MOVE over Hollywood hunk George Clooney - here comes South Yorkshire beefcake Dean Andrews, writes Digital Editor Graham Walker.
VIDEO: Press the play button, or watch our chat with Dean via YouTube, which can also be played on the iPhone. Click video under External Links,
Good looking, toned to perfection, intelligent and funny... some may say he’s an impossible act to follow.
But not good humoured Life On Mars star Dean.
“I’m not sure how I measure up to George Clooney – but maybe a touch better looking,’’ he laughs, when asked how he compares as ER actress Alex Kingston’s new co-star in ITV1’s five part supernatural series Marchlands, which starts on Thursday, February 3, at 9pm.
The sexy British actress is, of course, best known for her role as Dr Elizabeth Corday, opposite Clooney and other dashing doctors in the hit American hospital drama.
But 47-year-old Dean isn’t fazed by any of it.
“Well, she’s obviously had the rest. She might as well have a Yorkshire lad now,’’ he quips, in a line which his Ashes To Ashes rogue cop Ray Carling would be proud of.
In a video chat with The Star – which you can watch in full on line at thestar.co.uk/video – he adds: “She was lovely. A really nice lady and a great actress.
“It’s always difficult when you’re working with somebody from LA, I suppose. She’s been in Hollywood for 10 years. You’re always a little nervous on how they are going to be. But she was an absolute dream. Down to earth, good company, funny, intelligent and a good actress.”
Marchlands, which takes its name from the haunted house at the centre of the drama, is a tale of three different families who live there in the 1960s, 1980s and present day.
They are linked by the spirit of a young girl – the daughter of the 1960s family, who died in mysterious circumstances.
It’s the first collaborative creation from ITV and Fox, featuring a host of other big names, including Mistresses star Shelley Conn, Star Wars actor Denis Lawson, Jamie Thomas King of Mad Men and Tessa Peake-Jones, who was Del Boy’s long-suffering girlfriend Raquel in Only Fools and Horses.
Yet it was the page-turner of a script, which deals more with family relationships than shock horror, and a gentle role – poles apart from Ray Carling – that attracted Dean to the part, as the father of the 1980s family.
He said: “It’s a really gripping story. I read the whole script in a day, just because I couldn’t stop turning the pages.
“It’s the story of our little girl that has an imaginary friend and this friend seems to take on more truth as time goes by. Alex plays my wife Helen and she deals with it down the psychiatry route whereas my character, Eddie, starts to believe in his little girl.
“He starts to investigate into the death that happened in the house and the story unravels as the episodes go out.
“The story is more about the effects it has on the families, rather than the supernatural spooky side of it. There is that within it, absolutely. But it’s not in your face. It’s more of a...’what was that’? Things going bump in the night. Stuff like that, which gets your imagination going.
“I do like it when it’s about the effects on relationships, rather than the action and the fighting. I very rarely get to play somebody nice. I’m normally playing some kind of hard man that’s hitting or shooting somebody.
“Sydney Wade, who plays my daughter Amy, was delightful. It was nice to have that interaction with an eight-year-old and the emotive scenes we have together. It’s another string to your bow.
“We all have tools we want to show people. Ray Carling didn’t get much chance to be an emotional crutch for anybody.”
The tale takes him back to the ’80s again, like Ashes To Ashes. Dean recently Twittered that he’s never going to get a role with a modern haircut.
He told The Star: “I don’t feel as though I’ve been in anything modern day for quite a while now, what with Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes, now Marchlands and I’ve just finished United, about the Busby Babes and the Munich air disaster, which takes place in the 1950s. Whether I get back to modern day I don’t know. I must have one of those faces.”
Dean, who began his showbiz career in amateur dramatics and as a club singer, revealed he is having singing lessons with a view to pursuing his dream of appearing in the West End.
“Musical theatre is in my blood. My mum was in amateur dramatics, my sister still does it and I am obsessed with Les Miserables.
“I’ve been having singing lessons to try to improve my voice, to get it to the quality it needs to be and it’s going pretty well.
“Javert in Les Miserables would be my dream part. Whether I’ll ever be good enough I don’t know. I’m hoping that in the next couple of years, I’ll be doing something in the West End.”
He laughs: “Ray Carling on stage in the West End – that would be something to behold.”
“I hope Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars haunt me forever, because it’s a fantastic piece of work and I’ve been very proud to be a part of it. And if it gets people through the door in the theatre to come and see me trying to sing and act, then happy days.”