Something Neat I: 1994 Interview From The Independent

Something Neat We’ve Found

Something Neat will be for fun and interesting Patrick Malahide related articles, pictures, interviews, etc. that we find on the web or elsewhere.

Confronting mortality

First up, a fascinating article by Charles Nevin for The Independent, Sunday 23, January 1994.  The title of article is brilliant:  “Captain Moonlight: A Monster You Can Believe In“.  I love that 🙂

It was written during the original transmission of Middlemarch in which Malahide  played Rev. Edward Casaubon. The opening sentences immediately drew my attention:

PATRICK MALAHIDE is an actor with edge. ‘I have,’ he says, ‘pale blue eyes. You try looking soppy with pale blue eyes.’ Malahide characters specialise in the suggestion of tension, the sketch of depth, usually dark.

Soppy 😀 Well, I don’t know about ‘soppy’, but I think he has played extraordinarily sympathetic, gentle and even romantic characters to perfection.  Lennie Richards from Sensitive Skin immediately comes to mind, as does John Poole from Five Days.

Of the withering glare the ailing Casaubon gives Dorothea’s relentlessly cheerful Uncle Arthur, Nevin writes:

It was the look that Arthur Daley of Minder never quite received from Malahide’s great comic creation, the late Detective Sergeant Chisholm, a wondrous parody of tense, dark depths, a man who would have loved to wither but didn’t have the weight for it.

Patrick Malahide: Sgt. Chisholm in Minder

Ahhh.  Well, I’m not sure I agree with that.  As far as I’m concerned, Chisholm is eternal, so let’s not use the word “late” if we don’t have to!!  Also, I think Chisholm’s looks could most certainly wither.  He once drove DC Jones to the solace of whiskey at Dave’s after the lovely Welsh constable let out an ill timed giggle.  Daley got a few of them too and often found himself trying to hide from Chisholm.  Chisholm’s glares might not have been quite as baleful as Casaubon’s, but they were still pretty intense.

he will agree that his acting does have edge, that he has specialised in ‘beady parts’ (as in ‘beady-eyed villain’). But, as he says of Casaubon, ‘I don’t like playing villains where the door creaks. It cheapens it. I resisted any temptation – and there were some – to play Casaubon as a pantomime villain. The only way you can make monsters believable is by showing where it comes from.’

Beady parts 🙂  To be honest, I don’t mind door creaking villains.  Vincent Price is one of my all time favorite actors and he did alright playing nutty, over-the-top villains.  But, there is no doubt that Casaubon is no door creaker.  He isn’t even really a villain.  Everything he does comes from a spirit of wanting to do right.  When Casaubon gets things wrong, and he does a lot of things wrong, his missteps stem from fear and insecurity, but never malice.  Malahide completely conveys Casaubon as a profoundly tragic man who you just wish you could help.  His portrayal actually makes it rather easy to see why Dorothea would choose to marry him, and why she held him so closely when she found his body outdoors.  That was the only time she was able to get close enough to him to properly hold  and comfort him, but by then it was too late.  But, it is that inability to really get close to Casaubon that shows how vulnerable he truly is.

Here are a couple more interesting tidbits:

The sensible, sensitive actor today knows that anything he might say will be taken down and used as evidence that he is one of those awful luvvies.

He taught English for a while – his nickname was ‘Lurch’ – before getting into acting via stage management, directing, and selling kitchenware in Germany.


What luvvies might look like.

“Luvvies” is a slang term for pretentious, gushing actors.  It is certainly nice to see that Malahide is very sensible and not pretentious.  The Lurch bit isn’t nice though.  Where did they get from?  I suppose he looked very tall and thin to the little rug rats.  I can’t say I see much of a resemblance at all.

It is a fun read and worth checking out.  Fortunately, despite being an older article, it is still currently available on The Independent website.

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