Award-winning Scots star Bobby Carlyle wasn't joking about his fear that he might look like a laughing stock as Hamish Macbeth.
He turns the Highland lawman into a comic copper when the hit series returns tomorrow for its final season.
And 35-year-old Bobby was worried that the humour could go over the top.
"I was really concerned that I might look too silly," he told me.
"Comedy isn't something that I'm known for, or have even done a lot of. So this might even be the first time that some people have seen me crack a smile.
"This is the broadest comedy that I have ever done of television and it is difficult. I had to be careful not to look like an idiot."
Bobby plays it for laughs when he transforms Hamish into a caricature of the perfect policeman...square-jawed, immaculately turned out in full uniform and on the look-out for the slightest bending of the law.
Hamish dumps his easy-going attitude to impress WPC Anne Patterson (Sharon Small) when she is sent to Lochdubh. "It is all very tongue-in-cheek," said Bobby. "when we recorded this one I had made about 15 episodes of Hamish so I thought it was time to have a laugh and just enjoy myself...which is what I did.
"I tried very much to create the look of the stiff upper-lipped hero of the 1950's movies."
An important prop for the funny side of Hamish Macbeth was a pipe, which is part of the cop's new look.
"It helped give the character that old-style hero appearance. But the pipe was a tricky prop. I tried to let it drop as I reacted in mock surprise. But of course it burned me and my costume as it fell. So I stopped that."
Although this is the final batch of Macbeth, we'll still be seeing a lot of Bobby Carlyle. Particularly in one film, The Full Monty, which is set to hit the cinemas in the autumn.
He plays a redundant steel worker who earns a crust in a male strip act, which meant peeling off in front of 300 women.
He's also filmed another very different drama, Face, in which he's the leader of a gang of robbers. The cast features Blur's Damon Albarn.
Bobby told me how a joke he'd cracked about Damon had backfired on him.
"I'd laughingly said Damon was a nightmare and that pop stars should stick to music. But it was taken seriously. That's upsetting, because Damon is a mate and I hadn't intended to have a go at him."
As reveraled earlier this week in the Record, Bobby also wants to come out fighting in a film about legendary Scots boxer Benny Lynch.
That project is in early stages of development, but on that's about to get under way is Divorcing Jack, which Bobby will film in Belfast.
"It's based on a brilliant novel about a Belfast jounalist who upsets Protestants and Catholics alike with his newspaper column.
The actor, whose intensive research for roles is legendary, is already working on the accent...with the help of Oscar-winner Daniel Day Lewis.
"The accemt is hard to get right. So I have watched In The Name Of The
Father three times, studying Daniel Day Lewis's accent."
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Last Update: 26 March, 1997
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