An Interview with Larry Lamb
Considering Dirty Den did a Lazarus a few years back, it’s not out of the realms of possibility that Archie Mitchell could return from the dead as well.
“I doubt that,” laughs Larry Lamb. “They’d have to do some serious fancy footwork in the script to talk him back to existence. He looked pretty dead the last I saw of him!”
Lamb, dad of former Big Brother host George, was originally contracted to a six-month EastEnders stint as evil Archie. But extended his reign of terror on Albert Square for over two years before meeting an untimely end. To be fair, it was an exit he deserved more than most having nearly succeeded in sending Peggy to the asylum. He destroyed every one of daughter Roxy’s love relationships, whilst cheating, manipulating and wrongdoing the remainder of the EastEnders cast.
Naturally, being the bad guy is always more fun and Larry admits he desperately misses his days on the Square. “I loved being there and if it was up to me, I would still be there now. But from the beginning, there was always an axe hanging over his head and I knew that. I only went there for six months and finished up with two years. Archie’s end was in sight the minute I signed up, to be fair. But I miss all the girls. They were my on-screen family – albeit a bit of dysfunctional one – and we all became really close.”
“I just don’t want to take a step back”
Equally very well known for his portrayal of Mick Shipman, Matt Horne’s unfeasibly affable dad in Gavin and Stacey, Larry can’t help us in putting some concrete behind rumours that the award-winning comedy might be making a comeback. Apparently it’s all down to the creators themselves who, of course, are rather busy ascending a different a-list ladder. “James [Corden] and Ruth [Jones] have such hectic careers. It would take a month of Sundays to get the pair to start writing the comedy again. I’ve heard murmurings on the grapevine, but nothing confirmed. Although I’d like to think it will happen one day.”
As of now, the 64-year-old dad of two is busy fronting pressure cleaner company Kärcher’s campaign to clean up Britain. The promotion offers the chance for one community in the UK to have its streets scrubbed by Kärcher’s high-tech team of cleaners, maybe for a street party to mark the Diamond Jubilee, or for England’s forthcoming success in the Euros. Well… we can but hope.
Lamb has also been busying himself with his series of historical reports for BBC’s The One Show, leaving acting somewhat on the back burner. “For the last six months, my main employment has been in creating fantastic little films with The One Show. They have a contemporary historical base but they’re so rich in history and human stories that they’ve opened my eyes to so many things I didn’t know.
“Acting is something I’m taking a break from for a while. But if an interesting project comes along I’ll go for it. I just don’t want to take a step back, I only want to go forward. It’s about trying new things really. What about my own chat show – ‘The Larry Lamb Show’? That has a nice ring to it don’t you think?!”
“I’m just a private person”
Or possibly ‘The Larry and George Lamb Show’ – a father/son talk combo. There’s certainly a niche market. “Wouldn’t that be great,” he smiles. “There isn’t anything like that around right now, so we should start shopping the idea about. I’d love to work more with George. He’s fantastic at what he does and we always have a great time whenever we’re together. He too is so busy with his work right now, as am I. So it’s difficult to get us both together in the same room… but maybe one day.”
When spare time did exist, Larry used to be a fan of heading down the local for a quiet pint and a read of the papers. Since Mitchell and Shipman came along though, those days are long gone.
“I was always popping into the local for a quiet one, but once Archie’s story-line developed on EastEnders, some of the responses I was getting from drinkers were a little frightening. Some people really struggled to come to terms with the fact it was a soap storyline!
“Throw in Mick Shipman, a character that everyone loved, and I’d either be getting abuse for Archie or over-affection for Mick. I’m just a private person, someone who doesn’t want to attract attention to himself. I’m wondering when it’s safe to venture back to the pub… soon, hopefully!”
Larry is helping Kärcher, the world’s leading cleaning specialists, to help people clean up their streets in time for Jubilee street parties. For information and to enter a competition to win a Kärcher clean for your community go to facebook/Karchercleansbritain.