The Great Gay Reads Interview: Mark Gatiss

He is one of the UK’s favourite funny men, has starred in and written Doctor Who, he has made us laugh out loud on many of his fabulous shows including The League of Gentlemen. The Great Gay Reads caught up with him on his book tour for ‘Black Butterfly’ the latest in the superb Lucifer Box series. 

You are now on your book tour in the delights of Scotland, how is meeting all the readers?

It’s great actually, with the first book I said yes to everything which was a mistake I have learnt from. However this time I wanted to do more again the tour is actually one of my favourite parts of the process, I get to go around the country bathe in the deepest baths in the Christendom meet my readers and answer lots of questions, some the same ones over and over again.

Oh, I hope we don’t ask the ones they all do…

(Laughs) If you do I shall make the sound of a death rattle or a sound of deep regret…

Ok, so where did the character of Lucifer Box come from, what inspired him?

(Makes a deep dark sigh of sadness) That was the signal… ha ha ha, I am joking. I actually haven’t been asked that before, people say ‘when did you decide to write’ but never ask me that. I knew I wanted to do a Victorian Bond kind of thing. Originally they were going to be quite hard (laughs) they just didn’t turn out that way. I didn’t want him to be like Holmes, Bond or Miss Marple. In making people different you give them too many issues, so I stuck with bi-sexual and rakish whilst taking it into a different direction. I didn’t want him to be ‘the gay Bond’. I cant tell you how many times its given me so much pleasure… no I cant tell you about that (laughs) rude, in the first one people were really hooked on him being a womanizer and then half way through he says the line ‘what was any well bred gentlemen to do… I fucked him’ people were either shocked or in hysterics.

Did you expect it to be a series?

Yes, I was commissioned to do three and originally they were all Edwardian but I changed my mind and made them in different times, I think I was spent on Edwardian times after the first one and wanted to do something a bit different. I didn’t want to make him a time traveller, I’ve done Doctor Who, but I did want to take him to different times and also look at an aging spy.

So you said that you were commissioned to do three is that it now for Lucifer Box?

Never say never, but yes (laughs) certainly for now, I have left lots of gaps so I guess we have missed two World Wars and there is possibility for a prequel when he was about 18 years old, but for now I think he’s done a lot.

How much fun…

FUN! (Laughs) Writing isn’t fun…

…Was it to write with action packed scenes and characters like Kingdom Kum?

I have been saving Kingdom Kum for ages; I always said if I could write a Bond that would be the character. It is great fun however someone once said ‘writing is simple, stare at your pen until your forehead bleeds’ I like that one. It can be very lonely writing on your own; the best bit is the re-writing.

It would make a superb TV show…

Why thank you it has been optioned actually, it’s in limbo at the moment. They wanted to water it down and make him less rakish and I am not having that, I think it will go somewhere eventually, it needs the right home. The good thing with writing a character that goes up to seventy years old is by the time it sees the light of day I can play the old box.

A lot of comedians have done autobiographies recently, have you been tempted down that route yet?

I haven’t been asked yet, I always think it’s a terribly presumptuous… I’ll never forget Kenneth Brannagh, an actor I loathe, I cannot bear him, cannot bear him. He did an autobiography called ‘Beginnings’ which alluded to the horror there would be more. I love the idea of reading one when you have lived not when your 24 and you have been on Eastenders. Maybe I could do something impressionistic about my youth.

You could do a Katie Price; she’s on her fifth…

But what must here’s say ‘I got up had sex with Peter Andre wondered whether he was real or an over grown action man and went to bed’.

Were you a big fan of crime and Bond in the first place?

I have always loved Bond; On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is my favourite I think, as for crime… I like a good Agatha Christie I’m not a forensics fan. I am more of a Cluedo fan though not the new ones, I mean it has a Spa in it now. Mrs Jenny Scarlett was murdered with hair straighters in the Spa, (laughs) its ridiculous keep it the way it was. I mean I love Doctor Who but I am not a massive Sci-fi fan, I wouldn’t read a series based on some weird space colony forever and a day, I can’t bear things like that. I like adventure more than anything else, a good Conan Doyle. 

Will you be doing more Doctor Who as it’s on hiatus at the moment?

It’s definitely the plan; I mean it’s on a mini-break really rather than a full holiday in the sun. I know that after the 4 specials everything will start cracking away as usual and I am really keen to do more.

Who would you like to be the next Doctor Who?

Oh I couldn’t say… if I do it’ll run away with itself and be everywhere. All I will say is I think its going to be such a hard act to follow, David Tennant has just been absolutely superb. I do get very excited about the whole idea of a new beginning and it can reinvent itself… like Kylie, I think she models her career on Doctor Who!

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~ by greatgayreads on March 29, 2009.

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