All good things must come to an end and, after 12 years of consistently impressive ratings, BBC1's OAP crime drama New Tricks (Tuesday) prepares to take its final bow.
What's on TV caught up with Denis Lawson - now the longest serving cast member since last original actor, Dennis Waterman, stepped out in style earlier this series.
Star Wars and Holby City star Denis reveals some of the exciting stories coming, and why this is the right time to wave goodbye to old favourite…
How has it been filming the final series of New Tricks?
"It’s been good. Nick Lyndhurst, Tamzin Outhwaite, Larry Lamb and myself clicked very fast so it’s been simulating in that sense. We’ve had a great time, but I’m fine about it finishing. I’ve now done four series and I’ve never done anything for that long! So on a personal level it’s right for me."
We’re seeing a real return to the comedy elements of New Tricks this year. What have been your favourite scenes to film?
"We were keen to get more comedy into this series and I think we certainly managed that. It’s been good fun. When Larry Lamb’s new character, Ted Case, first comes in he insinuates Steve isn’t very well dressed. We see Steve take umbrage to this and he goes and buys a lot of designer clothes!
"I got to do a silent sequence where Steve’s in front of his mirror trying on new outfits and a stream of different looks, just posing and trying to look cool – but screwing up. I love that kind of stuff!"
We understand Steve’s going to face some serious financial problems this year. What can you reveal?
"We discover through the series that he’s in dire financial straits and it gets so bad he can’t even buy a round of drinks!"
What does he do?
"Danny spots what’s going on and decides to take matters in hand. He helps Steve structure his life, gets the spread sheets out and gives him a meagre monthly allowance to live on! It’s quite amusing and Danny and Steve develop a more personal relationship through it too, which is fun."
Will the financial situation come good for Steve?
"Not straight away – he’s promised to buy his estranged son a car, which he can’t afford. He decides to rent out his flat with catastrophic results when a couple of Italian women try to rip him off! And, at one point, he ends up living at Danny’s house. It will begin to resolve itself towards the end of the series. We’re also going to see his relationship with his son improve too."
Do you enjoy the darker elements of the case storylines?
"They can be fascinating, and we get to go to places the public doesn’t normally get to see. There’s a cricket storyline and we got to spend time at Lord’s. There’s also a very good episode about 1980s stock exchange corruption written by a guy who was a dealer at one time. We shot a scene for that on top of a high rise building right above Tower Bridge and the Thames. It was a very small roof and quite scary!"
What’s next for you?
"I’m going to be directing in the theatre at the end of the year. I can’t say any more about that at the moment but it’s in London and I’m looking forward to it."
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