Hugh Dennis on being a “complete idiot” around Hugh Laurie

He’d have a puppet play him in a movie and get Alastair McGowan to do his voice – if only he could stay cool in front of the other Hugh…

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What can’t you miss?

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Mad Men. I’ve always rather liked that world. Before I was an actor, I was in marketing and made ads. It has nothing to with the abundance of attractive women. Nothing at all.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Football. I’ll watch anything with a football in it. I support Arsenal but it really wouldn’t matter if it were an Eastern European fourth-division match. I think I’ve been like that since childhood, but it’s only recently that all this stuff has become available.

What brings a tear to your eye?

The terrible thing is that almost anything can since I had children. It could be Emmerdale. I look across at my wife and she points at her eyes, and I go, “It got me, too!”

What makes you laugh?

Modern Family is fantastically good. I couldn’t even tell you what channel it’s on but my children record it religiously. If you’re a comic actor or a comedian, it’s quite difficult to sit down and, without any kind of analysis, enjoy comedy programmes. Modern Family is the exception – probably because it’s American.

Speaking of family sitcoms, is Outnumbered coming back?

I believe so. I’m not quite sure when, but there’s one scheduled for this year. It will be a shock to see what my children look like.

Do you think it could run and run or is this likely to be the last?

I don’t know. Between series three and four, when the kids really grew up and the nature of it changed, it stopped being a classy version of Kids Say the Funniest Things and started being a family sitcom. I thought, “I wonder, is that going to work?” Then that series won a National Television Award, so you say, “Oh, that does work then.”

What did you watch with your parents?

We always watched Porridge and Butterflies together as a family. All I can really remember about Butterflies is my parents looking at each other and nodding in a knowing way as if to say, “Yes, our life is a bit like that.”

And when you had the television to yourself?

I used to love it in the cricket season because the Test match would start at 11am and go on until half-past six. In the middle – when it got a bit boring – there’d be Belle and Sebastian or a programme about French fighter pilots or a Yugoslavian thing called The White Horses, all dubbed and incredibly soppy, but I was addicted.

I watched far too much TV as a child but it was all BBC so therefore it was all right – it was all classy.

Who was your first crush?

I’m ashamed to say I fancied all sorts. Suzi Quatro quite a lot – it might have been the leather trousers – and the Doctor Who assistant who wore nothing but animal skins. What was her name?

I suspect you mean Leela. Have you ever been star-struck?

Although I’ve met him many times, I’ve never managed to have a conversation with Hugh Laurie where I haven’t gone away thinking, “Oh you’ve just been a complete idiot. What you said there didn’t make sense. Why did you say that?”

Which actor would you choose to play you?

Whoever it is will need a prosthetic chin so I’d like to be a puppet or a 3D animation, and I’d like to be voiced by Alistair McGowan who does an impression of me. I thought, “Do I sound like that?” and everybody around me went, “That’s pretty good.” Very disconcerting.

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Hugh Dennis is in Jo Brand’s Great Wall of Comedy (Sun 7.30pm Gold), Mock the Week (Thu 10pm BBC2) and The Now Show (Fri 6.30pm Radio 4)