Lewis Kevin Whately Laurence Fox

Edinburgh has Rebus, Denton had – until very recently – Inspector Jack Frost and Oxford wouldn't be the same without good old Lewis. Kevin Whately is back for a new series of crime mysteries with Laurence Fox as his trusty sidekick Hathaway. We caught up with them on location.

What's it like filming in Oxford?
Kevin Whately: There were about 10,000 Spanish students here the other day, plus graduations so it was mobbed, but it's a wonderful city.
Laurence Fox: I totally associate Oxford with Lewis because I've never been there for any other reason. When I walk around everyone says, 'Look, it's the other one!' Very rarely have they known who I am.

There were rumours Lewis might be axed in all the budget cuts. Were/are you worried?
Kevin Whately: As far as I was concerned it was never mooted, it was speculation. This sells well abroad so I think it makes sense to keep going.
Laurence Fox: It's quite lucky we haven't been cancelled — I would be working behind a bar somewhere no doubt! It shouldn't be cancelled because it's a good show and it does well for ITV. But obviously you worry as it's not a good time for anyone really at the moment, so it's really nice to have a job.

Do you know anyone personally who's been affected by the recession?
Laurence Fox: Almost everyone I know. I've got friends who have lost their jobs like a lot of people, so it's pretty bad.

Lewis mysteries often deal with academic subjects — have you ever learnt anything high-brow while making the show?
Kevin Whately: I used to learn quite a bit about music in the old days — because Morse liked music, it was very intrinsic to a lot of the plots. It works well because there are lots of lovely halls and chapels in Oxford so if you stick in a choir it sounds great and people like it.
Laurence Fox: Obviously I've done some in-depth research, about six months before the shoot! I think Hathaway's less of a genius than he was, he used to know everything. He's still a smart arse, but he can't speak German for example. I often Google things if I don't know what it's about.

You can come a cropper as some websites aren't always accurate.
Laurence Fox: I know, my Wikipedia page is the most horrific thing in the world. It quotes me as saying, 'There ain't no method to my acting' or something like that!

Kevin you were featured in Who Do You Think You Are? Did any new relatives get in touch?
Kevin Whately: Yes, a lot of people have written in, particularly on my dad's side because a huge amount was edited so I've spent a lot of this year writing back to them. One woman, a relative, sent me a huge family tree with loads of distant cousins I didn't know about.

Laurence, do you have any interest in finding out more about your family history?
Laurence Fox: I get quite irritated when people talk about me being part of an acting dynasty, so imagine me going back and finding out that I'm from a really really long line of actors or a really long line of something else. It's a label really isn't it?

By Mary Comerford