“I Had To Practice Being Me!” – How Robert Gillespie Became Keep It In The Family’s Dudley Rush

On November 9, the British actor, writer and director, Robert Gillespie turned 88.

Robert, who has delighted viewers over the decades with guest appearances in tv series such as The Saint, The Professionals, Porridge, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? and Rising Damp also starred as Dudley Rush in five series of the 80s sit-com Keep it In the Family.

Robert, who recently published a new memoir, Are You Going to Take that Little Jump? discusses Keep It in The Family with Andy Howells in the latest part of the Entertainment South Wales video series.

Family Sitcom Role Was “Reward” for Robert Gillespie

Keep It in the Family was written by Brian Cooke and aired for five series between 1980 and 1983. Robert starred as likeable and mischievous British cartoonist, Dudley Rush, Pauline Yates as his wife Muriel with Stacy Dorning & Jenny Quayle (later Sabrina Franklyn) as their daughters and Glyn Houston as Dudley’s long suffering boss Duncan.

Robert says of getting the role, “I was very pleased that having done something which I was reasonably well recognised, which is making people laugh, that somebody thought they could risk me fronting a series. It was a reward for long service in the army!”

Robert Gillespie’s new book, Are You Going to do That Little Jump is available now!

However, playing Dudley had its challenges as Robert reveals to Andy Howells, “I got this part, I started working on it and in a way, I panicked. I thought “Who is this?” and I went through a phase of thinking “How do I play this?”

“I turned to my partner Anna and said, “What do I do with this part?”

“She said, “Well, It’s You!” The thing is I had never, even at drama school. played myself!”

“The author Brian Cooke, said “it’s you!” So, I had to start to practice being me! Brian described me as a manic depressive for this character. I don’t think I was quite that… I was up and down…  quite excitable and fanciful!”

The Success of Comedy Classic, Keep It In The Family

Keep It in The Family which featured guest appearances from actors such as Robbie Coltrane and Roy Kinnear was a huge success and has remained a favourite on TV screens with DVD releases and repeats on satellite TV.

Robert recalls, “Our Director Mark Stuart said “Isn’t telly funny? You’ll be doing this in ten years’ time and you’ll all be the same age!””

Everyone at Entertainment South Wales wishes Robert a very happy birthday!

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