‘Dalgliesh’ – Carvel drawn to contradictions of detective character

Brit actor had fun on screen and off

Bertie Carvel of “Dalgliesh” on Acorn TV

Q: What attracted you to the title role of the ’70-set detective drama “Dalgliesh”?

A: Well, I knew Helen Edmundson’s writing quite well. … And I loved the script they sent me at that stage when the offer came through … and on the first page, she describes Dalgliesh as “often inscrutable” and that seemed to me to be a good basis for a protagonist, the idea that there’s more to someone than meets the eye … and I was keen to do something that’s kind of seen through a glass darkly, where an audience would be rewarded for patience and perception, and try and do something where still waters run deep. And he’s that kind of a character.

He on the one hand is ruthless and quite aggressive in his prosecution of the cases but on the other hand has the kind of therapist’s knack for leaving spaces into which people pour themselves and almost sort of a Zen quality of stillness that I just found incredibly compelling and exciting to think about how we would put that on film. I enjoy films that have silences in them and enjoy the gaps that I might fill with my imagination or perception as an audience. So you make the audience the detective as well.

Q: How did you like driving that ’70s vintage Jaguar?

A: It’s a beautiful thing. They don’t make them like that anymore. I believe that they’re planning to make a new one with the old E-type shell but with a kind of modern engine and I bet it won’t be the same because, I mean, there’s something about the throatiness of those old engines. … I loved it and I every opportunity I got to drive it (laughs), I was doing stunt driving by the end and I loved it.

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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