If Peter Kay wanted to do another series of Phoenix Nights, his old co-star Neil Fitzmaurice wouldn’t take much persuading.
Speaking ahead of Mount Pleasant’s return to Sky1 tonight, Fitzmaurice – who reprised his Ray Von role when Brian Potter and co returned to the stage for Comic Relief earlier this year – believes there’s still an appetite for Kay’s hit comedy.
“I honestly can go on record as saying I would love to do another Phoenix Nights”, he says.
“When you sell out Manchester Arena and have 15,000 people cheering and screaming, it really underlines just how loved and successful Phoenix Nights was. It was a joy to work on, so yeah, I would love to do it.”
“It’s whether or not Pete would want to do another one. I know he’s rumoured to have said that but whether that’s just media speculation, I don’t really know.”
He and Lindsay (Mount Pleasant’s Lisa and Ray Von’s girlfriend Tracey Burns) were briefly reunited with Kay while filming series five of the Sky comedy-drama.
“Funnily enough, Pete was shooting [BBC2 sitcom] Cradle to Grave at the same time we were shooting Mount Pleasant,” he reveals, “so we were in the same studio”.
Series five of Mount Pleasant finds Fitzmaurice’s character, Fergus, in a very lonely place following his breakup with former flame Denise. He’s come a long way from his days as the show’s rogue.
“He became a bit of a housewives favourite, which was quite funny,” says Fitzmaurice of the old Fergus. “You couldn’t have a character like that last that long. I think it’s lovely they way they turned him around. His life caught up with him and his past caught up with him.”
The decline in Fergus’ fortunes has given him plenty to work with on set, too. “I love doing the drama, I think any actor would tell you that they want to do as much of a variation as possible. It is great to be able to go to work knowing that you’ve got some really meaty stuff to do as well.”
Fitzmaurice, who is known for comedy turns in series like Peep Show (as Mark’s love rival Jeff) and his more serious role in ITV’s Mobile, says there’s something different about the Sky1 series, which first aired back in 2011.
“One of the things that I love about Mount Pleasant is that differs it from other northern comedy dramas in that the characters are all quite aspirational. They’re successful, they’ve got nice houses, y’know it’s not a burning mattress on a derelict estate situation. These are really nice houses, they do well, they’re professional.
“It’s a really warm comedy that makes you laugh out loud but then also makes you… it’s a real roller coaster of emotions, isn’t it? I mean you are essentially dealing with people whose lives aren’t perfect, and that mirrors society, doesn’t it? It mirrors the people sitting down to watch it for the first time or for the fifth series.”
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