PHIL TO THE BRIM
From Quadrophenia to Blur's ‘Parklife', PHIL DANIELS has always been the perfect example of the Cockney diamond geezer. So what’s he doing cracking jokes in Glasgow, then? Words: Jonathan Trew
IT‘S ELEVEN o‘clock in the morning and Phil Daniels is lying on a bed in a disused warehouse in Paisley. Ile looks like he has been up all night. Next to him is a woman he doesn’t know very well but would like to know better. It's just what you might expect from the man who has played every Jack The Lad role going. from young Jimmy the Mod in Quazlmplwniu to Gary Rickey. the bilious food critic who can‘t keep a good lunch down as he lurchcs from bed to bed and bar lobar in BBCZ‘s drama serial. [Io/(ling
This morning. however. Daniels is in fact making a film rather than a sordid tabloid scoop. He‘s been in Glasgow since July. researching. rehearsing and acting in Sluml Aml Deliver. a 90-minute drama for BBCZ directed by Les Blair. which will be screened next year. Daniels plays Alun. a rutnplcd stand-up comedian from London who
has come up to Glasgow to play a couple of
gigs. noise up the locals and feed his borderline gambling addiction. Should Alun happen to bed any ‘poontang’ then so much the better.
It‘s a part that has Daniels’ name written all over it. As much as Alun is a bit of a rough diamond. Daniels. in the flesh. is a diamond gee/er. More of a lad‘s man than a woman's man. almost every sentence ends with a cackling laugh that sounds like Sid James splitting his sides in a tunnel. lle punctuates his conversation with copious amounts of ‘facking‘. ‘y‘know what I mean'." and phrases
‘l've played a stand-up comic one week, a restaurant critic the next, all sorts of
On. mad things. l'd like to do SGl where l was Lord Chumley Bumiey or whatever, but that i.
WIII COIIIQ.f Phil Daniels
like ‘I couldn‘t bottle it‘. When he says ‘lidinburgh‘. he pronounces it ‘lidinbrrah‘ and you understand perfectly why Blur asked him to inject some authentic cockney into 'Parklife‘. While he never actually winks. you get the feeling that he‘s about to and a mischievous twinkle has taken up permanent residence in his eyes.
Although being a Londoner has been crucial to many of his roles. Daniels is
It's good to talk: Phil Daniels on the set of Stand And Deliver
ambivalent about the concomitant benefits and drawbacks. ‘lt’s quite restricting but y‘know . . .‘ he shrugs. ‘lt’s restricting in that you don’t speak differently. Other than that, the things I get to do are so diverse that it’s a minor restriction. I’ve played a stand-up comic one week. a restaurant critic the next; a farmer. a knife-thrower. all sorts of mad things and all sorts of good things. I’d like to do something where l was’ -— adopts posh voice — ‘l.ord Chumley Bumley or whatever. but that will come.‘
Daniels‘ favourite role to date is as the food writer Gary Rickey. ‘l was allowed to play somebody who just goes to pieces. and it was fun to have a go at fuckin' journalists.’ he guffaws. ‘lt was fun because I was playing someone like 'l‘ony Parsons. A.A. Gill (The Sunday Tina's food and TV critic) thought it was him. How he ever thought I would even think about . . .‘
Was it insulting?
‘lt was insulting and he thought I was atrocious. of course.‘
Daniels seems to have enjoyed his stay in Glasgow and has put in the occasional appearance at the weekly pub quiz in Bar Him. The quiz is hosted by Mark Robb who plays Max 'l’. the comedy promoter in Siam! .Il/ul Deliver. Speaking of Sir/iii\xvi(lv Farm. the BBC: comedy which aired earlier this year to a decidedly mixed reception. Daniels says: ‘lt was a real laugh. but I‘m not so sure that the BBC thought it was so funny. But I tell you, everywhere I go in Glasgow for a drink people say that they love .S'u/iiivsiili'f
Daniels reflects for a moment. 'lt's proper people's humour that.‘
Stand And Deliver will be broadcast on BBC2 in 1998.
.1‘1 :10th Dec 1997 THE LIST17