When we think of Tom Ellis in the UK it’s usually in the form of Miranda’s beloved Gary Preston.
It’s an association the actor, who finished his stint as the sitcom’s chef back in 2015, is in no rush to shake. In fact, he’s still totally open to revisiting his most famous role to date.
“We would love to revisit them at some point,” Ellis tells RadioTimes.com, whether that be “the possibility of doing the movie, or a special, or something like that.”
“Obviously we bookended the series quite nicely and I think where do we go from here in terms of their story and the idea of them in their married life with children is something we’d like to explore.”
“Patricia Hodge, God bless her, I love her,” says Ellis, while musing that Penny would probably be an “oh my good Lord, overbearing” grandmother.
“I hope I haven’t got myself in trouble now though”, he laughs, “Miranda’s like ‘what? I’ve got to write it now!’”
If Hart takes her time penning a potential follow-up, Ellis has plenty to keep himself busy with. He can currently be seen on US TV screens in the guise of the devil in Fox comedy-drama Lucifer.
The premise of the show is simple – Lucifer has left Hell behind to have fun in Los Angeles, and he’s actually taken to helping the local police force solve a few tricky crimes while he’s at it.
Think Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Angel and you’re probably on the right track in terms of tone.
“I like to think of him as Noel Coward and Mick Jagger’s lovechild – and a sprinkling of Terry Thomas,” says Ellis of his fallen angel, who keeps the actor’s dulcet British tones.
“I tried it with an American accent and he sounded like a dick,” he laughs, before explaining that his decision to give Lucifer a decidedly RP lilt had a lot to do with how much he reminded him of a character from a Noel Coward or Oscar Wilde play.
“In America, basically, you can say whatever you like, reprehensible things, and if you’ve got a British accent you can get away with it,” he laughs, “they think it’s incredibly charming.”
Working that incredible charm on casting bosses wasn’t quite so easy for Ellis, though; his big break has come after several false starts.
“I feel like I’ve been working for a long time and serving my apprenticeship so to speak, and I just felt ready to take on bigger, meatier stuff. I just needed someone to take, I wouldn’t say a gamble, but someone to trust in me to do that.”
“I think Lucifer happened because I’d done a show over there called Rush a couple of years ago [the USA Network show was cancelled after one series] and that was sort of the big turning point for me.”
He’s not the only British actor to experience a later rise to prominence either – his former drama school pal Sam Heughan has trod a similar path to leading man status in time travel drama Outlander.
“Sam and I actually went to the same drama school, he was a couple of years below me,” Ellis explains.
“I think particularly with myself and Sam, for example, people get confused when you’re in your twenties and you’re over six foot. It sounds like a bizarre thing to say but casting can’t get their head around the fact that you are the age you are. I think it’s something to do with growing into oneself as a man. Between 30 and 40 is where you really sort of hit your sweet spot.”
“I’m so happy it happened for Sam because he’s a great actor but he’s also a really sweet guy. Incredibly handsome – he used to be known as ‘Handsome Sam’.”
Heughan told RadioTimes.com earlier this year that he appreciates fame more at an older age, something Ellis is in full agreement with.
“Having that sort of body of work beforehand is really helpful. You feel like you’re on top of stuff and you feel like you know what you’re doing. And also I think it grounds you with the experience you have outside of the job as well”, he muses.
“If I was 21 and this was happening to me I think I might be dead next year.”
But Ellis isn’t 21 and the next 12 months are looking rather lively, especially given the fact that Lucifer’s been given the green light for a second series, which will introduce the devil’s as-yet-unnamed mother into the fold.
“I don’t think we’ve cast her yet but that’s going to be our major storyline for season two,” he teases. “You get a sense that this is quite an ominous thing.”
We’d gladly bet that the devil we know will take it all in his stride.
Lucifer is available to stream in the UK on Amazon Prime Video