of JB Priestley’s play Dangerous Corner.

He stars alongside Michael Praed and plays Robert Caplan, married to Freda (Finty Williams, daughter of Dame Judi Dench). Set in the 1930s, they are entertaining guests at their country home when a chance remark has a catastrophic effect.

It plays Birmingham Rep next week, giving him a chance to perform on stage in his adopted city for the first time.

He explains: “When Dalziel and Pascoe finished, I was offered a few things straight away but I turned them down because I was exhausted, frankly.

“In the later years we were expected to do more and more with less and less money and time.

“In the end it became impossible to keep up the quality. We felt we were just filling screen time rather than doing something worthwhile.

“I took time off to recharge the batteries and went on a lot of holidays.

“But to honest I’m still on my sabbatical. I’m just mucking about.

“I just do bits and pieces that I fancy. They asked me to do an episode of Casualty in 2012, which was absurd to be honest.

“I was a very nasty character, cheating on a disabled wife who was in a wheelchair. He was having an affair with a Japanese woman married to an Indian. It was so politically correct.

“In the end I got blown up. I spent a couple of hours in make-up every morning producing all my injuries, then I hung around all day and wasn’t used.

Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan as TV detectives Dalziel and Pascoe
Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan as TV detectives Dalziel and Pascoe
 

“That went on for a week and I wasn’t used once.

“They also took a cast of my torso to show a broken bone, but that wasn’t used either.

“It was when they moved from Bristol to Cardiff and they went all out with explosions and helicopters.

“Then just after Casualty I got a call to be in an episode of The Murdoch Mysteries, filmed in Canada.

“They said I’d be playing a mad professor who says he’s invented a time machine. I said ‘I’m on the plane!’.

“I also shot a film in Canada called Diverted, with David Suchet and Joanne Whalley about 9/11.

“And I’ve kept my hand in doing audio books and short films.

“I did quite well financially out of Dalziel and Pascoe and I didn’t blow it.

“I did a play for Bill Kenwright last year with Jenny Seagrove and Peter Bowles, called The Governess.

“Dangerous Corner is another Kenwright production, and I’m in negotiations with him at the moment to do another play.

“But part of that is that I want to be reimbursed for my Birmingham City Football Club season ticket because I haven’t had much of a chance to use it lately!”

Colin, 48, has been a keen Bluenose for years, thanks to his best friend from childhood supporting Birmingham City.

Not that he’s particularly pleased with his team at the moment.

“The manager was sacked, the chairman’s in jail, we’re in the relegation zone – it’s not looking good.

“They should have got Chris Hughton back, and they need to sell the club to someone who’s going to do something with it.”

Colin is also not happy about the lack of TV production in Birmingham.

He has starred in several BBC Pebble Mill productions, including his first starring role in All Quiet on the Preston Front back in 1994.

So he says: “Selling Pebble Mill was so misguided. It had a real identity, everyone had heard of it around the country and it was a really good place to work.

“All the drama was taken away and it just died. It’s a real shame that we’ve only been left with Doctors, when you think what they used to make there.

“The skill set has gone because people have had to move elsewhere to find work.”

Colin is happy to stay in the Bearwood home he’s lived in for 16 years, although he no longer shares it with his family.

He lived there with his long-time girlfriend Kim and their daughters Kira, 17, and 14-year-old Maya.

He and Kim were together for more than 20 years, then got married but divorced less than three years later.

“It’s just one of those things and was amicable. My daughters live nearby.

“I wouldn’t encourage them to go into acting now, as it’s a very different business from when I started.

“There are too many people trying to do it now. It disturbs me.

“When I was started out there were only 10 drama schools in the country, they each sent about 25 people out into the business every year and most people found work.

“But now there are 50 drama schools, each sending out 50 people every year, so there are thousands of new graduates. It’s very hard now for people to make a living at it.”

Colin still gets the occasional cheque for repeat fees for Dalziel and Pascoe.

“It’s been sold to a lot of countries and is still very popular in Holland – God bless the Dutch!

“Occasionally I will go into the front room and my kids are watching me on the telly, so I go ‘Get that off now!’.

“It’s a bit mad that I still get recognised as Pascoe but it’s always been really nice, people never give me a hard time.

“Especially in Birmingham, people just say hello and leave me alone.”

* Dangerous Corner plays Birmingham Rep from November 3-8. For tickets ring 0121 236 4455 or go to www.birmingham-rep.co.uk . It then moves on to Malvern Festival Theatre (01684 892277) for a week.

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