Ghosts star Simon Farnaby has revealed which real politicians inspired his performance as Julian Fawcett MP on BBC One’s supernatural sitcom.
The character is one of many paranormal spirits roaming the fictional Button House, having died on the grounds of the property under awkward circumstances in the early ’90s.
The comedy series returns later this month for a Ghosts Christmas special, which will reveal the backstory of the deceased MP with flashbacks to his days among the living.
Though the character’s backstory is entirely fictional and not based on any one person, Farnaby studied the speeches of real public figures in order to capture the mannerisms of a true politician with two recent Prime Ministers proving to be particularly influential.
“Very early on, when we decided on this politician character, I had an impression of Tony Blair that I used to annoy my wife with,” Farnaby recalled. “So, it was a bit Tony Blair and a bit David Cameron.”
Co-creator Ben Willbond, who plays World War II officer The Captain in Ghosts, offered guidance on the latter, after auditioning to portray Cameron in Peter Morgan’s play The Audience, a precursor to his Netflix drama The Crown.
“I auditioned and I got down to the last two, in fact, so I really did study Cameron,” Willbond revealed.
Regular viewers of Ghosts will have noticed the mannerisms that Julian seems to subconsciously fall back on, which appear to be lifted straight from the House of Commons.
Farnaby continued: “I think they all got this missive in the early ‘90s that you weren’t allowed to point. So politicians stopped pointing and they used these new hand gestures and we found the phoniness of that quite amusing. So it’s all bound up in Julian.”
The UK’s current political leader Boris Johnson also contributed to the tapestry that comprises Julian Fawcett MP during his earlier days in office.
“Boris had this thing, when he got in, he had a bounce,” Farnaby explained. “The ‘Boris bounc’e he’d call it and he was so excited and full of energy that he used to jump around, so there’s a bit of that hopping in Julian as well.”
He added: “It’s great to watch politicians and instead of just feeling this sort of dread that sometimes accompanies it, you can go ‘oh, I’ll nick that, I’ll have that and turn it into comedy’.”
Work is currently underway on the third series of Ghosts, which is expected to start filming in early 2021. Read more about where Ghosts is filmed.