John Simm (‘Mad Dogs’ Series 3) interview

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It’s rare for a holiday to outstay its welcome but, for Woody (Beesley), Quinn (Glenister), Baxter (Simm) and Rick (Warren), this one definitely has. No surprise given ‘highlights’ so far have involved pint-sized assassins, drug cartels and expat gangsters. Quality R&R isn’t on the menu this time around either, as creator and writer Cris Cole prepares a fresh tangle of twists to trip up the boys.

> Buy the Series 1-2 boxset on Amazon.

> Order Series 3 on DVD on Amazon.

Series 3 begins at 9pm on Tuesday 4 June on Sky1.

You’re back! Is series three as good as the previous two?

“Honestly, I think episode one of this series is the best episode of Mad Dogs I’ve ever read. I closed the script and went, ‘Oh my God’. It was fantastic.”

How does this series differ from the last one?

“Well, in the first episode, we pick up straight after we left off, but then there’s a big time lapse and we fast forward two years. I think that’s shocking, and quite exciting. You think, ‘Oh my God, what are they going to be like, and what’s happened?’

“Beforehand, the whole series has been set within the space of a few days or a week, with added flashbacks to give you a bit of a backstory. But now we’ve fast forwarded it a little bit.”

And is it tonally very different? The first series was surreal and claustrophobic, and the second was a road movie. Is this one different again?

“Yes. It’s a bit more poignant, I think. We get to do a lot of nice stuff because we’ve been dragged away and we’re never allowed to go home again. Can you imagine that? That’s heartbreaking for them all, especially because Baxter’s got kids.

“To see how they deal with that is quite interesting. These guys aren’t heroes, they’re ordinary guys, so it’s easy for the viewer to put themselves in their place and imagine how they’d react to the same thing.”

As an ongoing series, do you open each script and pray that it’s as good as the last one?

“Yes. We’re always pleasantly surprised when we get the script because Chris is great and he’s developing as well. As he gets to know us, and as we get to know the characters, he can write much more easily for us all. Sometimes we find little phrases in our script and think, ‘Did I actually say that out loud a few weeks ago?”.”

Do you have anything in common with Baxter?

“I really hope I’m not like Baxter. He’s quite compassionate and he can be quite nice, but he’s a bit annoying! I think him and Rick are so annoying.  If I was watching at home, I’d be like, ‘aargh!’.”

What kind of changes has Baxter undergone?

“Well, he’s working as a lawyer and he’s very good at it, but he’s not that successful. He’s living in an office, he’s got a pull-down camp bed, and you see him looking at his daughter’s Facebook pages and that’s absolutely heartbreaking. It’s a really horrible thing that they’ve had to do, go away and lose touch.

“So I think he’s very different when you first see him – I think they all are, until they get back together and immediately fall into what they were like before and start arguing, which is funny, and nice. I think they need each other and they don’t really want to admit it.”

And you’ve lost your goatee…

“Yes, I used to moan about my goatee all the time but I used to hide behind it. I didn’t realise that until I saw in the script that I had to shave it off and I thought, ‘I know I used to moan about it, but do I really have to lose it, are we sure about this?”

“They wanted me to lose my glasses as well but I said, ‘I’ve got to keep the glasses’. So I kept the glasses, but it’s a running thing that he keeps getting them smashed.”

How have you enjoyed filming in South Africa?

“Oh, it’s fantastic. I love Cape Town. I was here before when I did The Devil’s Whore. It was winter then so it wasn’t as nice weather, but this time we went at just the right time and it was so beautiful. We arrived in Cape Town in January when it was snowing, and I hear it was constantly raining in the UK, so it was lovely being in South Africa for most of winter.

“Majorca for the second series was much hotter – too hot to sunbathe. But the good thing about that is that you can jump on EasyJet and be home in two hours. We’ve had a great time though. We’ve been horse riding, on boat trips, and we’ve eaten fantastic food.”

> Buy the Series 1-2 boxset on Amazon.

> Order Series 3 on DVD on Amazon.

Watch the trailer…

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