Belgravia kicked off last Sunday evening, and lead star Philip Glenister, 57, looked quite the part. Fitted top to toe in a 1800s wardrobe, the Ashes to Ashes actor swapped his usual gear for a top hat and a pair of extremely fluffy side burns as he transforms into aristocrat James Trenchard.
It always amazes me when I look in the mirror and see how fat I look. My excuse is that they’ve aged me
But although it might be fun to waltz around as a middle-class man on-screen, it’s not all fun and games when you glance at yourself in the mirror, as Philip explained in an interview with Radio Times.
Julian Fellowes’ latest drama has been adapted from his 2016 novel, which focuses on two families and one big secret.
Speaking on his makeover, Philip admitted it makes him look older than he actually is.
“It’s fun because it gives you a different gait and makes you stand taller,” he said.
“But it always amazes me when I look in the mirror and see how fat I look. My excuse is that they’ve aged me.”
Despite taking on the role as the head of the Trenchard household, the actor revealed he isn’t anything like his on-screen alter-ego.
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The son of a market trader who’s worked his way up, Philip described James as “a self-made man”.
“One of the themes of Belgravia is the beginnings of the nouveau riche and he fits into that bracket,” he said.
But when asked how “posh” he is in comparison, he recalled a time he had been left “insulted” by classmates dating back to his time in drama school, when they insinuated his social class.
“I’m not posh,” he stated.
“When I was at drama school, we all had to sit in a circle and guess where everybody was from.
“When they got to me, everybody went ‘London suburb’. I’ve never been so insulted in all my life.
Known for his roles in BBC’s Life on Mars and Outcast, Philip’s latest casting is very different to his usual rough around the edges go-to.
Joking about the role being “as high as I go”, the 57-year-old admitted his pals believed he was going to be playing the part of someone who works “below stairs.”
“Watch this space – I might get to play a viscount in ten years’ time,” he chuckled.
The second episode of the six-parter airs tonight and in the wake of last week’s debut, writer Julian revealed the period drama is actually based on real-life events.
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Centring around the upmarket area of London in the 1840s, the show creator explained he’d been inspired by the real-life story of Lord Barclay, who tricked his wife into a false marriage and then hit trouble when their children came to inherit the title.
“It was just an opportunity to write about things that interested me,” he told Express.co.uk.
“I’ve always been interested in the creation of Belgravia because it’s one of the few parts of London that was built entirely as one.
“It was all thought of as one unit and apart from a few war losses, it’s as it was built now.
Philip Glenister’s full interview is available in the Radio Times now [RADIO TIMES]
“And it’s never really changed its role. Admittedly, now, a lot of the houses or most of the houses are divided into flats, but nevertheless, it’s remained a fashionable part of London.”
Following the first episode, Belgravia gained mixed reviews from viewers.
But now it’s in its stride, the new period drama is sure to win over those sceptics sooner or later.
Philip’s full interview is available to read now in the Radio Times.
Belgravia continues tonight at 9pm on ITV.
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